Do you recognise this fabric? When the Colette Penny dress was released almost exactly two years ago, I, and a million other sewists, gasped in amazement at this glorious Lady McElroy print they used in the sample and it promptly sold out everywhere. I managed to grab a few yards from the Fabric Godmother and it has been sitting waiting patiently in my stash every since. As soon as I thought of it for the Gelato dress, I knew it was perfect and got to cutting. Funnily enough, I’ve seen it spring up in a couple of garments just this week on Instagram and Cashmerette appears to be selling it in a kit, so I didn’t know if it was reprinted or what, but boy, am I glad I used it for this garment – it’s a perfect display piece.
I’ve not been a massive shift dress wearer over the years, but there have been a couple of exceptions – and they’ve usually been because of the fabric. One of my go-to failsafe dresses for any party occasion is a silk shift from Whistles in glorious watercolours and that dress has served me very well over the (many) years! I can’t remember how much it was, but I do remember it was the most money I’d ever spent on a dress with my lowly graduate wages, so I was obviously smitten.
As you may recall from other posts, I’m part of Liesl’s Advisor’s Circle, which is only an occasional thing, but one thing we do get to do is make one or more of the new patterns when they come out. I already posted about the Breezy Blouse and had just started making my first version of the Gelato dress in this delicious (but hard to photograph) Tana Lawn, when Liesl announced she was releasing the Gelato and Rush Hour patterns in extended sizing.
I had already made my regular adjustments for most woven patterns on the first version, but was interested to see that the measurements for the smallest extended size (16) actually matched up very well to my own. Furthermore, some of the changes Liesl discussed on her blog in regards to the new block sounded a lot like changes I regularly make. I decided it would be interesting to make basically the same dress in both systems and see which one worked better.
I have written extensively about how this worked out over on the Oliver + S blog, so please check it out if you’re interested – I thought the findings were pretty cool! For this post though, I thought I’d mention just a few details about the pattern and construction itself as I didn’t really cover that in the other post.
The Gelato pattern actually has both the dress version and also a blouse version with a ruffled peplum. The blouse has sleeves as well as a button-placket back detail. The A-line dress includes short sleeves, double-welt angled front pockets and a centre-back seam, so you can add the placket here too if you desire. I actually planned to add it on the peach version initially, but ran out of time, so then wished I’d removed the centre back seam for continuation of the fabric pattern. In the end though, it turned out that I needed a slight swayback adjustment on that version, so I imagine a placket wouldn’t have lain flat anyway. So, overall, it was probably serendipitous that I ran out of time. Funny.
Bust-wise, lots of Liesl + Co. patterns have cups up to a D cup these days, but this one doesn’t, purely because of the number and size of pieces in the pattern. Liesl + Co. always include thorough details for doing a full bust adjustment if not, and I am fine with that. As an aside, one thing I really do like about Liesl Gibson is that she’s always very transparent about the realities of running a pattern business. People ask her “Oh, why does this pattern have extra cups and this doesn’t”, or similar, and she gives a very clear, business-related answer that makes sense. I appreciate it, as it gives me an insight into all the considerations of producing patterns that I just wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.
Anyway, this dress is a surprisingly fast sew. I say surprisingly, because it has welt pockets and set-in sleeves, which normally spells out a longer sew for me. But these two elements, plus the neck binding I suppose, are the main construction elements that take any time. The welt pockets were my favourite thing to do and they used a slightly different method than the ones I’ve done before, where you use the facing of the pocket bag, folded over to form the welts. It was a nice process and the instructions were impeccably clear, as always. I wouldn’t say mine were perfect, but I’m pretty happy with them!
The pockets are lovely and deep and oh, so neat. The neckline is finished off with binding and I also like the Liesl + Co. method for binding. It gives a neat finish, although I never topstitch from the right side at the end, I’m afraid. I’m not brave enough for that! I usually just edgestitch on the binding itself from the wrong side to finish and it works out okay. As you can see, I did serge my seam edges and I must admit French seams would probably have been nicer. However I was testing the fit primarily and so this was the most practical finish this time round. Next time I will up the ante!
Liesl + Co. patterns always feel to me like sophisticated versions of garments and I think this is true for the Gelato dress as well. Sometimes I think they’re too sophisticated for me if I’m completely honest (my lifestyle with a toddler is a little more rough and ready these days). But of course, so much depends on the fabric you use and every time I go ahead and make one of their patterns, I really love the end result.
The Everyday Skirt is a firm TNT (which I hacked all over the place) and I’ve worn the Hollywood Trousers a ton, just to name two. I should also mention that the Gelato dress is a brilliant layer piece and I’ve worn it with cardigans of all lengths to great success. So if you’re intrigued by this pattern, I encourage you to give it a go. Oh, and check out the gorgeous sample versions – that’s partly what sold it to me!
I’d better get off and pick up the kid from summer camp (last week – boo hoo). Talk to you soon! Here’s a nice outtake for you (and pretty much how I feel about having photos taken). x