Sarah's Belle Dress

Sarah's Belle Dress

I am of the opinion that there is nothing more fresh for Summer than some lovely broderie anglaise, and with an opera contract taking me to a beautiful French chateau this year, I knew that a broderie sundress was top of my list.

I normally lean towards prints rather than plan fabric, but I feel that broderie has a lovely texture due to the combination of embroidery and cut work, as well as often providing more coverage than lace. Jenny had several options available, and I settled on classic white.

Earlier in the year I made my first Style Arc pattern, the lovely Belle dress. The pattern has lots of lovely features, from attractive gathers, to a waist yoke, shirred back panel and button down skirt. It also has an option for shirring part way down the sleeve to create a gorgeous double puff.

There are definite pros and cons to Style Arc patterns. Belle is beautifully drafted. It can be so difficult to find patterns which fit larger bodies well, and I have made this dress both times with no adjustments for size at all, and the fit is lush! It also has so many lovely details and features, which make for a really special garment.

The downside of this pattern is that the instructions are minimal. I have enough experience of basic construction to be able to muddle through, but a year ago I would have had no idea how to get through some of these steps. It is definitely not a project for the beginner sewist!

My previous Belle was made from crinkle viscose. The shirring line for the sleeves is curved and I found it almost impossible to accurately mark this with the original fabric, and therefore was keen to have a go with something more stable. The broderie was the perfect choice - it is much more easy to work with, and gave me a more structured dress and sleeves whilst keeping a light, summery feel.

The broderie has tiny holes in it, which I saw no need to line. I would recommend wearing underwear to match your skin tone if you choose the white colourway, but otherwise I didn't personally feel the need to add further coverage.

The finishing touch for the dress was some gorgeous wooden buttons with leaves etched in to them. These really elevated the final garment and the added detail definitely made it look more expensive.

Overall I am thrilled with the final garment. I wore it to the aftershow party at the chateau and someone said that I looked like one of the muses from Hercules, which I take as the ultimate compliment! 

Jenny Says:

"Wow, such a dreamy summer dress Sarah! The perfect combination of cool, comfortable and a pretty style. It looks beautiful, as do your surroundings!"

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

Broderie Anglaise - White  Leaf Design Wooden Buttons

Sarah 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.

Photo Credit: Issy Bridgeman
Back to blog

1 comment

Love this dress. Looks great

Lynn Blindell

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.