If it's good enough for Kate Moss...#wardrobebuilder Day Dress

Day Dress by the Avid Seamstress

As I said in the monthly #wardrobebuilder feature post, I was already pretty set on the Day Dress pattern by The Avid Seamstress for at least one of this month's make. I could see that I would be able to make either an evening dress with sleeves or a nice work dress from this pattern, depending on fabric choices. It has a fitted bodice, short sleeves and a gathered skirt with pockets. I suppose that in the end I've created something that actually could do both evening and work wear, but I'm intending to keep this Day Dress for evenings.

Day Dress Pattern review


I saw this fabric a while ago in Croft Mill's online fabric store, and admit to being interested purely because of its provenance. This fabric was used to create dresses that retailed at Topshop under Kate Moss' name for over £150, and I don't know if it's just because I'm still an amatuer when it comes to dressmaking, but I like the sound of that. At £11.95 a metre, the 1.5 metres I need would constitute a fraction of that cost! I also assumed that the quality would be pretty good too. (FYI it's a deep black crepe).

I wasn't disappointed with this fabric. It does have a nice drape and would work for a number of different dress styles. It also ironed better than some other crepes I have used before which was a bonus. I had no problems at all with the cutting and sewing. As a result this dress has come together pretty quickly (for me).

Day Dress by the Avid Seamstress instructions

Pattern and Instructions

This is the most beautifully packaged pattern that I own. It comes in printed and pdf versions, but I would definitely recommend the printed version because the quality of each element is superior to most of printed patterns that I have. Every now and again it's nice to have something nice! The pattern envelope is made from a thick paper and is large enough to not only keep all your pattern pieces in but also will hold up to being used a lot as well. Given that this is the kind of pattern that you would make again, I think it's worth the £16.50 investment.

Day Dress by the Avid Seamstress printed pattern

Inside the envelope, you would expect to find a pattern and instructions, but there are added extras too. Firstly the quality of the pattern and instructions is high. The pattern is printed on one enormous page of pattern paper (a nice thick one that feels quite durable too). The instructions are in the form of a 34 page booklet, which includes layplans and illustrated instructions for each step of the three versions of the dress. There are some really helpful tips included throughout, along with explanations of key terms. Secondly, there are lots of additional help cards that include a guide on taking measurements, a checklist for before you start, a glossary for sewing terms and extra help on understanding fabric.

The pattern itself has three variations: View A has a centre seam at front, View B has buttons at centre front and View C has a plain centre front. I chose to make View C in a size 3, which matched my measurements.

Day Dress by the Avid Seamstress in Black Crepe

The construction of this dress is ordered a little differently to what I was expecting, based on other similar dresses. I was very tempted to make it in the order that I was comfortable with (and which helps with securing facings), but trusted the pattern and followed it to the letter. The very first step is to overlock all the raw edges of the fabric that I had just lovingly cut out. This meant that when it came to construction I didn't need to keep switching between machines and could press all seams open immediately.

Another early step involves sewing in elastic to the skirt panels. I was following the tutorial as I did this which included a video link showing exactly how to do this properly. If it's the first time you've made a dress, or sewn with elastic, this tutorial is incredibly helpful and will show you what you need to be successful. There are some tips for setting in invisible zips that I only found out a while after I had been sewing that make them so much easier!

The sleeves do take a little time to sew in. They are not gathered and are sewn in before side seams, so should be on the easier side. Using a lot of pins helps here; I did have to unpick a small section where I had managed to sew a pleat into my sleeve instead of easing it around. I do like how these sleeves look.

The instructions also fully cover how to set in pockets to the skirt. I included pockets, but think these could also easily be left out if you aren't confident/want to reduce bulk. I'll be referring back to these instructions next time I sew in pockets because they are so easy to follow!

Day Dress pockets


Same as usual here....too big at the waist. The side seams are the last ones sewn so I took the excess from here this time, about 1.5 cm from armhole to waist seam, graduating to the normal seam allowance where the pockets join. Given the bodice alterations I could possibly try a smaller size next time, but I do like the ease around the sleeves and shoulders.

I also shortened the length once I had (almost) finished the dress. I took about 3 cm off the hem, seeing as this was an evening dress.

Evening dress sewing pattern


What I love about this dress: Does it make sense to say 'the pattern'? This dress is very similar to the Megan Dress from Tilly and the Buttons' 'Love at First Stitch' in many ways, but is also very different. I prefer the sleeves on the Day Dress a lot more. I was apprehensive about the gathered skirt as I'm not a fan of gathered waists but soon came to realise the gathered skirt was a very different story. It adds a definition to the waist that works well.

What I'm not sure about: The pockets. Somehow this looks a little like a tulip skirt, which isn't a bad thing, but not what I think it was meant to be like. (BTW, it looked like that before I took it in as well). I'm not sure if the pockets are adding an unnecessary bulk that is affecting the overall shape or not. I love having them but maybe should have left them off for this project.

Beginner dress sewing pattern

Would I recommend it? Yes. I will be making more Day Dresses in the future (when I've finished my 2017 #wardrobebuilder!).Specifically, it would be a great gift for a sewing friend because all the printed elements are so pretty - it's a gift in itself and it will lead to a versatile dress too.

I think this pattern is also an excellent starting point for a beginner. There are lots of guides, explanations and help that can support someone new to sewing and learning new skills (I would recommend having had a go at the Bettine dress first, but this is a good follow up).

Thank you to The Avid Seamstress, for providing this pattern and the pattern prize for this month. (though they have been generous all opinions are my own!).

If you want to be in with a chance to win a pattern from The Avid Seamstress, add your make to this month's link up.

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Welcome to Sewing and Other Stories; my journeys with sewing and knitting; pattern reviews, tips and guides for beginners. I'm also the designer behind West Beach Knits knitting patterns and I host a Knitting and Sewing channel on YouTube where you can see all of this in person. Come have a look!

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