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Charlie Dress Sewing Pattern hack with The Fabric Store

Charlie Dress Sewing Pattern hack from By Hand London

The nice people over at The Fabric Store very kindly got in touch a couple months back to let us take our pick of their scrumptious fabric loot (you can have a read of and a look at what Elisalex made over here). The Fabric Store has an ever-changing roster of designer dress fabrics and sampling lengths from manufacturing runs - which means their stock is often unique, but once it's gone it's really gone so you gotta act fast! 

After much agonising, I chose to go with their Grecian Floral Silk/Cotton - Peach fabric:

Silk Cotton Grecian Floral dressmaking fabric from The Fabric Store

Not least because of that absolutely knockout romantic print, but also because it's a cotton-silk mix. I’ve sewn with this type of fabric a couple of times before and it’s just an absolute dream to work with. It’s light and airy for some demure flounce, has a lovely light sheen to it which just elevates it from the matte effect of the standard quilting cotton I use most of the time - but still sews up with the ease of cotton. I’ve had too many disasters of late with slippery fabrics and am staying well away for a while! Probs has a little something to do with my extreme impatience, but that doesn't seem to be going anywhere...  

The Fabric Store - cotton silk dress making fabric

 So, what to make?! With our latest dress release - the Charlie Dress - about to launch in a few weeks on, I thought I ought to really go ahead and revisit that little number. Plus, having just got married to my ultimate partner-in-crime David.....

...... I’m trying to whip myself up a banging Sicilian honeymoon wardrobe in the next few weeks.

The look I was going for, as ever, was based on a foundation of The Sound Of Music, but this time with (hopefully) a sexier, 70s disco-dancing twist to it. 

So, I did a little bit of lightweight pattern hacking - yaaaay!

Charlie Dress Sewing Pattern original sketch - by hand london

Original Charlie Dress 

1. I didn't include the neckband. 

2. I didn't include the straps in the pattern, opting for this velvet pink prettiness instead from Bertie's Bows

Pink velvet ribbon from Bertie's Bows Amazon Store

Charlie Dress Dewing Pattern from By Hand London

3. Because the cotton/silk was so see-through I also got my hands on a light and bright white cotton from Minerva Crafts (bought via Amazon) to use as a full underlining. NB this does of course add quite a bit of time to the dress, as you basically make two.... 

4. I included a full circle skirt at the neckline for proper 70s vibes. To draft it I used step 3 of this tutorial of ours where we add a capelet to the Elisalex Dress bodice  and our circle skirt app for the maths. I then simply basted this baby to the bodice shell and sandwiched it between that and the underlining before sewing together with the normal 5/8 inch seam allowance. 

5. I added waist ties! For this I just drew the pieces on pattern paper first, following the shape and measurements of this Georgia Dress Babydoll pattern hack we did for Valentine's Day a couple years back. These are just sewn into the side seams of your bodice shell, making sure that you sew them in at 5/8 inch up from the waistline edge.

Charlie Dress Sewing Pattern - beginner By Hand London

And now for a couple more full length shots.... The awkwardness is real, people! May I just add a little note here to say that I reeeeeeeeally did try with these pix. The reluctant body language and facial expressions do not accurately reflect how much I love the fabric or the dress. To give a little context: it was 7.30am (I literally still had pillow creases on my face), pre-work but making myself late in the process (the only free time I had when it was light) and loads of people walking past on their way to work the whole way through the 'photoshoot' (read: husband armed with iphone) made me feel extra relaxed. Anyway! Here goes...

Charlie Dress Sewing Pattern for beginners

Charlie Dress Sewing Pattern PDF Download from By Hand London

dress twirl

Full disclosure: Hopefully it's pretty obvious anyways, but just in case, I feel I should point out that the gang over at Fabric Store just gave us free fabric, no $$$$ for our opinions :)))) 

Fabric Store: where you can find them online and offline

Bricks and mortar

New Zealand - Auckland, WellingtonChristchurch and Dunedin
Australia - Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne
USA - Los Angeles

Online store

NB from their New Zealand online store they ship to: 
New Zealand

Follow them out there 

Comments on this post (2)

  • Jul 07, 2016

    I loooove this dress!! I so want to make one for myself… I think you have a perfect dress now to wear in Sicily. And I seriously don’t think the pictures are that bad ;)

    — Birgit

  • Jul 01, 2016

    Fabric: stunningly gorgeous!
    Pattern & hacks: swoon-inducing!
    You in the frock: utterly charming and beautiful!

    — Erin

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