Mary Ellen's Gerda Dress

Mary Ellen's Gerda Dress

I’ve been rediscovering my style lately, both revisiting old favourite patterns from my pre-maternity days and buying up patterns I’ve wanted to try for quite a while but knew they wouldn’t have a practical place in my wardrobe. With Henry approaching his first birthday and my having been back to work for a couple of months, my breastfeeding journey is coming to an end, so I don’t have to prioritise nursing friendly clothes anymore – saying that; the pattern I have chosen for this blog is pumping friendly, so I’ve been able to get about my workday and take meetings without anyone being any the wiser…

I discovered Schultz Apparel two years ago when I was at the height of building a vintage inspired me-made wardrobe; Amalie’s designs really appeal to my love of vintage inspired styles and silhouettes. They have a timeless elegance which, depending on the fabric option you choose, could be as modern or as ‘period’ styled at you like.

The Gerda dress is a vintage inspired pattern with a really beautiful feature collar and statement sleeves (leg of mutton sleeves in two lengths, one elbow length and the other full length). The pattern is semi-fitted, and the bodice is fitted with an invisible zipper, although – it is worth noting – you may not need the zipper; it would be worth checking this out when you make the toile because it speeds up the sewing process a lot to be able to omit the zip. The dress also comes with two skirt options; one is a vintage inspired knee length gathered skirt and the other is a tiered skirt. I’m not all that into tiered dresses, so I opted for the gathered skirt – a nice feature of which being that the skirt is not gathered around the stomach area so there is no bulk. Because the fabric is quite lightweight, I opted for the longer sleeves to make it a bit more appropriate for the cooler months, but this is a perfect transitional fabric which will stay in rotation throughout the seasons; it feels so beautifully soft and luxe.

In terms of sewing up this project, it is a straightforward make. This pattern would be a good choice for a beginner; as I said, I’m even able to omit the zip. The collar construction was also effortless so, if you’ve never made a collared dress before, this is a great starting point. Depending on the fabric you choose for this dress, it can be as playful or as professional as you want it to be – it has a bit of a suit vibe when made in structured fabrics; in this check fabric with its mix of pink, purple, orange and gold lurex, it is suitable for pretty much anything.

I made minimal adjustments to this pattern; I did have to do a full bust adjustment on the bodice (which creates a waist dart but does not detract from the look of the dress). The pattern is graded for a B cup and I’m a dressmaking D cup. Other than this, the only other adjustments I made was to take the shoulder seam in by half an inch and took three quarters of an inch off the length of the sleeves as I found them too long for me – for reference, I am five foot one). In terms of size range, I made a 16 graded to an 18 (my pre-pregnancy size); however, I’ll need to make a straight 16 next time as there is a little more ease in the pattern than my personal preference requires.

I will get so much wear out of this dress – it definitely feels distinctively me in style and colour.

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

 Pattern: Shultz Apparel Gerda Dress, printed using my A0 pattern printing service


Fabric : Cotton Lurex Check - Mary-Ellen has used the pink colour, which is sadly now all sold out (popular choice, hey!) however there is still plenty of the lovely bottle green shade in stock at the time of writing.

Disclosure: Mary-Ellen 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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