English Tea Dress – take one

My previous experience with Simple Sews patterns wasn’t all that fantastic. Using the measurements provided, the dress should have at least fitted, but the back wouldn’t meet, let alone meet enough for a zip to go in. But the style of the English Tea Dress made me want to have another go, in the hope that I could figure out the fit a little better.

The neckline is more suited to my taste, with a nice v-neck that has just the right amount of plunge. The back is a round-neck, so no worries about picking a suitable bra to wear so the straps don’t show!

I did give an allowance of an extra inch on each of the back seams but I hardly used any of that, so the sizing definitely seems like it’s more accurate for this one. I will admit I got in a mess with the sleeves though; the pattern didn’t really make complete sense for the cap sleeves, nor for attaching the cuff. So, I used the short gathered sleeve, and added a contrast cuff as if it was bias-binding, rather than following the instructions. The cuff was slightly snug so I left it open on the end, stitching down the seams on either side.

Tea Dress - sleeve detail

The zip isn’t the neatest in existence, and I used a regular zip rather than an invisible one, but for a first attempt at a zip in a dress, I think it came out really well 🙂


The fabric was actually half of a single duvet cover from Primark (£9), so including the thread and zip (I already had the interfacing from a previous project), the dress cost me £6.40. Now that’s a bargain, especially for my first finished dress!

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