dressmaking · Upcycling

The Keep Calm and Sew On Dress

Please don’t be fooled by the smiley face in the picture below. A few hours before said photo was taken that same face was contorted with fury and the dress was in a crumpled ball in the corner of the room. I had thrown it there during a fit of rage after discovering the lining was wonky and vast sections of stitching needed unpicking AGAIN. Okay, perhaps ‘fit of rage’ is a slight exaggeration but I was pretty grumpy at that moment. In fact, Lining-gate, as I like to call it, was the latest in a string of problems I encountered while making this dress. Hence it’s name, the Keep Calm and Sew On Dress.


Sewing is a fantastic hobby. It is relaxing, creative and rewarding. Sometimes it just takes a little longer to get to the rewarding part. I set up my blog to record my sewing adventures and hopefully inspire other people to give it a go. In this post, I hope to reassure new sewers that mistakes are inevitable and there is usually a way to fix whatever catastrophe comes your way. Oh, and as cliched as it sounds, you really do learn from your errors.

This dress was my first made-to-measure dress created from my own pattern block. In other words it should have fit like a glove first time, right? Sadly not. Even when you create a pattern using your own measurements, it can still require adjusting once it is on your body. We are 3D after all! I had to make two practice garments from an old duvet cover before I was happy with the fit and even then I had to take out the side seams of my finished dress as it was too tight to sit down in. I wanted it to be tight fitting but not that tight. It was a tad stressful to say the least but now I have been through that process it should be much quicker to make well fitting clothes in the future and that is a pretty nice feeling 🙂


As previously mentioned, lining my dress was especially problematic. I had never lined a dress before and because it wasn’t from a pattern I didn’t have instructions. After watching a few YouTube videos I thought I knew what I was doing but I was wrong, very wrong. I spent an hour trying to turn it the right way out, ripping the neckline in the process and getting more and more confused. I even cried on my poor bewildered housemate Laura. I had sewn the armholes up, in case you were wondering, and ended up having to unpick them and finish them off with bias binding. I will NEVER make that mistake again.

The concealed zip actually went quite well, perhaps because I have learnt a lot from past blunders.
Making this dress was certainly not the most therapeutic of sewing experiences but I am happy with the finished result. I am especially pleased with the sweetheart neckline 🙂 I got lots of nice compliments when I wore it out for my birthday. It was also the first time I created a mood board in my new scrap book and that was really fun.


Happy sewing!

2 thoughts on “The Keep Calm and Sew On Dress

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