Antwerpen dress

I got the fabric for this dress in Antwerp way back in 2014 (!) in a shop that I can’t remember the name of and that I probably wouldn’t be able to find again. I had a voucher to spend which was my prize for taking part (and coming last) in the Belgian/Dutch online sewing competition ‘Sew it up‘ that Hanne and Caroline used to organise. So, wow, it has taken me four years to make something with this fabric! It is a soft drapey viscose that was way easier to work with than I anticipated and I’m glad I kept it for so long until the idea for this dress was born.

The pattern was the result of a day of pattern drafting experimentation! My favourite part is the cut-out back, although I think I’ll be wearing this with a top under it and tights from here on in as the wintery weather has just arrived in Belgium.

Here is a photo of the bodice pattern piece in case this is useful to anyone interested in drafting a similar pattern. Be careful with this type of ‘French dart’ as you can end up with a ‘pointy boob’ situation if the end of the dart is too close to the apex of the bust, so it can be worth shortening the dart a smidgen more than you would if it was in another position. As this fabric is really busy it is pretty forgiving but in a different fabric the darts might look slightly off. Not that anyone should be paying that close attention to the dart positions on your clothes (unless they are a fellow sewing aficionado).


The skirt is a slightly modified version of the skirt I used for this dress. For the sleeves I followed the ‘very flared sleeve’ method from Winifred Aldrich’s classic ‘Metric Pattern Cutting for Women’s Wear‘ book.


For the back, I cut two pieces that look like this:



I wore this dress to my dear friend Anna’s wedding on the Isle of Mull recently and as always seems to be the case when I make something for a particular event, somehow I end up hemming it at 1 in the morning the day before I need to get a train or a plane…all part of the fun! (You can read more about Anna’s wedding in my last post as I also made her wedding skirt!)

These pictures were taken a few weeks ago just before all the leaves on this tree started to fall!


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