Linen dresses part I

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OK I know I announced a lot of posts, or at least weekly ones, but of course life/work got in the way. I’m currently enjoying freezing in the streets of NYC for a quick 5 days and then I will be off to Guatemala. I made this dress before the end of 2013, and it is sort of an experiment than could be entitled “what happens when you let your boyfriend design your dress?”.

First of all, I have to say that he is very interested in women dressing. Like we shop together, for real. He does not wait around the entrance looking like he’s trying to escape. He selects clothes on the rack, wait around the dressing rooms, gives his opinion about fit and quality of material, etc. I’ve never been so much of a group shopper but for some reason it works well and generally if I follow his advice I get a lot of compliments by strangers later… So ok I give in, a guy may have better taste than me to dress me… After doing a closet clean-out due to some weight loss and style evolutions, I talked him into defining a dress he would like to see me in.

Overall no big surprises : it’s short, it’s fitted and in a solid color… Men… He also made the specific requirement that it should be linen (and navy). Which is good because it’s the only natural fiber readily available in Haiti (at high cost though).

For the pattern I used the made to measure lekala 5166 that I used for my little 90’s dress. I altered the pattern to make a sleeveless dress (bring the underarm seam up and in), removed the back seam and its shaping so it’s a bit more loose in the waist, raise the neck line and create a placket opening, and finally lengthen it  a little. I’m sticking to my strategy of working based on Lekala patterns, and it has been very rewarding so far!

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Construction was fairly simple, I finished the seams with french seams and the front placket unbuttons down to the waist so no need for other closures. I fused the placket pieces and the opening on the dress. Unfortunately I only had white interfacing but it’s on the inside so it does not bother me too much. Since I made that dress well over 3 months ago, it got a lot of wear already. Comfortable + flattering + easy to wash = heavy rotation!!

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Overall the experiment was a total success so we tried a second time. I already have the pictures of that second (linen… again…) dress and should be able to post it soon! What about you ? Have you ever let someone else decide on all the aspects of a garment you were going to sew for yourself? Is your partner a good source of advice for clothing or does he run away when you say you are looking for constructive criticism ?

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  1. that is a great summer dress, linen is a classic. I like Lekala patterns and need to try another one.

  2. I have yet yo let my husband design a dress for me. But I believe I will! I love your dress that your man designed. Cute! My husband does not run away…he truly gives his honest opinions (suggestions).

  3. I love this dress! He has wonderful taste! Really talented guy! and you of course for making it and be willing to listen. You guys could be a designer duo like Dolce e Gabbana! I think it’s awesome 1) That you both have something fun you can do together 2) That your breaking stereotypes . Congrats!

  4. Props to your boyfriend, this dress looks AMAZING on you! It’s gorgeous! Well done both of you.

  5. Love this dress.


  6. Hi congratulations, you did a really nice job. Simple shape but it fits perfectly on you …and I completly agree : linen is a great fabric, compulsory for summer !

  7. Cute dress! The color and fabric are perfect for the style, and it looks cool and comfortable. Or at least as much as can be when the heat is sweltering. ;-)

    When I was growing up (even as a teen!) my dad picked out most of my clothes. He always had amazing taste in choosing outfits so I take it as high praise whenever he compliments a me-made. He could also curl and style girl’s hair fairly well too, but that’s a story for a different day. ;-)

  8. So simple but so beautiful. All the time I am leaning towards making simpler things in plainer fabrics. You have great hand-made style!

    • Thank you!! I love your blog and your style! I got very depressed when I cleaned my closet recently and I had to take out a lot of me-made because really I was not wearing them. So I’m trying to focus on more wearable things now!

  9. Beautiful dress! My husband likes more form fitting clothes on me than I tend to go for.

  10. Oh it’s lovely indeed! Ha my beloved never chooses my clothes but he seems to like most of them (even some crazy gold pants I just made, thought they’d be man repellers!)

  11. My husband shops for fabric with me, and always encourages mt o buy more. I need very little encouragement. If he falls in love with a color or print, and I like it and the fiber content then i will buy it. He will critique fit, and tell the truth about a garment. He takes photos for me too.
    No he won’t design a dress completely.

  12. Hi, It was compulsory for The Sewing Man to add a comment on The Sewing French Girl’s Blog ! Congratulations, very nice job. The dress is simple but fits perfectly, just like you I’m in love with linen, it’s a so pleasant fabric to wear in summer !


  1. […] the pictures, I hope you will get a closer idea in the dressform shots and the inside-outs. As for my previous linen number, I used my now TNT sheath dress pattern Lekala 5166. This time I kept the center back shaping. I […]

  2. […] nice bonus about this project is that it felt “free”. You may or may not recognize the navy linen I used for this dress, the pattern came from my existing burda collection (justifying to move twice overseas with […]

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