Sewing the Perfect Work Dress: Tilly and the Buttons Stevie Dress

I’ve now been back at work for five whole months, and whilst there are many positives to being back, one thing that I’ve not loved so much is my work wardrobe. I’ve got a rail full of clothes, but there is little that brings me true joy. Add into the mix a super hot summer, and I have been struggling with what to wear. I’m definitely a dress for cold weather kind of girl; warm jumpers and thick socks are my friends.

My heart almost burst with happiness when I saw the Stevie dress launch, it was the answer to all my summer work-wear woes. Good neckline (I don’t do low cut), decent length (I’m tall), and not too tight around the middle (post-baby tummy). On paper, it truly is my dream dress. Needless to say, I ordered it straight away!

Then came the tough decision, what fabric to choose? I always favour a stripe, but I wanted something a little bit different this time. I spent many, many commutes hunting for the perfect fabric, and came across a gorgeous striped chambray from The Fabric Godmother. How was this any different to all my other dresses? Well, some cute embroidered flamingos gave it a certain edge.

My first Stevie didn’t get off to the best start, as I got the iron out after H’s bedtime one evening eager to get my fabric cut, it died on me. A lot of swearing happened, followed by a huge sulk. Weekends are my time to sew, and I knew this meant that I would have to wait another week.

The iron was replaced just in time for the Bank Holiday weekend, and after eagerly cutting out my fabric one evening, I set aside an afternoon (well the two hours that H would hopefully nap) to construct my dress. Two hours never feels like a long time to make a garment, but I was able to get quite a lot of the dress made in one naptime. I then managed to do the finishing touches in a spare half hour later that day.


So, what’s the verdict? Was the dress everything I dreamed of? Admittedly, I was worried about the fit on this one, and I probably could have done with making a size bigger. I ended up stitching the side seams with a smaller seam allowance, which meant I just about got away with it! On some people, this is a baggy-fit dress, but my pesky Mum-tum means that this isn’t quite the case on me. Despite that, it definitely skims rather than clings. I debuted my dress at the Love for the Mama styling event I went to, and I did feel pretty confident.


If you’re thinking about making a Stevie dress, I don’t have many tips for this one, as it really is so easy to make. I did mess up the facing slightly when I topstitched the facing to the bodice, following the line of the dress rather than the facing. The thin stripes on my fabric hid my mistake quite well, although I’ll be sure not to do it again! Don’t worry about the ‘extras’ such as the cuff sleeves and tie back, adding lots of making time. I did both of these and I don’t honestly think they were much more time-consuming, although they did give the dress a little edge.

Although summer may be over, I’ll be wearing my Stevie all through the winter with leggings and a thick cardigan. It really is a versatile dress. I’m hoping to make a couple more in more autumnal colours to add to my work wardrobe.


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