Hello! I’m Ellie, aka @what_ellie_sews, and I’m thrilled to bring you my first blog post for Felicity Fabrics. I’m sharing my hacked button-down Ogden Cami summer dress, but before that, let’s have a look at the package itself.
A parcel from Felicity Fabrics really is a treat. Arriving in fully recyclable packaging, enclosed in layers of white tissue, underneath a handwritten note, sample card and matching thread, there lies your fabric.
The fabric I worked with for this dress was the Amie Embroidery Anglaise. Not your average anglaise, this one is made up of panels of varied anglaise styles rather than a singular repeat. The base fabric is a super-soft, lightweight 100% cotton with a lovely fluidity that you don’t always get with embroidered cotton. The perfect fabric for breezy summer garments!
On to the pattern. I used the True Bias Ogden Cami, which has been on my ‘to-sew’ list for a long time. To alter the pattern for this dress hack, I cropped the bodice to waist length, making sure to preserve the original curve of the hem. I also widened the straps by 0.5”, and widened the corresponding points of the bodice accordingly.
To create the placket, I added 2.5” at the centre fold – two inches for the placket folds, and 0.5” for the overlay (on my first toile I added 1” for the overlap on one side only and the buttoned placket sits slightly off-centre, doh!).
For the gathered skirt, I didn’t want too much volume, so only added 40% to the width of the bodice hem, but you could add anything up to 3x the width, depending on how voluminous you want your skirt. Alternately, just take your hip measurement and add a few inches for ease. For the length, I simply measured from waist to knee and accounted for seam allowances.
To divide the skirt measurement for a button-down skirt, take half of the total width for the back panel (remember to add seam allowances each side), and a quarter for each of the front panels (adding seam allowance to the side seam, and the 2.5” placket extension on the centre front).
I wanted the bottom ruffle to be more voluminous, so added 60% to the total width of the main skirt, and divided into front and back pieces using the same logic.
The final prep step is to add a 1” wide strip of lightweight interfacing, set 2” in, down the centre front of bodice and both skirt pieces to give the placket a little extra support.
Now on to the fun bit, construction! I finished most of the garment using french seams – a quality fabric deserves a quality finish after all.
I used a light cotton lawn to line the bodice and main skirt. As with the main bodice, I added a placket extension to both the bodice and skirt linings. But, to reduce the amount of bulk in the placket, I only extended out by 0.5” rather than the full 2.5”. This adds just enough length to catch the lining under the final placket fold for a neat finish.
After constructing the bodice and skirt linings, I tacked the main fabric and lining together at the respective hems, then left the placket open at this point – this will be stitched last, once all layers of the skirt have been attached.
To gather the skirt, I switched to a bright coloured thread to make it easier to keep track of all the threads, loosened the thread tension and set it to the longest stitch, before running two rows of stitches either side of the seam allowance, and evenly distributed the gathers.
At the centre front, I started gathering about 3” in to avoid too much bulk at the centre front once the placket was folded in. I stop gathering about 5/8” before the side seams for the same reason.
I attached the bottom ruffle in the same way, but left this piece unlined to really show off the embroidery.
Finishing the placket is nice and simple. Making sure the lining was sitting nice and straight, and aligned with the interfacing strip, I pressed the seam over by 1” twice, pinned and stitched in place from hem to bodice, continuing across the top of the placket and down the outer edge.
Now, I have a confession to make. This is a button-heavy dress. The thought of stitching eighteen button holes sends me cold, and the buttons are only for decoration as the dress can be slipped over the head. So… I skipped button holes. Don’t judge me! I stitched the buttons using my machine, set on a zigzag stitch with the foot removed and feed dogs down. I attached the first 14 buttons down the placket, then the last four on one side only to give the effect of being unbuttoned.
The last thing I did was stitch a matching narrow belt to bring in the waistline, and we’re done!
The fabric was a dream to work with and is a joy to wear. This dress is perfect for those hot summer days, dressed up or down. Hopefully we get a few more warm days so I can really make the most of it!
Thanks for reading! E x