“Cottage core” is a term that I was introduced to by my daughter when I started to point out these beautiful dresses reflective of an idyllic rural lifestyle which have recently become more popular since last year. I’ve read that it’s society’s reaction to recent global events, making a wholesome, clean lifestyle more attractive. The Grace Dress definitely falls into this category with its vintage vibes. It’s what you imagine wearing if you had a field to roam in carrying a basketful of wildflowers with a backlighting of sunshine (inspiration for my picture).
The Grace Dress is a collaboration between Taree from @marshastyle and Abby from @abby_sews. When they started promoting this, I immediately saved it and waited for the much-anticipated pattern release. I’ve sewn the View B of the dress which has a multi-tiered gathered skirt, buttoned shoulder straps and a casing for some waist-ties (very flattering). Oh! I also have to mention that it has generous pockets!
I made the size 8 with my measurements of 37 Bust, 33 Waist and 38 Hips. It has a great size range from 31:24:34.5 to 59:52:62.5 and after saying that I usually try to make a toile in my last blog post, I must confess that I just went straight into it without a toile with this sew because of the ease in finished garment. I’ve used this mustard yellow gingham fabric from Spotlight Stores. Gingham adds to that idyllic county aesthetic that I wanted with this dress.
To start the sew, I prepared the straps and put together the bodice. Pretty standard construction with darts for the bodice. I used a white muslin for the lining pieces. The Grace Dress Pattern has lovely instructions for French seams, but I decided to finish with an overlocker.
When you move onto the skirt, you’re putting in the pockets from the side seams. As mentioned above, I’ve decided to use an overlocker to finish my seams. To do this, I neaten my pocket pieces and neaten the skirt side seams on my overlocker. Then I attached the pocket pieces to the skirt pieces – make sure you keep the paired pocket pieces on the same side and be careful that you have the pocket markings at the same level for the front and back skirt pieces otherwise you’ll be frustrated by wonky pockets.
Skirt pieces are then gathered, and the longer bottom tier is attached to the top tier of the skirt. Now, how long is too long? This is a pattern made for 5’7 height which I did not modify. I really wanted a maxi dress and crave that swishy feel of a long skirt.
The most interesting part of the dress in View B is making this channel for waist ties. Skinny straps and ties are the bane of my sewing life. Yes, I have a loop turner. No, it doesn’t make it any easier. Yes, it still took me about an hour and a lot of swearing. Anyway, that doesn’t take away from this interesting little feature. This little feature sets it apart of from other tiered dresses as it cinches the fabric in at the right spot to make a very flattering silhouette. I chose to hand baste the lining before using the stich-in-the-ditch method to finish.
The final part was to sew the buttons in to finish the shoulder straps. In my initial try-on of the dress, I realised that I have slightly sloping shoulders which made the straps gap quite badly. After some thought, I decided to sew the straps on a slight angle which also ensures that there won’t be any wardrobe mishaps. I’ve still attached the button as I had already sewn the buttonholes.
Here are some close-ups of the beautiful Grace Dress!
Thanks for reading and happy sewing!