Just in time for Christmas, I have decided that I need a few slouchy dresses added to my wardrobe. At this time of year a smock dress hides a multitude of mince pies and mulled wine and is basically perfect for all the festive treats I’m planning to consume.
You may think that Megan Nielsen’s Sudley dress (blogged here and here) is a summer dress but I like to think it can be worn year round with just a few small additions. I decided to test this theory out and I’m pleased with the results.
This pattern offers loads of alternative ways of mixing the pattern up, including lowering the waistband and making a top version, so I didn’t feel too bad about changing it slightly.
Firstly I lengthened the arms. I’m a big fan of all those 90s dresses that are long sleeved. I also wanted something that was long enough to cover my wrists. Although there is a longer arm length included in the pattern, it only comes to about 3/4 length and so I added about 10cm to the arms and brought the sides in slightly. Then I also increased the seam allowance when I was sewing to make the arms slightly tighter.
As much as I love the keyhole detail of the Sudley dress, it doesn’t really work for a winter dress so I took this out and simply used the bodice piece without the keyhole detail for both the front and back. Since this is a dress that you can wear with the keyhole at the front or back of the dress, I didn’t need to make any other adjustments to the bodice.
Finally, I knew I wanted to add buttons to this dress but didn’t want the hassle of making buttonholes. I love the details on button back tops and wanted to recreate it for this pattern so I just made a fake button placket which I added to the middle of one of the bodice pieces. Genius, eh? I then sewed the buttons on by hand when I finished it off. The weird thing is I’ve actually worn it more with the buttons at the front rather than at the back which is how I envisioned it, but it definitely also works this way!
I finished the whole dress off with bias binding as I think this gives a clean finish. I’m pretty certain this is recommended in the pattern but it’s a good habit to pick up for the Sudley.
I wanted to line this dress but, since I was using viscose fabric and didn’t want to ruin the drape (and basically always wear layers during the winter anyway), I skipped it. I’m not sure that was wise in hindsight but it’s a very comfy dress and that’s basically what I wanted.
Here are a couple of shameless changing room selfies to show how I wear it:
I bought this incredibly cheap viscose from Ebay which was a complete impulse purchase. I wasn’t too fussed about it if I’m honest, but when it arrived I liked it more. However, the fabric has a tendency to fray and the threads kept pulling while I was sewing, so as cheap as it was, I’m not too impressed with the quality and I won’t be buying any more.
All in all, I love this dress. For a cheap and quick make, it ticks all the boxes and I’m already planning more. I have my eye on some tartan and dark denim fabrics. Plus, these dresses are perfect for hiding those Christmas binges. What’s not to love?