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My July Minerva Make – Retro Audrey Dress

July 22, 2014

My dress for the Minerva Blogger Network this month has a definite vintage feel to it.  I used the vintage-inspired Eliza M Audrey Dress pattern which Claire, the lady behind Eliza M and Simple Sew patterns, gave to me for review purposes.  I teamed the pattern with some of Minerva’s delightful designer cotton lawn in a retro print.  I think it’s a good pairing!  (Coincidentally, Minerva now stocks Eliza M patterns, which is brilliant).

Eliza M Audrey Dress

Eliza M Audrey Dress

The cotton lawn was amazing to work with.  It feels so soft, it is light and drapes quite well for a cotton, and it behaves itself in that it doesn’t seem to stretch or warp.  The print is awesome, obviously (I’m easily won over by novelty).  Best of all, the fabric is 60” wide, which means you don’t need very much of it at all to make a dress.  This dress has a full circle skirt but I used less than 2 metres of fabric.  Winner.


I really love the design of the Audrey dress – the low V back especially.  It isn’t lined: the neck and armholes are finished with a facing, which I like because it keeps the cost down and it’s easy to make.  I actually used a plain black cotton for the facings, in order to try and preserve as much of the main fabric as possible.  By doing this I was able to make the dress in a size 14 out of 1m65 of main fabric and 35cm of plain cotton for the facings.


The print of the fabric is two-way, so at the side seams of the circle skirt, the print is running horizontally, but I quite like this effect.  The only downside to squeezing a circle skirt onto 60” wide fabric was that I was unable to lengthen it as it only just fit on.  I’m quite tall at 5’10” and this dress sits a few inches above the knee – what might be termed as a ‘fun and flirty’ length when you’re no longer in your twenties!  I think I can just about get away with it with bare legs in summer, so long as I’m wearing knickers with decent bum-coverage underneath just in case the wind catches the skirt…


I overestimated the amount of ease built into the pattern, which is actually pretty true to size, so I had to make a few alterations to the pattern.  I tapered out from the armscye to the waist from 5/8” to 1/4”, and used a slightly smaller seam allowance at the centre back (3/8” instead of 5/8”).  However, I don’t think I’d cut a 16 next time as I like the fit I got with these alterations.  I would like to lengthen the bodice slightly though, which would also have the advantage of lengthening the dress overall without having to alter the skirt pattern.


I like the overall presentation of the pattern itself, although I do have a few gripes:

  • The pattern envelope is sealed at the top with gummy, sticky glue, which is messy and annoying.  It would be better for it to just fold inwards rather than be sealed in this way.
  • It doesn’t say on the pattern envelope that you need a zip for this dress, and even in the instructions sheet it doesn’t state what length of zip you need.  Luckily I knew from having made a million other dresses what I would need (a 16″ zip – I used a concealed one).
  • The tissue paper is thicker than the normal type and feels better quality and more hard-wearing, but the pattern is printed on one giant sheet of paper measuring 1m x 2.5m which is pretty difficult to handle.  I think it would be better printed on two smaller sheets for ease of handling.
  • The line-drawing for the Audrey dress is misleading – it suggests a gathered skirt rather than a circle skirt.

Other than that, the pattern is good.  I love the vintage-inspired design of the dress: the low V back and the circle skirt.  The pattern drafting is good: I like the waist darts because they are wedge-shaped which means that it comes in under the bust and fits the midriff nicely, and I like the facings which eliminate the need for a full lining but which are satisfyingly deep and definitely won’t pop out.  The overall design of the paper pattern itself is appealing, and the instructions are clear.


I think I’ve said as much as I can about the pattern: it only remains for me to say that I’m very pleased with my new dress (as always!) and want to say thank you to Eliza M patterns for providing the pattern and of course to Minerva for the fabric and the zip!

  1. July 22, 2014 9:01 pm

    Lovely dress! You really have a talent for matching patterns and fabric, I always love your creations.

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      July 22, 2014 9:03 pm

      Aaaw thank you Inge! That’s a nice thing to hear 🙂

  2. stitchedupsam permalink
    July 22, 2014 9:18 pm

    This is lovely. It’s such a flattering style on you, looks like you could wear it year round too, with tights and a cardi in Winter.

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      July 22, 2014 9:21 pm

      To quote Julian in the film of Bridget Jones’s Diary: ‘this is what I like to call an all-rounder’ 🙂

  3. July 23, 2014 12:08 am

    A great dress! Love the look of the back. That v line is super pretty.

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      July 23, 2014 7:28 am

      Thank you! I like the back, too.

  4. anne carter permalink
    July 23, 2014 7:53 am

    Lovely pattern and print. It suits you, as does your new hair cut!

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      July 23, 2014 9:39 am

      Thanks Anne! My haircut was necessary due to terrible split ends but I do like it!

  5. July 23, 2014 12:24 pm

    Great dress! I’ve been eyeing up that print – love it!

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      July 23, 2014 12:28 pm

      Thanks. It’s a lovely fabric!

  6. July 23, 2014 7:29 pm

    Gorgeous! Another love for the fabric, Ive been eyeing it for a while on the Minerva site.

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      July 23, 2014 8:01 pm

      Thanks Lynne. The fabric is lovely: get some!

  7. July 23, 2014 8:58 pm

    This is gorgeous! The fabric & print is very lovely!

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      July 25, 2014 10:37 am

      Thanks Charlie! 😀

  8. August 4, 2014 5:35 pm

    Short but sweet 😉 I really like it. Good work on the armscye adjustments and your honest feedback on the pattern!

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      August 6, 2014 7:22 am

      Thanks Amy

  9. jorobexeter permalink
    September 27, 2015 8:11 am

    The dress looks lovely. I’m thinking of making this for christmas party season. looking for something quick and simple to sew. Would you still recommend the pattern? There aren’t many reviews around, just yours! Is that a sign?! Thanks in advance

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      September 27, 2015 8:18 am

      Yes, if you’ve read the review and still want to make it then go for it! Just remember that the pattern doesn’t include much ease. Good luck! It’s a lovely dress once it’s done!


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