I honestly think this Seren sundress by Tilly and the Buttons in our cotton lawn fabric is my all time favourite summer dress. Multiple views, a definite retro vibe and a fit that feels elegant yet totally wearable it is a wardrobe winner.
Sewing Pattern and Fabric
The Seren sewing pattern has options for a knee length and a midi length dress with a flounce round the neckline of the bodice or without. There's also the option to create separates with a cute tie waist bodice and whichever length skirt you prefer.
It has a button down front, fitted bodice and an A-line/flared skirt, which skims over the hips and hangs beautifully.
The straps are wide enough and positioned well enough to hide your bra straps - how wonderful.
When I first saw it I wanted to make the flounce dress version, however, this cotton lawn walked into my life and I knew the plain bodice was it's perfect partner.
I love the bold colours, abstract print and the cool, breathable cotton lawn is perfect for summer. I'm hoping it has now arrived!
Adjustment and Sizing
I cut a straight size three. Although my waist is 29" and the suggested waist for a size three was 28" I recently made the Ness skirt in a size three and it was a perfect fit so I thought I'd chance it.
I also made a basic toile of the bodice before cutting into my fabric so I could check the waist and I'm so glad I did. The bust was massive on me!
The pattern is for a 34" bust, which is what my measurements are, but it was way too big in this area. I often think my bust measures bigger than it is because I have protruding shoulder blades and therefore I'm thicker at the back so I'm sure it is more to do with my shape than the drafting of the pattern.
I made a small bust adjustment removing about 1/2" of fullness and was really pleased with the resulting fit. You can see a tutorial on how to do this here.
It's also really important to wear the bra you will be wearing with the dress when making fitting alterations, especially in such a fitted bodice.
I graded back out at the waist to make sure I wasn't loosing any width where I needed it.
As always with Tilly patterns the construction was super simple. The bodice neckline was finished with a facing that extended down to the waist to create the button placket. The skirt placket was also created with a facing and the waistband included enough length for the placket there.
When I first attached the waistband I found it didn't quite marry up properly with the bodice and the skirt and had to unpick it and do it again. The length was fine, but it was at a jaunty angle so it is worth taking care at this stage.
I overlocked the seams together since the cotton lawn isn't bulky.
I chose to sew a narrow hem by overlocking the raw edge then pressing the overlocked part up and stitching it in place. The pattern suggested a much deeper hem, but I thought a narrow hem would look better with the flared skirt.
There are 14 buttons and buttonholes to sew on the Seren dress so I decided to make life easier for myself.
Firstly I used my Simflex sewing gauge to measure out the buttonholes and make sure they were evenly spaced.
Secondly I used basting tape to position the buttons and a button sewing foot (always refer to our compatibility charts and choose a foot compatible with your machine) to stitch them in place. I do love a bit of hand sewing, but there is a limit to how many buttons I want to sew!
Finally I used a Clover buttonhole cutting tool to avoid any mishaps with a seam ripper.
These couple of tips made sewing the buttons and buttonholes a breeze. In fact I'm not ashamed to say I really enjoyed myself!
I cannot tell you how great I feel in this dress. I don't know if it's the sunny yellow fabric or the glorious fit, but it makes me super happy.
- Seren sundress sewing pattern
- Artisan display cotton lawn fabric
- Clover buttonhole cutter
- Simflex sewing gauge
- Button sewing foot
- Basting tape
Have fun sewing!
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