My latest sewing project is something that has been about six months in the making! It all started around October last year, when I decided I wanted a navy and white gingham dress or top and skirt set, but couldn’t find anything I liked in any RTW stores… then I remembered the Seren dress pattern from Tilly and the Buttons and realised I could just make what I wanted!
One Black Friday sale later, I had the pattern in my hands and set out in search for the perfect gingham fabric. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find anything locally that I liked with the right scale, colour and weight, and I was pretty wary of buying anything online. I shelved the project for the time being and decided to wait until I found the perfect fabric.
Fast forward to March, when I was on a family vacation in New Zealand. I had already planned to go fabric shopping while we were in Auckland, as I’ve started a little tradition of buying fabric instead of souvenir knick-knacks whenever we travel overseas, so that I can slowly build a wardrobe of ‘souvenir dresses’. With the help of this Auckland local fabric shopping guide, I found Drapers Fabrics – and stumbled across the perfect navy and white gingham fabric and vintage brass buttons for my Seren separates!
If you follow my Instagram, you’ll already know that I spent a lot of time working on a wearable toile of the top in red cotton before cutting into my main fabric, trying to make sure I got the fit just right! It took a long time, but it was definitely worth it. My gingham fabric had a little bit of stretch which helped with the fit, but I also ended up adding in a couple of darts to the back bodice to bring in the waist a bit.
I used the knee-length skirt pattern, but due to my height and my choice of hem, it ended up being more of a midi length anyway. I also added pockets to the skirt, because all skirts and dresses could use extra pockets! Turning the dress into separates was pretty easy – I just made the top by itself and gave it a narrow hem, then made the skirt separately with the waistband. I did have to hop over to Tilly’s Picnic Blanket Skirt tutorial to remind myself how to attach the waistband properly (the Seren pattern instructions are designed for a dress, not separates!), but I got there in the end with no mishaps!
I was also excited to discover that Annika Victoria’s next ‘Make Thrift Try’ challenge theme was gingham/plaid as well – I’ve been keen to join in with these challenges, but the past themes didn’t really grab me like this one did. I’m glad I was able to make this project count for #makethrifttry4!
We’re already heading into cooler weather here in Brisbane, so this is not the most seasonally-appropriate outfit I’ve ever made – I won’t get a lot of wear out of the top in particular before it gets too chilly for crop tops! I really do need to get a little better at planning when to start the projects on my list… But overall, I’m really happy to have made this set – I can still wear the skirt well into autumn with different shirts and cardigans, and the top is hanging ready in my wardrobe for any warmer days ahead. Hooray for finally ticking off this project – now on to the next one!