Protea Lonsdale

The Sewaholic Lonsdale dress is a halter-style summer dress featuring a self-lined bodice and flared skirt with front pockets and a knotted neckline with adjustable shoulder straps that tie in a bow at the back.

I first made it in a Joel Dewberry print in 2014 with a little furry help.

I was really happy with it and I always intended to make a second version but like the magpie sewist that I am I was immediately distracted by some other new pattern…

After wearing it a few times I noticed that the bow dug uncomfortably into my back if I was leaning against anything. To solve the problem with as little unpicking as possible I worked out how long my straps needed to be and cut them, sewing them onto the little tabs that you are meant to thread them through. I knew I could get the dress on and off without having to re-tie the straps but it was a lazy solution to solve the immediate problem. I decided for my second version of this dress I would insert the straps directly into the top of the bodice during the construction.

When I pulled this amazing purple, green and blue printed cotton from my stash I could think of no other pattern than the Lonsdale. At the time I didn’t even realise it was another Joel Dewberry fabric.

Unfortunately I’d only bought 2.7 meters and the pattern required 3.9 meters. This a pretty common problem for me, but I am ever up for a game of pattern tetris.

Chopping 10cms off the hem immediately helped (I know from last time the dress was very long) and then I carefully found space amongst the bigger pattern pieces to cut the four back bodice pieces in a single layer.

You can often be more efficient cutting out on a single layer of fabric but it means you have to very careful to remember to flip pattern pieces over…unlike I did for one of those bodice pieces…oops!

Luckily I was able to find a scrap just big enough to cut a fourth piece and even though I shortened the straps I still had to add a join which you can’t see with the busy print. It’s very satisfying winning pattern tetris and having just a few scraps of fabric left over!

The rest of the construction went smoothly since I had already made this pattern before.

I inserted the straps before I sewed the bodice and lining together. My only other change was to swap the dress zipper for an invisible zipper.

I really love the colours of this fabric and I am so glad I finally made another version of the Lonsdale dress.

Harriet approves of this one too!

And of course, pockets!

Which is the perfect opportunity to suggest a fantastic podcast all about the history of clothing and in particular this episode about pockets and why we should appreciate them them even if declaring your love for them is becoming a bit clichéd.

May all your clothes have perfect pockets!

Happy Sewing xx