Sew Over it Eve Dress

So. We all know of my borderline creepy francophile obsession with French style and its place in my #MeMadeMay2020 objectives.

Having studied French since I was tiny and after living in France for a few years, I love their style and have come to really enjoy incorporating my adoration for la vie française into my sewing life too – whether by using French patterns, following French sewists or slobbering after French brands I can’t afford.

One of them is Rouje, headed up by la reine de effortless chic, Jeanne Demas. Their designs are vintage inspired and Parisian to the core. One of my favourite dresses is the Gabin, which comes in at a cool 170€.

Staring at it (repeatedly) I realised that it’s quite a simple construction – a wrap dress with gathered sleeves, buttons down the side and a strappy tie belt. The website tells me it’s 100% viscose, oh and also it’s “the very essence of Rouje in a dress: Jeanne’s favourite, the essential of any wardrobe, a timeless iconic piece.” Bien.

With perfect timing, Sew Over It were doing a live sewalong with the Eve Dress. This is one of the first dresses I’d ever made and I’d flouncily announced I wouldn’t make it again after the torso sewed up too short, I used too tight a zig zag on the raw edges and my hem was uneven.

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Today I’m starting the Sew Over It Eve dress and revisiting this one I made a couple of years ago when I first started sewing, to see if I need to make adjustments. The answer is yes, yes I do 🤦‍♀️ First issue is that the sleeves are VERY tight so I’ll need to make them a bit wider for this one. I’m using the long sleeve but cutting it down to have a tea dress style sleeve and match the spenny Rouje dress I’m using as inspo. Secondly the torso is a little short on me so I’ll need to lengthen it as standard. There is some armhole gaping which is a common issue for me but to be honest the Rouje dress is very floaty and loose so I think a looser armhole won’t look bad when using my drapey viscose from @atelierbrunette. This viscose crepe was from @abakhan_liverpool but at the time I didn’t have an overlocker so zig zagged the edges, this caused the fabric to bunch up and affect the neckline so I’m hoping this is resolved in this make with my Scary Yet Useful overlocker. Stay tuned for progress! Wearing my @palmairasandals here which arrived this morning and have made my day – taking me back to when I lived in Spain and could walk for hours and hours in the comfiest avarca sandals. Can’t wait to be able to visit Spain again soon ❤️ • • • • #sewoverit #soievedress #evedress #handmade #handmadewardrobe #lovesewing #happiestwhensewing #lovetosew #memade #memadewardrobe #diywardrobe #slowfashion #stylefrançais #diycouture #jecoudsdoncjesuis #faitalamain

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Two years later with more sewing experience behind me, I gave it a go and am really happy with the results!

Of course to maintain loyalty to the original I had to use French fabric so I used Atelier Brunette Dune viscose in ‘Chestnut’, from Dragonfly Fabric who gave a really great service. This was my second time using Atelier Brunette fabric after my comfy WFH blouse.

To achieve the Rouje look, I shortened the length of the hem by about 8 cm. In retrospect, I also wish I had taken some of the swing out of the skirt by making the piece a rectangle rather than it’s original circular shape, but shoulda woulda coulda.

I also shortened the long sleeved version sleeves, meticulously and mathematically by folding the pattern piece in half and saying ‘that’ll do’.

As we’re in lockdown I didn’t have enough time to get enough stay tape so just had enough for the chest pieces and yoke. However I also had ordered matching bias tape so used that all the way around the bodice, folding it in and topstitching so it’s not visible from the outside. This really stabilised my fabric and I would recommend this to anyone making an Eve in addition to the stay tape.

Next up was the buttons and I used interfacing on the back to stabilize the buttonholes. I’m often guilty of not doing this but it really helps with the shape and you can tear away the excess after completing the button hole. These large wooden buttons are cute and from Calico Laine, i’m happy with them though wish I’d gone a little smaller!

Finally I added a press stud to the inside to keep the dress in place, and a rouleau tie around the middle. I used the handy tip from Tilly and the Buttons to do this, wow what a difference it made and you can call me Rouleau Sally from now on, I’ll be making ties from everything in sight!

The only other issue I had with this was the bottom of my hem line warped terribly after sewing the sides. This has only ever happened to me with Atelier Brunette fabric and I imagine it’s because it’s so soft. I left the dress to hang for two days hoping it would even out but sadly it didn’t so I took shears to lop off the uneven bits before hemming. It worked out fine, but I’d like to avoid this in future. I’m sure it’s my sewing pulling the viscose too much and making the fabric stretch, so if anyone has tips I’d love to hear them!

So what do you think of my DIY Rouje dress? Overall I’m really happy with how it turned out, it’s ridiculously comfortable and makes me feel sassy at the same time which is a great feature of any outfit. I’ve enjoyed the process of making a copycat of RTW so will try another Rouje or even Vampire’s Dress in the future!

Burda Hepburn dress

It’s mad how the lockdown changes your perspective so quickly. Usually I travel around 12 weeks per year for my work and rarely spend a full month in the UK; my main hobby besides sewing is exploring the places I’m lucky enough to visit for work and researching what to see and do.

Last week the most exotic trip I took was to the Tesco on Park Road and it was exciting. I hadn’t been to this Tesco in ages as it’s a bit out the way for me but when looking for a new route to walk we decided to go via there to pick up the essentials. Walking in I was agog. In the big Tesco they have clothes! Pyjamas! Books, electronics and magazines! My boyfriend left me to browse the craft section for a bit where I found this month’s Burda magazine.

I’ve seen these before in charity shops but never really engaged having been put off by the huge pattern sheets; I usually print off my PDF’s or buy the pattern. However with no access to a printer at home and plenty of spare time for a challenge I figured why not, and the patterns this month look lovely!

The idea with Burda patterns is to trace over the lines on the pattern sheet, then add seam allowances. To do this I used normal baking paper (taped together in parts) and pencil to trace and cut out the pieces. For my toile I just cut around the pieces with a 1.5cm seam allowance but for the main garment I transferred the pattern pieces with allowance to card.

I chose the ‘Hepburn’ style dress fro this issue which is intended for a heavier material such as a jacquard, but I imagined it in a lighter fabric like this gingham I picked up in my panic-buy at Abakhan before they shut the store. I didn’t think it would work with a panelled skirt so just used the pattern pieces from my recent Liberty dress to create a gathered skirt.

Some people say that the Burda instructions are too vague, as they’re all jammed together with no pictures just the literal instructions. However for an intermediate sewer, especially on a relatively simple garment like this I think the instructions are fine provided you go slow and read them a couple of times before starting.

I’m really pleased with this dress and especially love the shoulder ties which I’ll borrow for another garment in future for sure. As usual I have issues with the neckline as I have SUCH a hollow upper chest, grr! As the finished dress is lighter than my toile fabric the gape is more noticeable so I will have to unpick the side seams and take them in by a cm or so to reduce the gape. I am always looking for easy, plain talking explanations of how to solve my eternal chest fitting issue so any recommendations are welcome!

I enjoyed this make and look forward to trying more from this Burda issue. Thanks for reading and happy sewing!