This blog post was written for The Avid Seamstress as part of my role in their blogging team, The Avid Makers.
I am thrilled to be back on the Avid Seamstress blog with my newest make – The Raglan Dress. I love the style lines and a-line shape of this pattern. I have a dress a similar shape that I wear loads, it’s just so easy to throw on and go (great for when I don’t have the brainpower to pull outfits together) so I know I am going to get lots of wear out of this! I deliberated for a long time about what fabric to use. I have some navy blue suiting that would look very smart, and not too dissimilar to the pattern photos, but I thought then I would probably only wear it for work and I decided I wanted something a little more versatile.
By chance, I saw a dress with a similar shape (but not a raglan) in one of my favourite high-street shops and it was made out of a giant check fabric. I remembered I had this linen at home (bought from Rainbow Fabrics Kilburn ages ago) and knew my decision had been made for me! This linen is an extremely loose weave, almost like a cheesecloth and has a crinkle texture to it. The giant plaid is yarn-dyed (not a print) and I feel like it needs a big canvas like The Raglan Dress to show off the scale of the design. Because there are so few seams in this pattern, there are no interruptions to a large-scale print like this.
After taking my measurements I cut the size 4 which is right bang in the middle of the size range. I decided I was happy with the finished garment measurements, so I didn’t make any alterations to the pattern at all.
Now, confession time – I tend to avoid raglan garments (unless they have loads of ease for an oversized look OR are made from stretch fabric) because I don’t like the ‘fold’ that you tend to get around the underarm. I much prefer set in sleeves for fitted garments. BUT I was extremely intrigued by the shoulder dart, and I trust The Avid Seamstress drafting so I was very excited to give The Raglan Dress a try.
As you can see for yourself, I had no reason to be worried, the drafting is beautiful and that shoulder dart gives a lovely fit around the shoulders! I also liked that there is a bust dart to give shape as well. I think the fit around the bust and shoulders is good and then the rest is nice and loose and flowy – perfectly suited to this loose-weave linen!
The only alteration I made to this pattern was to remove the centre back zip. I concluded that the super lightweight linen probably wouldn’t suit the structure of a zip very well so I decided to sew up the centre back seam and leave a 4 inch gap at the top to open up the neck hole, I am using a simple hook and eye closure at the top.
I love that the neck is finished with a facing, I much prefer this finish to bias tape (anyone else not a fan of bias?) and once the dress was finished I sat in front of the tv and did some invisible hand stitching to keep the facing in place. I stitched in the ditch at all four raglan seams as well as some small invisible stitches along the front facing. No facings will be folding up on this dress!
The only difficulty I had was in my deliberation about the pockets. I knew I didn’t want to do in-seam pockets (although they are included with the pattern) so I cut out two of the patch pockets. The pockets are the very final step so I tried on the finished dress to decide on placement of the pockets, I pinned them on at the side and at the front but didn’t like the way the pattern was broken up. Therefore, I have gone for no pockets for now (GASP – I know!!) but if it really annoys me that this dress has no pockets, I can always add them whenever I like – isn’t being a sewist so great?!
I am thrilled with my finished The Raglan Dress, it is lovely and floaty with a sophisticated fit around the bust and shoulders that stops it from looking like a sack. I have been wearing it to the office at least once a week since making this, with sandals when it’s hot and layered with black tights and boots when it’s cold. So excited to get lots of wear out of this in autumn – I’m looking forward to wearing this at Halloween already!