Emma's Tilly and the Buttons Viscose Seren Dress

As soon as I saw this gorgeous viscose come in at Sew Me Sunshine, I knew I had to have to it! It is a stunning bright blue covered in white polka dots and beautiful sketched florals (it is also available in a yellow colourway). Although it is a lightweight viscose it has great opacity and I haven’t lined my dress but may wear a slip under the skirt just to be certain…!

I quickly knew what I wanted to make with this fabric and that was a Tilly and The Button tie front dress. I felt the fabric really lent itself to being a dress and particularly one with a 40’s vibe. Seren is a little more modern than this but I still felt it could work and so I got to work.

Now, Seren and I don’t have a great history! The first time I made her the bodice was too small and I had to order extra fabric from Harriet to completely remake the bodice! On that particular occasion I had followed Tilly’s tips around trying the bodice on for size at quite an early stage – it was very big so I adjusted it and the facings by around 1cm on both side seams. I then sewed the bodice and added the flounce at which point the bodice became way too small. Disaster!! So, I reordered more fabric from Harriet and made the bodice as per pattern in a size 2 (I’m a UK 8) Success! The dress fit me perfectly so I figured on this occasion I would make the dress as per pattern in a size two again but without the flounce as I was making the tie front version this time. Guess what – yep, too big and not a little bit too big, a whole lot too big!! The flounce clearly makes a fair bit of difference to the sizing!

I had completed the dress when I established it was too big, I naively sewed the whole dress in the comfort that the flounce version fitted me perfectly. So, a decision had to be made on how I was going to correct the fit. I was fortunate in that I had sewed the tie front version because the skirt section fit like a glove and needed no alteration at all so I could just focus on the bodice. I did not go to the lengths of unpicking the facings and amending the side seams which would’ve been the correct way to fix the issue I had. I instead moved my button placement – Significantly!!! This has made the fit perfect and I have managed to get away with it because the pieces are separate. If I’d made the dress version I would’ve definitely had to attack the side seams. If I made this version of Seren again, I would make the bodice in a size 1 and grade to a 2 at the waist – despite the fact that my bust measurement is 33” which suggests I should make a 2/3. I find this dress really tricky to fit which is strange as I’m usually a straight size 2 in Tilly patterns!

The fabric was perfect for this dress, it has a lovely drape and is beautifully feminine. I love all versions of Seren and just think it is a perfect summer dress. The fabric that I used made the sew slightly more challenging than if I was using a lawn say, and that’s simply because it was very slinky! I overcame this by using a walking foot on the machine and using wander clips to keep the fabric together when sewing. I cannot stress how important it is to follow the staystitching guidelines in this pattern (Seren) as the fabric does have a natural ability to stretch out of shape at no effort! The reason I enjoy sewing with viscose is for the final result, yes it’s tricky and you may swear a little…and maybe even have a little glass of wine…but the result is always worth it. The dress I’ve made is comfortable to wear, it’s soft, it flows as I walk around….and just look at the drape, it’s dreamy!!

Finally, the buttons! I bought these buttons from my lovely friend Lizzie – she has a great selection and I spent ages in her shop just looking at all the different options!! I settled on these pretty red flowers because I just thought they looked great and were innkeeping with the fabric.

So, there we go…there’s another Seren in my wardrobe. I’d like to say there’ll be many more but I need to toile the bodice to get the fit right on the different versions first. My chequered history with Seren continues but we always get there!!! I absolutely love the pattern and I’m determined to win on the fit front!!

Just whilst I’m here, I think this fabric would really lend itself to Rosie – Sew Over It. It was a last minute thought of mine and I didn’t have quite enough of the fabric but I think that the dress would look stunning made up in this fabric or maybe even in the yellow colourway.

Happy Sewing Folks!!

You can follow my sewing journey on my instagram @thezipperfoot

I was provided this fabric free of charge in exchange I wrote this blog post. I chose the fabric, and chose what pattern to use. 

1 comment

  • Ooooh this is the fabric/pattern/model/seamstress/result of dreams!! And you are so clever and persistent Emma! So impressed!


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