Tea house or work house?

I mentioned last blog post there had been a few projects lately where the vision hadn't quite met reality. This is one of those.

Sew House 7 is a relatively new pattern company. Designer Peggy hasn't released many patterns, but the ones she has created are modern and a little bit different. 

I tried the Albert Street Pencil Skirt, I found I got a perfect fit with no alterations. Last year, she released the Tea House Dress, a long, A-line dress with kimono sleeves, generous pockets and interesting panel details.

Pretty soon, a lot of pretty tea house dresses began popping up over the internet and the pdf pattern was bought and filed away. 

It took a while to make up though, because this thing is over 50 pages to tape together, and the dress needs over four metres of fabric, this is not a quick or cheap sew. 

Unless a pattern is really simple or doesn't have the copy shop option I usually pay to have large format files printed, standing over the staff to make sure they select 'actual size' not 'fit to page' but my local Officeworks, never the most helpful, couldn't handle the US copy shop version because it's one long page, and their paper is A0.

I have since discovered from a sewing friend who knows all about printer tiling that they should have been able to figure it out, but they were all very 'computer says no' and gormless about the whole thing so eventually I just printed the 50+ A4 pages and assembled them all at home. It wasn't actually that bad.

The fabric here is a lovely cotton slub voile from Spotlight, quite narrow, I think I had to buy five metres in the end. It's got a lovely uneven texture, almost like linen but much lighter weight, it does crease like mad though. 

Just like the pattern in the shop...

I only realised after I bought that it's basically identical to the fabric in the sample image. It's a lovely grey-green-blue but I'm not at all sure it's a good colour on me. I have toyed with dyeing it but I have a mother who has a wardrobe stuffed with clothes she has given botched dye jobs too, and cannot bear to either fix or throw out.  

As far as sewing it up went, that was very straightforward and there were no tricky bits, so sleeves or closures so it all went very smoothly. The dress does run very long though, and I had to lop quite a bit off the hem. I'm still not sure if I should have taken more. 

I love the midi look generally, but I'm worried that with the style and the almost grey, slubby fabric the look could be less tea house and more work house. It certainly needs the waistband to be wrapped tight, almost too tight, to give it a bit of shape. 

The fit is good and the dress is comfortable but the one thing I would change if I made this again would be to alter the front panels to lower the waistline. On the pattern image online, the ties appear to hit at the natural waist but on me, they are slightly higher, nudging the empire line. It looks ok if pulled tight but that's not the most comfortable and it leaves me with a lot of fabric billowing out below. 

But maybe I over analyse the clothes that I make too much, fretting over small details that would never bother me in a ready-to-wear garment.

This dress is cool on a hot day, looks pretty good and was ideal for work, and surviving a summer train commute and when I first wore it I got several compliments, and really, what more do I need?


  1. It's sometimes hard to get a bit of perspective on our creations after we've been working on their fine details! I really like the dress but I guess it's how you feel. Sometimes I find if I let a garment sit in my wardrobe for a while I forget all the things that bugged me while I was making it and can make a more balanced decision.

    1. I think you're right - I did actually wear it again on the weekend and was pretty happy and comfortable. I really like the deep pockets.


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