The Longshaw Dress

Do you take time away from a project to think about it? I do, I’ll often let it sit until I’m really sure how I want to proceed. When Wendy Ward’s A Begginer’s Guide To Sewing With Knitted Fabrics came out early this year I was certain of one thing – that I wanted to make the Longshaw Dress. It’s my cup of tea.

I really like the book too, it’s absolutely grand for anyone who thinks knits are hard, they’re not, quite the opposite in fact and Wendy gives sage advice and tips for tackling said material. No need for overlocker or serger if you haven’t got one/don’t want to use it. Well, months ago I traced all the patterns I wanted to use from the book and set to toiling the Longshaw with the Peak t-shirt (shown below) as the bodice.

Shown above is the Longshaw in all it’s glory but sadly my toile did nothing for me gathered at the waist with elastic and fabric overhang as I’m top heavy proportionally so I didn’t do the design justice, it just didn’t look nice on me like it does on everyone else I’ve seen. I unpicked the top and bottom and set it aside until ready to proceed with it again.

So it lay unfinished until a month or so ago but I’d been thinking a lot about it which is about two thirds of the making isn’t it? and decided to really crop the Peak bodice and also do a radical narrow shoulder adjustment with a new to me tweak of a sway back adjustment (because my top needs to be longer at the front)

Here’s a summary of what modifications I made:

• I cut the largest size in the Peak and two sizes down from that in the Longshaw

• Reduced 1cm from sleeve head and armscye back and front then an additional narrow shoulder adjustment of 2.5cm graduating down in a curve both sides. This might seem a complicated way of going about things but it’s how I achieved the fit on my toile. I transferred all this to my amended pattern later.

• Added 2cm to neckband length as fabric used wasn’t overly stretchy.

• From CF neck edge I measured 35cm for the length of front bodice. From the side edges of the back I drew gradual concave curve to a central depth of 2.5cm to make a sway back adjustment.

• Trimmed 3cm from all sides (front and back)

• Added 18cm length following curve of hem which would give me the longer skirt length plus extra for my height.

• Removed 5cm from sleeve edge to add cuff.

This is my finished wearable toile:

It fits me exactly how I’d like it which is just how one should feel after following a process based activity like dressmaking, it’s not always this way however sometimes things get rushed and then we tend to put up with fit issues or not wear the garment so much because it’s not right somewhere. It’s good to put things down and reappraise. I do remake things I’ve made before, but it’s something I’m keen on not having to do because of fit issues and something I’ll undertake to just change things up a bit and give something a new lease of life after a few years.

Shortly after completing my toile, I rode the momentum and tried to squeeze the pattern out of my intended fabric which was 2 metres x 150cm wide, it’s unheard of usually these days to get anything other than a top out of two metres being plus sized so it was a challenge and I had to piece the back and have a CB seam. It would run in with the line of the added Longshaw skirt CB seam.

I added a deeper cuff on the sleeves than Wendy’s original pattern piece to cover the scarring on my hands on the second dress. The fabric used is really soft, it’s cotton sweatshirting which I’ve had for a while but not used and I had remembered it and thought I’d maybe like to try the Longshaw skirt in it initially when the book arrived and secretly I hoped there’d be enough for a dress but I didn’t think there would be. There was though, there were tiny slithers left after cutting out which felt very satisfactory indeed.

I have a bit of a fever at the moment so whilst it’s warm I have been wearing it tonight and here’s a few photos:

I have since reshaped the Peak pattern to curve in at the waist for a longer t-shirt which I plan to use as I really like how the sleeve fits and also the crew neck, it’s such a great shape and a style I like to wear. I aim to replace a few of my longer t-shirts that fit me badly now in the arm region. I’ll upcycle them to become something else and make a few afresh using the Peak pattern. I enjoyed this project immensely and highly recommend the book, it’s ace.

1 thought on “The Longshaw Dress”

Comments are closed.