Monday, March 11, 2013

Lilly Rose

Today I'm bringing you the fruits of a "secret" project I've been working on-testing the Lilly Rose dress pattern from The Tailor's Apprentice! She has several new 1940s patterns in the Miss Page Vintage 1940s collection but I was immediately drawn to the Lilly Rose dress. The collection also includes patterns for an evening gown, a sailor outfit, a land girl ensemble and a wedding gown.


This pattern was a pdf and it prints on both A4 and US letter sized paper (which I didn't notice till after I'd printed it on A4 paper....). I really liked that it had a grid on it so that if you are type A like me, you can measure out the size of the squares as you tape them together so they end up straighter than with other pdf patterns. I don't normally like pdf patterns because I don't feel my taping skills are up to snuff but this helped out loads.

I opted not to do a muslin and the top came out the right size but I did something really dumb when cutting out the skirt piece. I cut out the waist two sizes too small! Eeep! I don't know what I was thinking since I cut out the top and waist band the correct size. Oy! This was completely a user error, and had I cut out the correct size, the pattern would have fit great. And I didn't have enough fabric to recut the skirt pieces. I was able to let a bit out of each seam but since I did French seams, I couldn't let nearly enough out. I really wanted to use this fabric for this dress, so I did what I think any thrifty 40s gal would have done in the same situation, I added strips of fabric to the side seams to make up for the width needed at the waist. The busy print mostly hides it.

On the bright side, all I have to do for next time is print out the skirt pieces and cut the pattern out with the correct size.

The neckline on this dress is just gorgeous on the front and back. Pretty enough on the front that you don't need a necklace and the keyhole on the back is just darling! The original design had contrasting bands on the sleeves too, but I ran out of fabric. I really wanted a matching bolero to go with this dress and I didn't end up with enough contrast fabric for all of the things so I left off the sleeve contrast. It was a bit chilly with the bolero so I swapped it out for a sweater today.

I choose to do a bunch of French seams on this dress and hand stitching the hem and the contrast on the neckline (because I couldn't find thread that matched well enough) so it did take a while to stitch up but it came out really nice and I love the little details that make a dress special.

Overall, I really enjoyed working with this pattern. I'd make a few changes next time I made up this pattern-cutting out the correct waist size, adding the contrast back to the sleeve and using a contrast fabric that is more similar in weight/stretch etc to my main fabric because they didn't really play nice with the shaped waist band. The directions are clear with lots of pictures and include info on extras like dress shields and making your own shoulder pads.

The pattern is recommended for intermediate sewers but I think an advance beginner would do ok if you were confident in installing a zipper and you were willing to be patient with the more fiddly shaped contrasting neck piece. The hardest bit for me was the fabric chart which was only available in meters but I believe an English chart is being worked on. I used 2.6 yds of 56" fabric for my main fabric and I used a mix of sizes 8, 10 and 12 (which is normal for me).

Note: I was given this pattern for free in exchange for a review. The opinions expressed are entirely my own.


  1. Absolutely fantastic job! This dress is so timelessly lovely and looks incredible on you.

    ♥ Jessica

  2. That's lovely, I especially like the contrast waistband.

  3. I have this exact pattern on my etsy wishlist. I found it recently and thought it was adorable. I really like the sailor pant option as well. Thanks for the review! :)

  4. Beautiful dress! I really like the neckline, and you made it up in such lovely fabric!

  5. What a cute design - if only the Tailor's Apprentice had line drawings of each pattern, it would make it easier to look at them

    1. Busy Lizzie, by line drawings do you mean B&W sketches? I can create them if that will help, Lorna, The Tailor's Apprentice.

  6. The rose is the perfect touch to this outfit!

  7. That colour is beautiful on you! I'm a big van of the waistband.

  8. Fabulous review and overview of Lilly Rose, your dress is beautiful! Loving your 'make do and mend' problem solving approach as well.

  9. The fabric was a really pretty combination. Glad yours came out well, that means I feel better about my pattern!