Crystal's Sofia Dress

Crystal's Sofia Dress

This is my first blog for Jenny since I had Theo who is now 4 months old. Between feeding and cradling and doting on him, I've been able to squeeze in some me time tucked away in my sewing room.

This time around, I chose the Sofia dress by Victory Patterns because of the shirred bodice which I wanted to tackle having shirred 2 garments in the past with mediocre success. I haven't used Victory patterns before so was glad to find that their instructions were well thought out, clear and concise. 

The Sofia dress is a floaty summer dress with a shirred bodice, a gathered skirt with pockets and 3 different sleeve variations. I went for the bell sleeves with the shoulder straps to cover my bra straps as I detest strapless bras. The pattern also comes with cap or elbow length sleeves and a bishop sleeve - all with shirred cuffs. The pattern can also be made into a crop top or a peplum top. 

I chose  an embroidered cotton with a blue tiled print to make this dress up.  It was easy to handle and press and was a lovely match for this pattern.
The pattern comes in sizes US 0-18. I went for the size 12 which is a bust of 38 inches and a waist of 30 inches. My waist is most definitely not 30 inches (I wish!) but as the bodice is shirred I decided to choose the size based on my bust measurements.


It was an easy and quick sew apart from the shirring. This was time consuming but very rewarding. Having seen a tutorial by the Stitch Sisters on you tube, I managed to tackle the shirring. I merely increased my stitch length to 4. I left all my other machine settings the same and more importantly I made sure that my bobbin (with the elastic thread) was securely hooked in the grooves of my bobbin case and needle plate. I also  kept my left hand fore finger behind the presser foot as I sewed and allowed the fabric to bunch up for a while before letting go and repeating.  The result is satisfying. I now want to shirr EVERYTHING!! 

Things that I did differently to the pattern? Well, I had to cut 6 inches off the skirt length as it's drafted for a height of 5"7 and I'm only 5"4 and it now sits perfectly below the knee for my liking.

The other thing I did was instead of drawing shirring lines on the fabric at 1/2 inch intervals, I used my presser foot as a guide and went with 3/8 inch intervals instead. Just beware that the first 2 rows of shirring will later encase 1/4 inch elastic for the front and the back bodice necklines. I struggled a bit feeding my elastic through but I'd rather that than having to draw out lines at the suggested 1/2 inch markers. 

The pattern also instructs you to sew 1 line of shirring at the skirt waist before attaching it to the bodice. I think this is a genius way of gathering the skirt without having to sew gathering stitches then  pulling the threads and spacing out the gathers. The elastic thread does it all in one go! 

I adore how this dress turned out. I wasn't quite sure how the thick shoulder straps would look but I'm very happy with the finished garment.  Breastfeeding in this dress however, isn't the most practical, as although very stretchy, the bodice doesn't comfortably pull down for nursing access.  One can't have everything in life it seems. 

I would love to make more of these dresses. My 16 year old has also requested one. A different variation would be nice. It doesn't give this option in the pattern but I'm sure I could add the other sleeve options to the shoulder strap too. I quite like the idea of the dress version with the bishop sleeves in a flowy floral viscose for a romantic look. I must add this to my never ending list of sewing projects now. 

Inspired to make your own version? Here's what you'll need:

Fabric : Broderie Anglaise - Portuguese Tiles

Also available in a beautiful Cherry Blossom print

Pattern : Victory Patterns Sofia Dress, available as a PDF direct from the designer and can be printed using the A0 pattern printing service.

[Disclosure: Crystal was provided with the materials for her project free of charge and received a gift voucher in recognition of the time spent on her project.]

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