My Gal Winifred

When Abby, the designer of the lovely vintage inspired Bluegingerdoll sewing patterns told me she was designing a shirt dress I couldn’t have been more excited. I LOVE shirt dresses. The love stems from spending a lot of time at home for 12 months and still wanting to look nice and be comfortable at the same time. It’s hard to get motivated to dress up when you’re home with a baby all day and no one else is probably going to see you. I think maybe the first 8 months I wore leggings & Wal’s flannelette shirts and as comfy as these were, not getting dressed up ever started to take its toll on how I felt about myself. Cue cute dresses with tights. I had a couple of non me-makes but wanted to make some as I always feel better wearing clothes I have made myself. I was so pleased when The Winifred Dress was released, I printed off the PDF pattern as soon as I could. A printed version of The Winifred Dress is also available.

I purchased some floral cotton poplin (40% off woot woot!) from my local fabric store. I am very into floral at the moment. I seem to get more girly as I get older. I got a little confused with the measurements on the packaging but after a quick email to Abby she cleared it up for me. That is another thing I love about independent designers, you can just email to ask them questions. I couldn’t imagine contacting one of the Big 4 and saying “hey so I am just wondering what size I am supposed to be cutting?.

I did have to do a couple of muslins and ended up going for a size 14 with a small bust adjustment and the arm cycle lowered slightly. This was my first time doing a SBA and I think I did OK. I could probably have been a little more precise and next time I think I will get someone to help me measure but overall I don’t mind how it turned out. It did take me a couple of go’s to realise that’s what I needed to do though. Heather’s FBA & SBA guide was really good and easy to follow. I took another leaf out of Heather’s book and did shirring (or smocking) on the back (singing ‘If I could turn back time” all the while) and added some pockets. I am so used to pockets now I feel awkward without them and not really sure what to do with my hands.

I did struggle with the collar, I just couldn’t seem to ease the back in without getting a little pucker- again I contacted Abby to check that it was supposed to be longer and that I hadn’t in fact just cut the wrong size. She assured me that it was all OK and I just needed to ease it in a little more. Abby also put a little photo tutorial up on the Bluegingerdoll blog as part of the sew-along to help out. I still got a little bit of a pucker but it was much better than my previous effort. I actually only got up to the easing in of the collar on my muslin then stopped there and went on to make it up in my nice fabric. It wasn’t until she was all sewn up I realised there was a little bit of pulling from the back of the collar down the shoulder seams, causing pull lines in the front. Oops! Even though it still feels comfortable and not tight at all some googling (because Google is never wrong, right?) pointed out that I should have cut the neck a little wider.

The only two things I would do differently next time would be a more precise SBA and widening the back of the neck - Other than those little details I am lovin my Winnie Dress. I wore her all weekend and am wearing her as I type this post (I did wash her last night). I went to the market to buy our veggies for the week (veggie garden is empty… but not for long!) I did some housework, played with, fed, bathed and put my son down for naps, cooked dinner, read a couple of chapters of a book, did some knitting, worked on my Peggy skirt to go with my Afternoon Blouse (coming up in my next post). All this and not once did I feel restricted and uncomfortable. I can see the Winifred Dress becoming a go to pattern, great for warmer months with sandals or the cooler months with tights and a cardi. The little collar looks pretty cute popped out over a cardi too.

Caitlan x