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Romy-Krystal's Valentine's Day Dress

by Romy-Krystal
* This is a paid blog submission.  Guest contributors receive a small fee along with their choice of fabric to use for their selected project.  All content, thoughts + creative are the guest writers own. 
Romy wears a bright pink linen handmade dress, holding one side out slightly from her body to show the vlolume in the tiered skirt.  She is standing in front of a light blue, minty  painted wall.

Hey there! How ya goin’? I’m Romy-Krystal, more commonly known as @sewlike on Instagram. I’m a first generation Aussie living abroad in the USA with my two little humans and my hubby. I’ve been sewing for over 5 years now and I am completely self-taught. 

"I’d like to thank Google and Youtube for all their teachings throughout the years."

I love making bright colourful clothing, especially dresses, so it’s a dream come true to be featured on the A and R Fabric blog to tell you all about how I made my ultimate dream dress for Valentine’s Day!

The Beginning:

I remember when I first laid my eyes on A and R linen. I was doing my usual scrolling through the Insta feed and I saw this competition that was going around. Everyone was sharing, so I knew I had to check it out.  The first linen I saw was the Mulberry, my jaw literally dropped to the floor. Linen is my all-time favourite fabric, but what’s been hard through the years is to find those bright colours I love.

I didn’t hesitate to message and ask for some swatches from Trin. Now, we’re in a pandemic, so it took a little bit to get over here, but when it arrived it was love at first sight. I’d never felt linen so soft and I’d never thought I’d find them bright enough that I needed sunnies (side note: The silk noil swatches came too and they are divine, just really feel like that needs to be expressed).

Romy stands in front of a pink wall swishing the skirt of her handmade pink linen dress

The bar was set, I was never buying any other linen again. I had found my linen company moving forward. Not to mention Trin is the sweetest person alive. Fast forward to a few months later and I have the absolute privilege to be sitting here writing to you all about how I got to work with that linen in the Magenta colourway. You’re probably thinking, but you first saw the Mulberry, yes this is true, but then I saw the Magenta and it was game over. It had my heart and I knew exactly what I was going to do!

The Middle:

I am dressed obsessed. I know people say that, but I actually have over 200 dresses and 90% are hand made by me.  So when I say dress obsessed I really am dictionary-definition obsessed. In saying that, there’s always been one dress I’ve wanted to make and have just always put off. It’s what I would deem as an “everything but the kitchen sink” dress."

Over the years I’ve done a lot of different styles of dresses and in doing so, made note of features I really loved and would like to combine together. What are those features you ask?

In no particular order they are:

  1. A square neckline
  2. A ruffle around the neckline
  3. Waist ties to cinch the waist
  4. Two voluminous tiers for the skirt 
  5. Last, but not least, puffy sleeves finished with a cuff

"With those powers combined, you get…the ultimate Romy dress."

Romy wears a bright pink linen tiered dress with puffy sleeves and a square neckline. She is standing with one hand on her hip in front of a pink wall.

Well today is the day! It was time to take the plunge. After multiple sketches and shifting through all my patterns, I came up with a game plan. I would use Butterick 6518 for the bodice and the Wilder Gown for the skirt with a few adjustments. So, let’s break it down.

For the bodice I used version D. I omitted the ruffle of the sleeve and used the slash and spread method to make the sleeve extra puffy. I added 10 inches overall, along with an extra 2 inches in length. I should make a note here: the sleeves of this pattern are super tiny. So if you plan to use it, please have a look at that. After some internet research I found this was the case for many so I will add to the masses and give the same warning. 

Close up of the ruffle detail on Romy's magenta dress bodice.

Next I moved the notch for the back opening up on the back bodice because I don’t love how low those go sometimes. I eyeballed this based on my other dresses, but if I have to guess I would say I moved it up by an inch. I also added a rouleau loop to the back because I enjoy that look more so that creating the loop with thread at the end. I placed that in before I sewed the yoke in place.

Close up detail of the back closure of Romy's handmade pink dress.  This image shows the metal flower button and loop closure for the back of the dress

The next change I made was during the sewing process. This pattern requires a lot of assumed knowledge, and this was again solidified by others that had previously made this pattern. For my ruffle I ended up folding in the raw edges where the ruffle pieces attach, for a clean finish. For the bottom edge I followed the instructions but please note, you need to do a mitred corner to keep it crisp. This is not written in the instructions or really drawn in very well. Lastly, I cut my bodice on the lengthen and shorten line on the pattern. Next time I’ll probably add an inch here for length just to give me more room when attaching the skirt. The last addition to the bodice was the waist ties. I used the ties from my Hinterland pattern from Sew Liberated and added them in 1” above my raw hem. Boom, there was the bodice done! Well kind of, the sleeves were next!

For the sleeves I followed the instructions to insert them in. The only change was adding a cuff to the sleeve hem. For this I used my cuff from the Roscoe dress from True Bias. I made the size 10 in that dress for reference. Nothing fancy here, just followed the instructions and then pranced around like a fairy. It was looking magical. 

Close up shot of Romy's voluminous, puffy sleeve showing the cuff from the Hinterland dress pattern

Moving onto the skirt. This was super easy in comparison to the bodice. I took my old faithful wilder gown and used that for my two tiers. I wanted to add fullness, so rather than cutting the pattern pieces as is, I cut the width of my fabric for each piece but kept the length the same as the pattern piece. This made for a lot more gathering, A LOT. But gosh it was worth it! Once the tiers were in it was time for the hem! By this point I was tired. I was so excited to make the dress that I was trying to get it done in one day, so the self-inflicted tiredness makes sense. So I decided to do, what I like to call, a lazy hem. I folded over the edge at about ½ inch and then folded it over again the same amount and ironed it down. Took it to the machine, and presto this dress was done!

The End:

Truth be told, once I finished this dress I was exhausted. I probably shouldn’t have tried to do it all in one day, but I was so excited for my dream dress to be a reality.  So fast forward to the next day and I went through various stages;

The staring stage: This is where I just sit and stare at my make and smile.
I’ve been in this stage on and off since I’ve made it, and I’m still in love with it.

The prancing around stage: Where I put it on and twirl all around the house while my kids look on with concern.

The disbelief stage: Did I make that? Is it real? Touches it to see if it’s real.

"Those are the main three stages. To say I love it is a huge, huge understatement."

If there is one thing I can leave you with, it’s that you must try this linen. It’s delightful. The colours are so rich and the texture is divine. For such a big dress it’s so lightweight and breezy. I cannot wait to wear this out on the town when the pandemic is long behind us. Till then I’m going to wear it around the house and feel like a star!

Thanks so much for reading along and a big thank you to Trin for having me and helping me make my dream dress a reality!

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You can see more of Romy's incredible makes over on her blog!  

Drop us a comment below to let us know what you'd make in this colour + share your thoughts on Romy's incredible make!

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