"Maxi"mizing the Egret Dress From Sewing Revival
The Egret is an elegant sleeveless pattern that can be made as a tank or dress. It is an easy sew pattern that features a high gathered neckline and offers the choice of a raglan sleeve or a chic sleeveless option. If you choose sleeveless as I did, you can finish the sleeve with interfacing or bias binding. For my first make I choose the sleeveless dress version lengthening the hemline and adding side slits.
Worn with a matching cloth belt that comes as part of the pattern I have a midi-dress, worn loose and flowing without the belt, it is a maxi length dress that skims the ankles. This offers lots of versatility depending on what accessories the dress is paired with. It will make a wonderful travel dress to wear to a variety of occasions. As I am 6 feet tall, I added 11 inches to the knee length dress pattern. The hemline is straight so it is easy to add on without changing the shape in any way.
For ease of movement I created side slits. As the fabric that I used is a thin rayon/silk blend I simply rolled the hem for the side slip. If you use a heavier weight fabric you could finish the side slit with the same bias binding that you use for the arm. or cut the pattern with a wider seam allowance and finish the seam open. I sewed a size 14 dress based my bustline measurement and the finished garment measurement chart. The instructions for the pattern are very easy to follow and the dress sews together easily and quickly. My one suggestion is that when you are piecing the dress/tank paper pattern together include the raglan sleeve option. When you cut out the pattern, simply cut the raglan sleeve pattern guidelines off and save them. When you sew the Egret with a raglan sleeve simply slide that part of the pattern in next to the sleeveless pattern piece and you have the full raglan sleeve pattern. Just a helpful hint to prevent having to print the pattern a second time for the sleeve option.
The fabric I used is an animal print collage. It offers a dramatic design that pairs well with the simple silhouette of the pattern. This fabric was sourced sustainably through a consignment store. I was very pleased to find 4 meters of the fabric as it is very narrow. The pattern itself suits a narrow fabric very well as there are only front and back pieces, if you plan to use bias binding, and a pattern piece for the belt. I added half the length again to the belt pattern piece because I wanted to be able to tie it in a bow and still have drape to the end pieces. I used a loop turner to create the belt. This is such a simple, straightforward way to turn a long piece of fabric right side out. If you don't already own a set of loop turners I highly suggest that you invest in a set, they are wonderfully handy and very reasonably priced.
I choose to use the interfacing option for this dress as making my own bias binding from such a slippery fabric would have been a bit too fussy for me. I attached iron on interfacing to each piece to ensure that the sleeve had some structure and finished all inside edges on my overlocker. I found that due to the nature of the fabric the interfacing tended to slip through the armhole so I tacked it down in several places around the arm. I secured it a the top and bottom seam and also strategically chose a couple of other spots where the interfacing was near a black spot on the dress. This helped to disguise the slip stitching- because as we all know black disguises a lot!
Sewing Revival is an independent pattern company based out of New Zealand. Their goal is to create sewing patterns that are easy to sew and creative enough for you to express your individual style. They believe it is important to celebrate your individual style and creativity in a sustainable empowering way. They feature creative designs that don't involve zippers, button holes or welt pockets. The PDF patterns can be printed at home and come with clear, detailed instructions to help you make each pattern your own. The company was founded by Janine who wants to create opportunities to preserve sewing skills and design, to celebrate individual expression and help you find your own style. Her website offers a variety of sewing patterns for purchase and some that are free to help you get started. I especially love the free Tote Bag from a Tea Towel pattern.
I love the way the Egret dress feels and I look forward to wearing it for a variety of things from a beach coverup to a casual dinner out or for a more elegant summer event. It can be accessorized in so many ways and the belt quickly and easily changes the line of the dress and how it can be worn. I plan to sew a tank version of the Egret and to finish the arms with a coordinating bias binding.
After all.... There is Sew Much To Design
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