All grown up… making a linen dress

I really love linen but I don’t often wear it.  It’s silly really because I live in a climate where linen is king.  Today, it’s stinking hot and my linen is out.

My Mum put me off linen quite early on.  She couldn’t stand the way linen crumpled on touch and would be obsessively ironing it.  Also, it always seemed like a grown up fabric to me.  Why? I am not sure.  I never challenged this idea, but now I do.

Firstly, I am grown up and secondly I like crumpled. I can do this, so lets embrace those creases and love that linen.

I broke away from my convention and actually went out and bought some fabric from a shop.  No thrifting here.  The only place to buy the linen I needed was, of course, Tessuti Fabrics.  So I snuck in and bought some for the dress I was plotting.

The Pattern:

I had seen the Kabuki Tee by Paper Theory made by Rosie of DIY Couture.  Rosie had hacked this pattern into a sweatshirt for winter which I just loved.  Isn’t it awesome?  I will be totally ripping that off when the weather draws in.

Screen Shot 2017-12-11 at 9.36.55 pm
Image by Rosie Martin of DIY Couture

But as summer is well and truly here, it’s dress weather and I thought this would make the perfect dress. As you know I am a big fan of the boxy dress.  It’s also a very simple hack by just adding some length and a little A-line volume over my hips.

Screen Shot 2017-12-11 at 2.23.02 pm

I made a toile, mainly to practise the sleeve insertion and I can tell you I am glad I did.  I toiled a size 10 and it was massive.  I went down to a size 8 for the final garment.  I still think it could be touch smaller.

There are a couple things I did like about this pattern.  I really liked the illustrations in the front of the pattern that note all the different seam allowances.  A quick guide to seam allowances, I’m liking that.  Although I think it needs a proof read as there are a few spelling mistakes throughout.

Screen Shot 2017-12-11 at 2.23.13 pm
I’m liking this seam allowance guide and spot the typo!

I also had a few issues getting the sleeves inserted in a very crisp way.  In the end I ignored the instructions, which suggests sewing them on in one go.  Instead, I chalked on some drill holes and added the sleeves in stages, stopping at each point, snipping into the body and then replacing my needle and continuing.  I got a really good result by doing this.  I would also highly recommend practising this sleeve insertion a couple of times.

The Fabric:

I bought the amazing linen fabric from Tessuti Fabric in Chatswood.  I love it in there.  The service is always excellent mainly because the assistants are young, cool and supremely stylish. They are always on hand to lend some advise.  Also, if you are very lucky you bump into Colette (the owner) who is awesome!

I wanted a contrasting sleeve and I had some bright colours in mind but when I was hit by the huge selection I fell hard for a grey and blue combination.

The body fabric is Estate Elephant (soft finish) 100% linen, the sleeve is the Denim Lino16. The contrast is fairly subtle.  It wasn’t what I was planning but it works, it works really well and I totally love it.

So what do you think, is it a grown up linen dress?

It’s such an easy shape to wear
I love the colour combination – works well with my hair colour
No fitting here, it’s loose goosey!
Back view shows the real boxy shape
love those sleeves
I think I nailed that sleeve insertion

I can see this being a wardrobe staple for me.  It’s so easy to wear and so cool.  Just the perfect boxy dress for the hot summer ahead.



One thought

  1. I love it Kate! Another covetable creation. I have no idea what you mean by the sleeve insertion… what are drill holes and why did you need to snip into the body as you went? I would think I’d be more frightened by sewing those massively opposing angles at the bust where your contrast fabrics collide. I sewed seams like that once…. badly LOL.


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