Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Revisioned PR Lillian Dress

I finished out my run in the PR Sewing Bee this year at Round 3 -- with this make. I'm not in the final round, in which the challenge is to sew something inspired by a superhero.... I'm kind of happy, as I got to use the last few days I had off work to catch up on all my neglected sewing of the last few weeks instead! But here is some information about this latest project, which, aside from the weirdly lit photos, I'm quite happy with.

Round Three of the Pattern Review Sewing Bee caught me a little by surprise -- a knit dress, actually the Lillian Knit Top & Dress designed by Pattern Review! -- that we had to make our own.

I puzzled over this one 'til my puzzler was sore. What to do? I printed out a few line drawings and started sketching. And kept at it for two days. Finally I came up with a concept that I felt excited enough about to actually get down to making.

I decided on another illusion style dress, this time trying to make an all-in-one dress that looked like separates. I dug through my stash to see what I had, as I've been trying to use my stash first in all my sewing this year, regular or competitive! Luckily I had an idea about using yellow (oddly enough, since it's my favourite colour I have quite a lot of it stashed!). I matched this solid yellow, repurposed from an old dress I made and didn't wear once (the StyleArc Cher Knit dress, in case you were wondering, which was a huge sewing fail) with a favourite floral, and then went with a black and cream microdot from a 6m. length I thifted last year for the final outer piece. 

I changed the lines of the pattern somewhat -- I cut a block from the bottom of the bib bodice feature to the hem and used those two pieces to create the illusion of separates under a cardigan. I cut the remaining side pieces and back from the black, and extended the sleeve to elbow length, also in black.

But I thought that it needed more definition so I added sleeve cuffs in the floral to extend the top a bit, and thought I needed more oomph at the neckline so quickly drafted a demi tie collar -- it only goes to the shoulder and is sewn in at the shoulder seam. It gives it a little more of the secretary look and defines it as a 'blouse' I think.

I added a few extras to the black section to get it looking like an outer cardigan as well, though it's all sewn together with regular seams in a dress. I made the black outer panels longer than the yellow inner panel, and added a wide band at the seam between them. I didn't think of adding the band until it was nearly done so I just handstitched it on top of that seamline, which was fiddly and also didn't give me the kind of smooth line I could have gotten if I'd inserted it right into the seam while sewing. But I still like it. I also added patch pockets at cardigan height, lower than I would generally.

I made the fit around the waist and hip looser as well, to look more jackety than fitted to the back like the regular dress would be. I think it works but I'd take a little swayback adjustment in and add a bit more width over the bottom next time.

Overall I quite like this one! I had fun looking closely at the pattern to figure out how to change it up, and was so pleased when I finally saw the seamlines to work with. If I had more time I might have redone a couple of things but I think the illusion works, and I had quite a fun time making it. I just wish it hadn't been such a miserable weather day so I could have taken pictures somewhere else than a greenish room at work. Oh well! I still like it.

This Sewing Bee has really challenged me with each round's project. I feel like my creative sewing mind has been stretched a bit. And you should definitely check out the Round 3 gallery to see all the other massively creative takes on this pattern as well. Lots of creativity going around! 


  1. Melanie this looks great! You have certainly succeeded in your goals - the blouse look is lovely, and soft. You have definitely given the illusion of a long jacket - I thought it was at first glance. It takes courage to enter competitions and have your work judged. Round 3 is quite an achievement. Now you should relax and make something totally fun, frivolous and stress free. Maybe something 'French?

    1. Haha, yes, I've been taking a couple of days off, just reading & relaxing. Though something French might be in the lineup.... ;)


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