With two new Tilly and the Buttons patterns released this month, we are spoilt for choice but I decided to start with the Seren dress as I haven’t sewn a lovely summery dress in a while.
I was a bit torn between the tie front and plain front but I decided to go with something a bit different altogether – separates! When I first saw the Ariana embroidered chambray, I had a vision of it being made into a cool midi length button up skirt, worn with tan coloured clogs. I decided to make that vision a reality by hacking the Seren into the midi skirt I had in my mind, with a matching tie front top!
I made some other crucial changes too. Firstly, I added the all important side seam pockets. I just would have felt weird not having them there and they are super easy to add in. Secondly, I lined the bodice using white cotton lawn, rather than using the facings. I prefer the clean finish of a lined garment, and there is no faffing about with keeping the facings down. I also thought the flash of white on the tie front would be a cute detail.
To make the lined bodice, I simply omitted the facings and cut another set of back and front pieces out of my lining fabric. I did interface them using the facing pieces as a template, just so that the button holes would be easier. I left a gap in one of the lining side seams to enable me to turn it all through and then I sewed the perimeter of the bodice together (RST). After trimming the seams, I then pulled it through and hand stitched the side seam gap using a ladder stitch. Easy peasy!
The skirt was a little trickier, as after I had sewn the front button stand facing on and understitched them, and sewn the side seams to the back skirt, I tried it on and it was way too big. It would have been a lot of work to unpick either of the seams and the fabric I used was not the easiest to unpick, due the embroidery. My solution was to fold the button stand back on itself on both sides and topstitch in place. This gave it a cleaner finish but did add a lot of bulk which made sewing the buttonholes slightly challenging.
I then attached the waistband and just sewed it to meet the new front end pieces.
There are 15 buttonholes on the midi length version of the Seren. And that is a lot of buttonholes when you are having to fight with the machine on every one! It is also a lot of buttons to sew on, but I sat in the sunshine doing that so it wasn’t too onerous.
I was thinking about using copper jeans buttons but in the end I found some cute wooden ones which will match my shoes perfectly!
I am really pleased with the look of the outfit together. And I have great options to wear them as separates and combine multiple looks.
The instructions, as always, are really easy to follow. Obviously I went off piste for a lot of the steps but if you are making the dress as normal, it should be a breeze!
I would really like to make the ruffle front version of the dress in a cool floaty rayon next.