Hi everybody, Sam here again, with another pattern review. Philippa started me off gently with the Vienne blouse, so it was only a matter of time before she let me loose on something a bit more complex & cut into the posh fabrics - yippee, I thought & then I started to panic, what if I messed it up & she sacks me - I've got a Springer Spaniel to feed! (You'd better make sure you don't mess up then! 😉 - P)
The Lyra is Tilly's new offering to the world & is a shirt dress with a gathered skirt & as with many of Tilly's patterns has multiple options, with the choice of 2 sleeve lengths & 2 hem lengths, pockets (of course) & an optional tie a belt to cinch it in. Since Spring was promising to rear its head for 30 seconds, I optimistically went for the short sleeved option & the shorter skirt without the ruffle. (I say optimistically because I'm notoriously always cold). (I can vouch for that - our electric bills have doubled since Sam arrived - P.)
While there are all the traditional shirt elements to this dress, such as a collar, plackets & buttons, making it slightly more challenging than say her Stevie dress, this is a great one to get your teeth into if you're looking to up your skills & try a few new techniques. As always with Tilly's patterns the instructions really hold your hand throughout. And because I like you, I've even put together some separate blog posts to give you some alternative approaches for a couple of the techniques, because I'm nice like that.
Philippa & I decided to make it a team effort on this one & make one each from different fabrics to show how differently the dress looks down to fabric choice, so I opted for this rather lovely Dashwood Studios Circle Line Austin Blue/Green which is 100% Rayon. I know it's got squares on it, we've had words with the designer, apparently the collection is so named because of some links with the London Underground, so now you know! Anyhow, it's perfect for this style of dress, as it has just the right amount of swish for a gathered skirt & enough structure for all the fiddly bits where you need to press it well, (I'm looking at you collar & plackets).
Just to add a little bit of fun to the project Philippa challenged me to make it out of less than the stated requirements (I know, she's weird like that she should be selling you more fabric not less!) (Erm, I beg your pardon?! 😂 - P) - so be prepared for some statistics. My measurements (37" Bust, 32" Waist & 40" Hip), mean that I usually make a size 5 for a T&TB pattern & the fabric is 140cm wide - the pattern called for 2.4 metres of 150cm fabric & I squeezed it out of - drum roll please - 2 metres, yep with a bit of cunning & guile it can be done. What I did do though is cut both the top and under collars on the fold, rather than cut the undercollar on the bias as this is how I normally cut out collars and it hasn't made any difference to the end result. What I would suggest though is to maybe cut out all your pattern pieces to size first & if you have some fabric at home measure them out on that but be careful that the width is correct & obviously if you're going to faff about pattern matching forget it - buy more!
In terms of fit, it's got about 2" of ease at the bust & then unfitted at the waist & hip, around 8" of ease at the waist, so plenty of room if you want to have a pudding, so make sure that you get your bust size right. The dress sits about an inch or 2 above the knee on me & I'm happy with that, I did consider adding some length in the bodice, as I know her patterns are generally drafted for someone who is 5'5" & I'm 5'8" but I'm happy with the length as it is.
I added a thread chain belt loop to stop my belt falling off & keeping it in place. I'm willing to bet you've had yours drop on the toilet floor, or worse (yuck) so this just prevents that from happening. Once you get the hang of them, they are really simple to do & if you decide to go beltless one day you can, as they are pretty inconspicuous.
I decided to get all fancy with the buttons, there were so many colours to choose from in this fabric but found that the orange ones that we had in stock matched perfectly & used a blue thread, to pick out the blue in the fabric & sewed them on by machine, yes by machine! Don't worry, I will be showing you how to do that soon!
So overall, a great pattern whether you're an experienced seamstress or an adventurous beginner looking to have a go at some of those techniques that you may have been shying away from. I love the fabric that I chose, something a little bit different to my usual style, I feel like a walking Mondrian wearing it & I can see me making many more. (I wonder if she'll let me loose on the Atelier Brunette?) (Not a chuffing chance!!!! - P 😂)
Ey up! I just thought I'd stick my twopenneth in on Sam's brilliant review. (I knew there was a reason I set her on!)
I made my version using a fabulous two-tone chambray and I made the long sleeved version, mainly due to the fact that I get just as cold as Sam but the difference is I don't delude myself into thinking I can cope with a bare arm all day...! 😉 The long sleeves are dead easy to do as they are just gathered with elastic at the cuff to create a bracelet sleeve.
I have to say, as much as I love gathering on a dress, I am rubbish at it. I start off with good intentions but I think I just lose interest which means my end result isn't often as good as it could be. When Sam was making her dress, however, she came downstairs to see if she'd be ok creating an elastic-gathered waist. "What is this sewing wizardry?!" I asked. Well, it's an easier way of making sure all your gathers are even before you stitch them in! 👀 So off she popped, and created some instructions for good measure, which you can find here!
I also made the shorter version of the dress, which is a nice length to enable a touch of leg-showing in the warmer weather, but I would also happily wear this dress with tights in the winter.
Overall, a very versatile, comfy dress, which I think will be a welcome addition to anyone's wardrobe! Buy the pattern here: Tilly and the Buttons Lyra Shirt Dress