Inspired by Su from Butterflies and Lemon Drops I put Lotte Jansdotter’s book, Everyday Style, on my Christmas list. Su has made two versions of the Esme dress, it is simple and stylish and perfect for everyday!
There are three options, a top, a tunic and a caftan version (shown on the book cover). I went for the tunic length.
This is a very a simple pattern but I decided to make a toile because simple needs to be perfect (well, somewhere in that direction anyway). Despite the fact that it looks a bit shroud-like in this neutral cotton I decided I liked the shape, especially the neckline, but the sleeves were way too long. I ended up removing five inches from the original pattern because I prefer a three-quarter length sleeve and my arms are particularly short. I considered taking the excess from part way up the sleeve but ended up just chopping it off the bottom as my forearms tend towards the rounded (or chubby) and this option allowed for more space in that area.
I used one of the fabrics from my visit to the Spring Knitting and Stitching Show, this one came from Sew Over It. I’m not entirely sure what it is (and I can’t find it on the website) but it is quite textured and not especially drapey. It is also a bit more synthetic feeling than I’d realised at the time of purchase. I just liked the design and it sewed up very nicely.
The instructions in the book are fairly basic and the illustrations not particularly informative but this is such a simple make that it wasn’t an issue. I think the jacket I’m planning to make from the same book might require a bit more effort!
The neckline has a facing which is top stitched and I was really pleased with the way this came out.
The sleeves are eased in flat and I decided to extend the gathering by an inch or so as there was a bit too much puffiness at the top on the toile sleeve which I wasn’t keen on. The final version was fine, although only after I was forced cut out a third sleeve. I realised as I was basting them in that in my efforts to ensure the pattern would match up perfectly at the top of each sleeve I had forgotten to flip the pattern piece over. I therefore ended up with two right sleeves. Thankfully I had enough fabric left to cut another one, although I had to forgo the patch pockets. Better to have two sleeves and no pockets than pockets and one sleeve I reckon!
The whole dress came together very quickly as there are no fastenings and I think this could be run up in an evening if one ever had a whole evening spare to sew in.
I started the dress pre-overlocker course but did manage to use it to finish the edges of the hem and sleeves before turning them up. It worked! I was ridiculously pleased with myself given what a straightforward process this is!
Sorry for the very poor photograph of me wearing it. I took this when I tried it on originally and then life went a bit pear-shaped when my father was taken ill and I had to move in to help my mother look after him at night. He’s now in hospital and I’m still there keeping my mother company.
In the current circumstances this is a brilliant dress. The fabric doesn’t crease and you can wash the dress, hang it up overnight and it is ready to wear again without ironing. The Esme is so comfortable to wear. I was a bit worried that the non-drapey fabric made it stick out a bit at the bottom but I think it’s fine.
When life eventually settles down again I’m ready to sew a second version, which I might make slightly smaller as there is more than enough room in this one. I’ll also add the patch pockets – or even some pockets in the side seam. I may also extend the length slightly so that it is suitable for summer wear at work sans tights.