This is the sort of dress you need as a staple in your wardrobe. Or at least I do! It’s the new Belgravia knit dress from Liesl + Co. and it’s the perfect versatile knit dress. The original dress has a more fitted skirt silhouette with a lovely front vent, but I knew I would get more wear out of a voluminous skirt, so I made some simple alterations to achieve that.
I cut the size 14 at the shoulders and graded out to 18 at the waist and hips, which works for me in the Liesl + Co. standard sizing. There is plenty of stretch in this fabric, so it fits over my bust comfortably. It’s worth noting though, that the Belgravia is also available in extended sizing 16-30 as well as regular, so it might be worth checking out the measurements on both ranges. I probably would have made the extended size 16, but only the regular sizing was available when Liesl sent the Advisor’s Circle copies of the patterns.
In order to add some flare to the skirt, I simply measured the hem of a skirt that had roughly the volume I was after. I only had 2 yards total of this fabric, so I couldn’t go too crazy. The hem I measured was about 40″ in total on one half of the dress. Since you’re working on a pattern piece that is a quarter of the total circumference, I divided by two to get a rough dimension of 20″ for the new width. I removed the front vent and top extension from the front skirt piece (above).
Then I drew in the seam allowance at the waist of the pattern piece and cut four long lines up to that seam allowance line at regular intervals. I cut little hinges on the other side, up to but not through the seam allowance line and swung the pieces open until I got a hem measurement of 20″. With a skirt like this you don’t have to be too exact and I found the pattern piece sat quite nicely at around 20.5″, so that’s what I used. Then I traced over the copy and added the little extension back to the front skirt piece, smoothing any seam lines. It only took about 5 mins or so.
You could also add width to the side seams – particularly if you want a slimmer silhouette. Liesl posted a blog post on the Oliver + S blog to show you exactly how to do that, with her finished dress. Turns out we had the same idea!
The Belgravia has lots of interesting seamlines. In the regular version there’s a centre seam because of the front vent, a matching back seam and also a waist seam. The centre seam also makes sewing and finishing the V-neckline a doddle, which pleases me greatly. It also makes it really simple for modifying the pattern and for colour-blocking, but for a simple alteration like this, you could remove those seams altogether if you liked.
This is the line drawing for the Belgravia dress, where you can see the original hemline. The pattern also features a simple set-in sleeve in two lengths (I did the little cap sleeve), a very easy-to-sew V-neck, and two lengths of tie, of which I used the longer. I like the feel of something substantial wrapped around my waist!
As with most knit dresses, this garment is fast to put together. I found the waist tie piece a little fiddly to sew, but that was mostly to do with my very slippery double-brushed poly. This is a piece of fabric I’ve had for quite some time and I bought it before I knew much about fabric. These days I try to stick to natural fibres from the environmental point of view, but I thought this last piece in my stash would be perfect for this dress. DBP is brushed on both sides, meaning it’s as soft as a baby’s bum (hence its popularity), but it’s a slippery bugger to sew with. You can serge it well, but if you use a machine for some parts (you pretty much have to on this pattern because of the pattern piece shapes), it’s a little tricky.
Which brings me to another great point about this style. That lovely long tie in the middle hides all manner of little imperfections where the seamlines join. Did I make any sewing blunders? Ha! Not telling!
Okay, maybe a few little ones. But they’re nicely hidden and it doesn’t really matter. I just made a wee mistake when I was cutting.
As well as hiding sewing slip-ups, the tie also emphasises the waist very nicely. I find it flattering and I think it would suit anyone. If you’re into this style. Liesl + Co. is holding a competition right now to win patterns if you sew up one of the new styles – this, the Montauk trousers or the Kensington skirt – so now’s as good a time as any to give it a go if you like it!
Note: As a member of Liesl’s Advisor’s Circle, I received the spring patterns for free. There is no obligation to make any of the patterns, but I wanted to try the Belgravia knit dress. All opinions are my own.