Today we’re kicking off the Elsie Dress sewalong with one of our favourite things… fabric chat! In this post we’re talking all things fabric, lining and sewing supplies in preparation for making a start on our Elsie Dresses.
Let’s start with a list. To make the Elsie Dress you will need:
- Elsie Dress pattern
- fabric for your dress/skirt
- lining fabric for the bodice (dress version only)
- a 22″ invisible zip in a colour similar to your fabric (9” for the skirt version)
- high quality lightweight fusible interfacing
- matching thread
- a selection of sewing supplies: sewing machine, overlocker (optional), standard zip foot, invisible zip foot, fabric scissors or rotary cutter, paper scissors, snips, chalk/fabric marker, hand sewing needles, pins, tracing paper (optional), tape measure, stitch ripper and an iron
Choosing your fabric
Designed with parties in mind, Elsie makes the perfect canvas for special fabrics. Lisa’s blue and white floral version is made from a stretch cotton, and the beautiful green dress is a brocade with a stunning metallic finish.
Most medium-weight fabrics with a good amount of body will work for Elsie. Anything from stretch cotton (sateen), brocade and jacquard to cotton poplin, silk dupion, damask, taffeta and even lighter soft furnishing fabrics would be lovely. We suggest avoiding anything with too much drape as you need some body and structure to hold the pleats.
To accommodate the width of the skirt, your outer fabric needs to be at least 140cm wide.
For the lining you have a few options. For a summer dress keep it light and breathable with a cotton lawn, voile or rayon. These natural fibres will feel lovely against the skin and ensure that you stay cool in the heat. For a more wintery dress you could try a more traditional silky-feel lining, such as acetate, satin or even silk charmeuse for ultra-luxurious innards.
Check out our online shop for fabrics we’ve chosen specifically for the Elsie Dress pattern.
How much fabric will I need?
Check the size chart on the back of the pattern to work out how much fabric you’ll need. There is only 10cm difference in fabric requirements between a size 8 and a size 20, so if you’re not sure which size you fall into you it might be worth purchasing the extra 10cm. Remember your fabric needs to be 140cm wide, otherwise you might end up having to add some extra seams on skirt.
All sizes require 3.2m for the skirt version.
If you’re using fabric with a larger print you might like to buy extra so you can match the pattern at the seams.
Prepping your fabric
When you have chosen your fabric, it’s time for the all-important pre-wash. We say this every time we do a sewalong and must sound like a broken record by now, but we always recommend washing the uncut fabric length before using it. This is so that any shrinkage that naturally occurs when a fabric is washed for the first time will occur before your dress is sewn up. After putting so much love into sewing your dress the last thing you want to do is shrink it after the first wash. You need to prewash the fabric in the same way you intend to wash your finished dress, whether it be machine wash, hand wash or dry clean.
And that’s it for now! Have fun choosing your fabrics and we’ll see you in a couple of days when we’ll be walking you through measuring yourself and preparing your pattern.