This was a slightly unexpected make at the last minute, as for most of June I was team Orchid Midi dress the whole way. It’s not that I didn’t like the Quincy dress, but I felt I had made dresses recently that were kind of similar and I haven’t made anything like the Orchid before. However, a week or so ago, I came across the sleeveless version made by @goingtoneedstitches on Instagram and thought “Aha – that’s what I’m after”. I also really loved the look of the Quincy by @seams_sew, so in the end, I changed tack a few days before the end of month deadline and got into the Quincy with gusto.
In case you’re not familiar with Jennifer Lauren, she produces patterns with a definite vintage feel and the Quincy shirtdress is no exception. It has a lovely little V neckline, back yoke, large pockets and is shaped with bust darts and a drawstring at the waist. As you can see, I decided to put elastic in the waistband rather than a drawstring and I also omitted the sleeves as above. If you do make the sleeves, Jennifer usually makes the length slightly longer than normal (I loved this in her Ostara top) for a more vintage touch and these sleeves can be finished with either a hem or a notched cuff.
The first thing I want to say about this dress is the construction and instructions are beautifully designed and laid out. Really, this dress was such a pleasure to sew. The curve of the centre bodice pieces is beautiful and the facings give such a sharp finish to those curves. The yoke pieces are attached burrito style and then the neckline is enclosed, which was new to me. The little bit I found tricky to visualise was how the shoulders were then completely finished, but a quick search revealed that Jennifer had anticipated this with a short and very clear video that shows you exactly how to tackle that. Excellent! What you end up with is a dress that is as beautiful from the inside as it is from the outside and we all know how satisfying that is.
The Quincy is available in sizes 6 to 24, which corresponds to waist measurements of between 24″ and 42″ and hip measurements from 35″ to 53″. The other great thing about this pattern is that it comes in cup sizes A to D. I’ve tested for Jennifer before and found that the D cup fits me well, so I went for the 16D in sizing. I did need to lower the bust darts a little and ended up shifting the angle of the darts slightly instead of completely lowering them. In retrospect I probably should have lowered them a bit more, but they’re not too far off. Nevertheless, the JLH cup sizing really works for me, as you can see. I’m sometimes a little wary with pre-drafted cup sizes as they’re sometimes still too small or whatever, but these fit perfectly.
The fabric I used was this Lizzy House lawn in charcoal and grey. I have several of her lawns and love the printmaking quality of them. In terms of colour, this colourway is probably the one that suits my skin tone least, but I do love it, so thought I would use it in this wearable muslin of the Quincy. You can particularly see the similarity in the full-length shots where my lily white legs are on display. It’s also one of the reasons I decided to use these large wooden buttons as a contrast. They’re quite oversized, but I thought it might help balance out my peelywally skin tone a little.
Incidentally, not that I wish to highlight mistakes, but the one big error I did make with this dress was to sew the buttonholes vertically rather than horizontally. Luckily, I think the size of the buttons meant I got away with it – whew! – as anything smaller might have affected the crossover point of the bodice pieces. Ah well – if you don’t tell, I won’t! Also, even though they’re evenly spaced, the curve of my chest makes the buttons appear not so from some angles. A good lesson in perspective, which I might think about a little more another time. Ha.
As also mentioned above, I made a couple of small changes. I left the sleeves off and finished the edges with bias binding. I suspected I might have to trim the armholes a little, but didn’t for this version. Now I’ve finished them, I would take more off next time as I do like them cut in a little bit more (I think it suits me better), but they’re not terrible as is.
The other change was to add elastic instead of a drawstring and that couldn’t be easier. Simply omit the instructions to create the drawstring openings and then when you sew the channel in step 4 of that section, leave a gap to insert the elastic (usually a length equal to the circumference of your waist), sew the elastic ends together and sew up the gap you left when you’re happy with the fit. Bingo!
Overall, I’m more than glad I decided to sew the Quincy for Sew my Style. It’s such a pretty, clever little dress and I feel like it would suit most figures. I got a fit that I’m really happy with (even at my most bloated point of the month, if ya catch ma drift) and I do think it’s a flattering design. Jennifer’s instructions are always delightful and this was no exception. I feel like she gets overlooked a bit when it comes to indie pattern designers; I could be completely wrong, but it’s just an impression I get. I wonder if it’s because her patterns do have a sweet vintage vibe and the current mode is a little more boxy, streamlined and crisp. Not sure really, but I can tell you that her patterns are well thought-out if you do like this look and I genuinely always enjoy sewing them.
Wow – that’s the end of June already. Can you believe it? I should probably take stock of my 2019 challenges at some point soon. I know my sew my stash self-imposed challenge is going… not so well. I mean, I’m sewing plenty, but also, umm, buying a bit too. Ah well. This dress is made from a fabric that’s one of my #makenine goals, so I think I’m about on track there. But I’ll take a look. Bye for now!