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Valentine’s Dress 2015

February 15, 2015

Greetings.  Today I want to show you the dress I made for this Valentine’s Day.

Francoise dress

The Colette Macaron that I made for last year, with Alexander Henry fabric and red silk contrast, is now too big, so I wanted to make a new one.

For my birthday in 2013, Aileen bought me a gift pack from Spoonflower.  It included a book about fabric design, some swatches of the different types of fabric, and a gift certificate which would cover the cost of at least 2 yards of fabric.  I looked into designing my own fabric, but not having the right computer software made that a bit tricky, and when I found red and navy heart print fabric designed by somebody else, I wanted that one immediately.  Not having much spare cash at the time, I simply opted for 2 yards (I was also fearing a possible customs charge!).  The fabric arrived and I was very disappointed to find that instead of sending me a continuous length of 2 yards, they sent me two separate yards!  What is that all about?!  So, I had two separate pieces, each 90cm in length.  Being primarily a dress-wearer, I couldn’t really think of a use for the fabric, so I set it aside and waited for the right pattern to come along.

The pattern that finally came along was Tilly’s Francoise pattern, sent to me by White Tree Fabrics for a project for them (which I haven’t made yet).  I’d always fancied the idea of getting a shift dress pattern, and after making and loving the Coco pattern, I knew that the simple A-line silhouette suited me and made me feel good, so I was keen to try this pattern for woven fabrics.


I was quite worried about washing the fabric, to be honest, after hearing bad reviews of the print quality and colour retention of fabrics printed by Spoonflower, but, fearing shrinkage as well, I dutifully pre-washed the fabric and waited with baited breath to see if it was going to instantly shrink and fade.  It did neither of those things, I am happy to say!
The Valentine’s dress I made for this year is actually my second Francoise dress – I will be showing you the first one in a separate blog post!  The Valentine’s version is sleeveless, and the only alteration I made was to cut the back on the fold instead of inserting a zipper, as I found that my first version went over my head easily.  I just got the pattern to fit onto the fabric, so, for reference, if you’re making this sleeveless version you can get it out of a mere 1.8m of fabric!  That includes the arm facings and everything.  WINNER.
This dress is pretty short, but the style suits the length and I feel confident enough to wear it.
Now let’s talk about the fit.  This is a size 5, and the only change I made was to cut the back on the fold.  My first version is a size 4, and I had to reduce the side seam allowance to get it to fit, or, to be precise, I had to reduce the side seam allowance to get it to look how it’s meant to.  It did fit, but it was too ‘fitted’.  Correct me if I’m wrong, please, but this dress is designed to be fitted at the neck, shoulders and bust but skimming out below that over your curves, right? Not tummy or hip hugging, and not coming in too much at the waist.  I appreciate that ‘fit’ is a very personal thing, and we all have our own preferences, but I am interested to know: what do you think of the fit?  I think I’ve definitely avoided the tummy and hip-hugging, but at the back, even with the size 5, I’m still getting a bit of wrinkling above my bum.  Any comments/constructive criticism is welcome – just leave me a comment below!
I’ll be back to show you my first version of this dress soon, meanwhile I am planning another one with the lovely Tilda fabric sent to me by White Tree Fabrics.  Watch this space!
Although I cut the back dress on the fold, I forgot to cut the back facing on the fold as well!  Oh well!  It still looks nice and neat on the inside :-)

Although I cut the back dress on the fold, I forgot to cut the back facing on the fold as well! Oh well! It still looks nice and neat on the inside 🙂

  1. springystitches permalink
    February 15, 2015 11:53 am

    Great dress and lovely fabric!
    I get this ‘fabric pooling’ all the time and found that I often need to do a sway back adjustment. Basically, your back torso measurement is shorter than the front. It’s a really easy alteration to do once you get the hang of it.
    I need that rug too! 🙂

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      February 15, 2015 11:59 am

      Ooh thank you for the tip! Would I be able to do a sway back adjustment for a pattern piece that is cut on the fold?

      • springystitches permalink
        February 15, 2015 12:10 pm

        Yes, you just need to make the changes on your pattern paper before cutting. Good luck! 🙂

      • tabathatweedie permalink*
        February 15, 2015 1:32 pm

        Thanks! I’ll look it up before I make my White Tree Fabrics dress! 🙂

  2. February 15, 2015 12:00 pm

    A swayback alteration would work along with taking in the back seam of the raglan sleeves a bit to get rid of the back neckline flare. A nice simple dress like we wore in 1960.

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      February 15, 2015 12:02 pm

      Interesting…looks like I might need to look this alteration up. Never done one before. Thanks for the tip about the raglan seam, too, I wouldn’t have thought of that.

  3. Casey Fires permalink
    February 15, 2015 12:15 pm

    The dress looks lovely, as do you. I enjoy your blog very much and want to say Cheers on the weight loss and Happy Valentines Day.

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      February 15, 2015 1:33 pm

      Oh, thank you! Glad you enjoy reading the blog 🙂

  4. February 15, 2015 12:22 pm

    I really like the 60’s style of the dress and I’d agree with your assessment of it needing to be fitted at the neck, shoulders bust and bust while skimming over curves elsewhere. I’ve no idea about the wrinkling, but the suggestions of a swayback adjustment seem a good idea. Such a simple style works really well with the fabric you’ve chosen too, but I’m disappointed to hear about your experience with Spoonflower – I was nearly tempted to order some fabric, but I think I’ll give it a miss after hearing about your experience!

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      February 15, 2015 1:36 pm

      If you’re in the UK it’s probably better to avoid it, to be honest. When Aileen’s gift for me arrived, it came with a £25 customs charge (which she very kindly paid). Luckily the fabric order didn’t come with a customs charge but I still had to pay international shipping costs! There’s now a similar company in the UK called Woven Monkey – you could look into designing fabric with them, or choosing unusual designs by others.

  5. February 15, 2015 12:23 pm

    So neat and sweet! Love that hearts fabric❤❤❤

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      February 15, 2015 1:37 pm

      It is great fabric. The hearts are more orangey than they appeared on the computer screen but what the heck, I love it anyway!

  6. February 15, 2015 5:16 pm

    The fabric is so cute!

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      February 15, 2015 9:35 pm

      It is, I’m so glad to have finally used it!

  7. February 15, 2015 5:43 pm

    Love it! The fabric is brilliant, but I very puzzled as to why it was sent in two 1 yard pieces. Very strange! I agree with the suggestions for a sway back adjustment. It’s easy to do, and there is a good explanation of how to do it in “Fit For Real People” if you have that book.

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      February 15, 2015 9:38 pm

      I too was baffled (and annoyed), perhaps it was just a one-off mistake? No matter now anyway as I’ve been able to use it. I’ll look into the sway back adjustment. I actually don’t have a copy of Fit For Real People, although I’ve wanted it for ages!

  8. Sarah permalink
    February 15, 2015 8:01 pm

    Beautiful dress odd that they sent it in two pieces? but great pattern and glad it didn’t fade

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      February 15, 2015 9:40 pm

      It is strange. It did wash really well though so that was a pleasant surprise. The Francoise pattern seemed like the perfect choice for both the print and the dimensions of this particular fabric.

  9. February 15, 2015 8:16 pm

    What a fab dress for Valentine’s Day. Did you ho somewhere nice? Really funky fabric, suits you well 🙂

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      February 15, 2015 9:42 pm

      We never go out on Valentine’s night, even before we had kids. We prefer having a nice meal at home. We had fillet steak. It was epic.

  10. February 15, 2015 9:31 pm

    Your dress looks fab and I love the fabric! I had the same problem with my francoise but not gotten round to making another with adjustments. I’ll wait now until you do! I think a sway back adj will do it too, though I’ve never done one I thought it would be better to do one with a centre back seam.

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      February 15, 2015 9:44 pm

      I’m going to have to look into how to do it….probably after half term now as I won’t get a spare moment for the next week!

  11. February 16, 2015 12:40 pm

    Excuse my amateurish idea, but can’t you just lengthen the back darts a little?
    I had steered away from that Tily pattern, thinking it just wouldn’t suit my preference for fit. But it is really cute, a really lovely shape on you. Your fabric choice has turned it into something else. I am seriously considering this for a summer dress now! Especially in some stretch cotton.
    Aren’t we ever so super critical of a dress made by our own fair hand? I didn’t even notice the bum wrinkling until you had pointed it out.

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      February 16, 2015 1:40 pm

      I’m not sure about lengthening the darts – but I’m going to be making another one soon so will have a play around with the toile and might try it if the sway back alteration doesn’t help. Yes, I definitely am extremely critical of my own makes!

  12. *Sew and Smile* permalink
    March 1, 2015 8:49 pm

    This dress is so cute on you. And lover the fabric you chose. And the boldness you have. You sewed it and rocked it!


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