For this post I was kindly provided with fabric by Shaukat Fabrics. Shaukat Fabrics are a well established supplier of Liberty and other high quality printed and plain fabrics, situated on the Old Brompton Road in London and also selling online.
I have been feeling so inspired by the trend for patterned midi and maxi dresses and really wanted to make a scalloped dress in the style of Horror Vacui Munich, who use beautiful and time honoured techniques such as pintucking, smocking and scallop details to make exquisite clothes. These techniques require a lot of skill and patience reflected in the price of their clothes, but as a home maker with a bit more time than usual, I decided to take on the challenge!
I collaborated with Shaukat Fabrics for this project, and they very generously allowed me to choose from their wide range of Liberty fabrics. There was so much choice that I found it hard to narrow down my favourite! I will share some other favourites lower down in this post. In the end I chose the seasonal tana lawn ‘Proposal’ on a white background with a multicoloured floral design.
I used the Blyth Mccalls pattern as a base with some alterations. Firstly I was surprised to see the measurements provided for the sizes were very small compared to what I am used to seeing for indie patterns, so I decided to make a toile to ensure a good fit on the bodice. There is room for adjustment as the pattern has generous front and back darts as well as a wide 5/8″ seam allowance. I graded the bodice from a size 10 at the shoulder and underarm to a size 14 at the waist, and also reduced the shoulder width by approx 1″.
For the skirt, I added length to the skirt pieces (I think about 16″ from memory), and for the ruffle pieces I used the full width of fabric rather than the length on the pattern piece, as the skirt pieces were wider at the bottom than in the original pattern. I used a free scallop template from the Treasurie blog for the skirt ruffle, and made a facing for the reverse side, making sure I had enough fabric to turn over the raw edge at the top of the facing. The scallops took quite a long time to trace and sew, I think there were about sixty in total! I did start off hand sewing the facing to the ruffle but decided to use fusible tape instead which saved a lot of time and also gave a neater invisible finish.
I also made a scallop template for the shoulders and sleeve cuffs. I used a coin to trace the scallop shape before again tracing, sewing, grading and turning out each scallop! I admit this process did become tedious and not much fun and at one point I lost my scallop pieces and had to redo them. In hindsight I would have made the shoulder scallops larger as they can hardly be seen ! It was also a bit tricky to match up the end of each scallop with the seam allowance.
I changed the sleeve to have a fitted buttoned cuff with a placket and a tiny scallop trim at the edge. This is probably my favourite detail on the dress as it is delicate but still noticeable.
I wore the dress on Eid, which was a really hot day so I appreciated the lightweight and breathable cotton lawn! Eid clothes are often made from synthetic materials or with heavy embroidery or stone work so it felt nice to wear something floaty and light.
It was such a privilege to use this wonderful fabric and I have some other Liberty prints stashed away which I am planning to use soon. I admit I was a bit worried about ruining the fabric and it took a bit of courage to cut into it, but it was a pleasure to cut and sew once I took the first step!
Shaukat have such a wonderful range of Liberty tana lawn, here are some of my other favourites:
Columbia Road tana lawn
Thanks to Shaukat Fabrics for providing the fabric for this project.