all my own work by ann

Sewing and textiles with Ann

Indigo by Tilly and the Buttons

I’ve made two Indigos now. It takes me back to sewing in the 1970’s. I don’t think I’ve sewn gathers since then! (Not true. I have of course, made at least one gathered Geranium….)

I bought the pattern during #SewBrum 19, during the time spent perusing in Guthrie Ghani. 

It’s quite easy to make, but surprisingly for a pattern with some ease, it has some fitting challenges. I had read that the sleeves are quite wide, so I took a wrist measurement from an existing garment and cut narrower sleeves in the first version. They fit quite nicely, but it takes some effort to take off the garment.

Based on the fabric guidelines, I ended up buying 75cm too much fabric. That’s quite a lot. The fabric is supposedly Liberty but bought on Birmingham outdoor market at a much lower price; hence, I assume its not Liberty.

In terms of length, I cant make up my mind whether this is a top or dress. The first version, which was always intended as a top / tunic, came out quite long; sort of half way in between, and therefore neither! I shortened it be 5 cm, but its still quite long. Whilst it fits fine round the bust, the lower section is quite voluminous. But its very wearable with a straight skirt, ala Maker’s Atelier.

So second time round I made a dress. The fabric of the dress is very precious, having been bought at the dyeing works in Gujarat, India. And therefore irreplaceable. Indigo is a good pattern for this fabric though, as the uniqueness is in the flaws in the hand-block printed fabric, so I needed expanses of fabric to show off the effects.


The first challenge was in cutting the dress from 110cm wide fabric, of which I had 3m, and wasn’t going to be able to get any more! Obviously I had pinned it all out and checked before cutting anything.

Then I hung it on my dressmaker’s dummy and noticed immediately that the fabric was quite see-through. Oh dear. IMG_1254

At least parts of the dress would need to be lined. There was some discussion in Fancy Silk Store, my go- to store for lining, about the best colour, but I’m pleased I stuck with my choice of a dark blue. The bodice and skirt are inter-lined, but not the flounced sleeves, which are cut as per the original pattern. I joined the fabric and lining at the same time as finishing the edges on the over-locker.

At the moment the fabric and lining are hemmed ‘as one’, after much hanging of the fabrics. I stitched the hem by hand. Something I haven’t done for ages. I thought that hand-stitching would facilitate the hang of the fabric better, and would also be easier to undo if I concluded that the hang needed some adjustment. It might!

I need to be careful not to spill anything nasty, or maybe just ‘anything’, down this dress, as washing is going to be a challenge. Obviously I have already washed the fabric, and not unexpectedly, it runs A LOT. In fact, it may leach into the ricrac, but hopefully that would just add to the effect. The ricrac is a slightly odd colour; a sort of light khaki, but its a great match for the fabric and shows off the dress design nicely.

Since photographing the original, I have added an orange ribbon trim between the bodice and skirt in a similar way.

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