A Great Everyday for Every Day
Semper Fidelis—it is what it says it is, ever faithful.
Some fabrics do not stand out in photographs, but in the cloth they show their worth. I had a go with this one as it was on offer, and let’s be honest, making a dress for about £20 including a zip and cotton is worth a punt. I was more than impressed when it arrived, because blue holds sway over grey in it, making it a warm colour, and the fabric has a sturdiness to that says ‘no worries, I can take it’.
I washed it, and smiled, because one woosh of the iron over it and it was immaculate, and it came up as if it had never seen the washing machine at all. That bodes well for a dress you can wear and wash, and wash and wear.
I chose a pattern for a dress that actually ought to be in a lighter weight fabric (a Vogue one) but there is method in my madness. The pattern is retro 1950s (and really nice and simple) with a flaring skirt that in a soft fabric would not look very 50s without a suitable petticoat. Semper Fidelis has body enough to give that shaping on its own. Also I see this as a dress that you can wear to the office and look crisp, competent and feminine without looking ‘flouncy’. Yes women ought to be able to wear what they want (within reason for the situation—no bikinis on the Tube please), but like it or not, floaty and flouncy has some people thinking the wearer is somehow less able than the bloke in the suit. Why else was there power dressing in the past? We do not need shoulder pads to make us as good as broad shouldered men. This fabric is like a suiting, and has gravitas, but the dress is very feminine. We can have our cake and eat it, without putting on weight too.
It sews like a dream. As it says in the blurb, it will not move under the machine foot until you tell it. It is so obedient it could win a class at Crufts! I even broke my own rules and stitched some of the simple seams without tacking, naughty me. The two faces of fabric stayed as bound as if with velcro, seam long.
I lined it, which is not in the pattern. [Sitting pose photo showing lining?] You may choose to line just the skirt, because a show of the underskirt lifts the colouring and adds another softer touch. I used Fabworks’ Swiss Dot Blue and Grey although I think Dusty Sky Cubism or Polka Dot Poplin would be just as nice. I have accessorised it with a Hobbs broad belt in suede, but a silver metallic or black patent would look good. You can wear it with flats or heels, and how about adding a bright silk neckerchief in an homage to Audrey Hepburn?
Weight wise, this is no summer affair (and not suitable for a Roman Holiday) but good for spring/autumn, and indeed air conditioned workplaces. Add a shrug cardigan or light jacket if you wish.
Wearing everyday clothing should still be a pleasure. I feel very comfortable in this dress, and that will show. Sadly, as a model, I am closer to an Airfix 1.72 scale of the Bismarck in attractiveness than to Claudia Schiffer et al, but the better your figure, the better the dress will look. Whatever you choose to make, I think Semper Fidelis will do you proud.
NB. Elizabeth used the Dark Denim colourway of Semper Fidelis for this project. For an alternative look in the same style try the Semper Fidelis - Light Denim, also available at Fabworks Online