Afternoon Tea Dress

More tea Vicar?!

Can you believe that the dress above started from a pattern that looked like this?

I wonder what on earth she was thinking about...

What a sultry look eh?

I found the material at a bargain price in a furnishing fabric store but thought it was pretty enough to make something wearable with.  It was more an experiment to learn a few new techniques for me as now that I´ve finished the dress, I realise that I don´t really have anywhere I could wear it!  I don´t think the chickens would appreciate it and I´m not sure it would go so well with my wellies.  The dogs probably wouldn´t take much notice of it either on our walks.  Hey ho, I´ll put it back in the wardrobe for now and wait for an invitation to a Vintage Style Garden tea party.

I had a good play around with the pattern.  I realised that the pleating in the bodice would do me no favours, so took the original one in.

Adjust, adjust...

Then I cut it out according to the adjustments I had made in my muslin.


I took time to finish the edges properly.

Zigging and zagging

Unbelievably a little local shop had some pretty satin bias binding which I used to cover the inner seams and finish the hems and edges with…I got a bit carried away as I liked it so much.

Pretty Pink Satin Binding

These were then hand finished. Love sewing by hand!

Tiny, invisible, hand stitching

Finally I decided to add some cap sleeves.

Pin the sleeves

I´m happy with how it turned out and may well use the muslin to make up another dress in a more “useable” fabric.

Big lesson learned for me – I have severely wonky shoulders! I had to adjust the bodice shoulders so many times to get the right fit.  I blame it on carrying heavy school bags loaded down with books in my youth…


69 thoughts on “Afternoon Tea Dress

  1. Hola Chica, me ha gustado mucho tu vestido. El post está genial, con todas las fotos… tienes mucho talento. Pero ese vestido no merece estar metido en un cajón, así que tendrás que lanzar alguna indirecta a Big Man para que te lleve a algún sitio “fancy” ,)

  2. Having just spent the entire summer stomping around the garden in a plaid cotton sundress and wellies, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with feeding chickens in your lovely dress…AFTER it’s so worn and faded from wearing out and about that it’s no longer acceptable for public viewing! 🙂

    It’s a beautiful creation!

    1. You make me laugh Greg and thanks for commenting on something which must be very dull for you…and I bet you have got wonky shoulders…we all seem to! (Especially if we carry laptops around).

    1. Aaah – thank you! It is rather cute isn´t it…will just have to make tea and cakes and have a tea party all of my own 🙂 And do get that sewing machine out, it´s fun to “create”.

  3. So, so pretty! You will just have to throw your own garden party! I’m so jealous of your dressmaking; I wish I could get back into it….and possibly viewing more of your sewing posts I just might!!

    1. Thank you – will have to bake scones and a victoria sandwich. Very English! The problem with sewing is that it takes time and space…if you have to pack stuff up all the time it´s a lot more difficult.

  4. Well done! I feel I must say, however, that even though you got me to can jam & ketchup, I will state, with a great deal of certainty, that I won’t be doing any dressmaking for quite some time to come — like never.

    1. Ah, I don´t know. Maybe we´ll soon be seeing a post where you´ve cooked something amazing and it´s all set out on an incredible tablecoth with matching napkins that you´ve made 🙂 …or maybe not!

  5. You’re so clever, I’ve never sewn anything in my life, not even a button! And I totally disagree with you about it not going with the wellies- it’s very 40’s/land girls/Glastonbury which is SO this season. I know what you mean though, I’m always overdressed if I ever go out here, but I don’t care and there’s a lovely 3 tier cake stand in Ikea that would be perfect for your afternoon tea dress!!

    1. I love that 40´s and 50´s look! Mind you, most of the Spaniards I know think I´m a little bid odd dress-wise (mainly because I don´t wear either an evening dress or a suit to the Fiesta 🙂 ) I have the 3 tier glass fruit stand which I use as a cake stand, but I think you mean the pretty one which I am lusting after…now I have the perfect excuse to buy it!

  6. That is a lovely little dress, wear it to the beach and with your wellies! maybe you need to have a late summer afternoon tea out under the trees! Your work is so precise and your stitches so even.. I love that you sew! c

    1. The vote seems to be to wear it with my wellies – think I may just have to do it for the sheer hell of it! Thanks for your lovely words…I really enjoy sewing, but at least with cooking I can eat the results, so I think that wins over as my favourite!

  7. I am really impressed! This is a lovely floral dress! You have to find an excuse to use it Chica!!!! Maybe a romantic dinner with Big Man or a romantic night out?? Great post!

    1. I think I´m going to have to sort out a romantic “date night” with Big Man! He was really impressed with the dress and helped me sort out the shoulder problems…bless him!

  8. I love the fact that you can actually make your own clothes…I can’t even sew on a botton! I am a true product of my generation…pretty useless at all things home orientated -apart from cooking of course 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by my blog! Am really glad you liked it, and hope you try it one day! Saludos

    1. And thanks to you too for visiting me! I didn´t used to be able to sew but am learning as I go along. Have made quite a few horrors that went back into the scrap bag in my time!

  9. It is beautiful, I think you will find a time or two you will be wearing this! I love it! All that work, you have such patience! I do sew and when I do I like everything just right and it takes me forever. I wish I could see a dress or something and be able to sit down and make a pattern, what a gift! You should give lessons in sewing, I’d be there! A romantic date night, a wonderful summer picnic, a brunch party out on your terrace so many times I can think you can wear this! I want one! ….RaeDi

    1. Some things I make “quick and dirty” but when I have special material or want to make something special I´ll take ages over it. The bit I hate most is cutting out the fabric…scary! Now I´ve started making muslins for things that “matter” 🙂

  10. WOW! That is SUCH A BEAUTIFUL dress! 🙂
    I wish you could make one for meee!!
    I really love that type of look… You’re such a talented sewer! I should come over and take a few lessons!! 😀

    1. Any time Fati….as long as you gave me a few cooking lessons! We might have to make the clothes a couple of sizes bigger though with all that “sampling” we´d be bound to do 🙂

  11. Oh what a beautiful dress! I think you should wear it when you and your hubby have sun downers – wellies *optional extras*. How special that you can sit outside and sew! I wish I had inherited my moms knack for sewing – she even make my wedding gown and all of my suits when I was working!
    Have a fantastic day.
    🙂 Mandy

    1. Sewing outside is a real pleasure in the summer as we have a nice big table in the shade! How wonderful tht your mum made your wedding gown…made it extra special I´m sure 🙂

  12. Hi Chica. I love this dress. Fabulous material. Wellies or kickers will definately go with it! Need a big basket as well to put cut flowers in.
    Regards Florence x

  13. I love your new dress – it’s so fresh and summery looking!! I would wear it to go shopping or to walk around the farmers market, or dress it up with some little heels! You’re very clever with your pattern adjustments – you are your own designer, such a useful skill. You really make me feel like sewing again 🙂

  14. You’re so incredibly resourceful!!! My dad and sister do the sewing in my family, and depending on them for the most part to sew any clothes that needed altering. Now that I’m so far away, I should probably start to learn a thing or two myself!! Perhaps through your blog. 😉

    1. I really picked it up again because I was so frustrated by what was available for the more …er… curvy woman in Andalucía! Larger sizes seemed to mean frumpy old lady outfits and I´m not ready to move into flowery house dresses quite yet! Most of what I have learned is along the way – you tube, video jug, books and of course, my mistakes 🙂

  15. Wow I’m so impressed, that dress is adorable! You did a great job. I am awful at sewing…guess I didn’t learn much from that one class I took back in middle school. 😉

  16. Excellent! Why not wash the muslin dress to make sure it is fully shrunk – then make sure it still fits, and DYE IT!

    LOL. Definitely a dress to wear with scones and angel cakes…

  17. How nice to have discovered your blog. Goodness, you are so talented: beautiful sewing and a charming dress! If it were me I would wear it with everything: sandals in the sunshine, high heels and a beaded necklace for dates, and definitely with wellies and a cardigan for those chickens. Check out Brora’s website for that English eccentric look. Above all, enjoy wearing it! 🙂

    1. I never used to but then spent ages refitting the more fitted things I made. I don´t do this for simple stuff … it would take so long and use up so much “muslin”! Thank you for your kind words and welcome home after your trip!

    1. Thank you and lovely to see you here! I really enjoyed making this dress and I think the binding really sets it off – I like hand sewing so it was fun to sew the back seams on it.

  18. Lovely! The hand sewing would not go well for me- the combinations of my hands and eyes….. oy. At the moment I am having a bad case of bobbin wars (as in, all my previously used metal bobbins no longer work and leave me bird nests, despite cleaning, oiling, etc etc- may actually to have my machine serviced for the first time in 15 + years) and probably going to put the current sun dresses project up until next spring. Although we’re still in the 90s, so maybe it’s not too late……

    One of these days, I’ll have a house with a craft room with space for a dressmaking mannequin. And find one for cheap. 😆

    1. Luckily bobbins are really cheap here (not sure why!) so I have a good supply as I had the same problem too. A friend of mine gave my machine a good overhaul earlier this year – it seized up completely. It is nice to have some space that I can leave everything out (and in a mess!). Am now thinking of winter projects…although we are still having warm weather, I know it will change soon.

  19. Absolutely beautiful.
    Love the fabric.
    Love the dainty binding.
    Love how you’ve made the style your own.
    And is that a Patrones pattern book I spy, you lucky thing?

    1. Thank you, thank you! And yes, it´s a Patrones magazine – I only discovered pattern magzines a few months ago and people seem to be very keen on this one. They have some nice stuff and last month did a special on bigger sizes (yay!).

      1. I have to admit to never having seen a copy other than on blogs as it’s very difficult to get hold of here. In truth Burda is also tricky, but I’ve managed to get this months copy quite by chance. I love Burda as the styling is so lovely, although they do insist on including some decidedly hinky crafts each month and periodically do rather strange folk costumes. But you can forgive them as the patterns are mostly quite lovely.

      2. You´re right – this month we had Oktoberfest type outfits. Fine I guess in Munich, but not for everyone! I try to buy Patrones when I can, didn´t realise it was hard to get outside of Spain. If I find any old ones with patterns still in them will have to send them to you!

  20. I’m absolutely in love with your dress! I’m sure anyone would appreciate it, including the chickens and the dogs. 🙂 Would be nice to see a picture of you wearing it. 😉

  21. Don’t be shy! We’re all friends here.

    I’d be delighted to receive any old Patrones and will of course reimburse you. You’re too kind.

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