First Make Of 2016 – Frances Dress

Back in December, Camilla sent me a lovely little parcel for my birthday.  It contained the Green Bee Frances dress pattern and some gorgeous Denyse Schmidt fabric.  Due to having visitors over Christmas, I hardly got any sewing done at all so once my parents had gone home, I was itching to get something made up – I knew this would be the pattern to make up first!


Shirt dresses are one of my favorite styles to wear, especially when a belt can bring in the waist a little more!  I only think I’ve got one RTW shirt dress in my wardrobe currently as I find that the RTW ones don’t fit right across my bust and always lead to gaping.  I was really excited to see whether I could make my own and avoid any exposed boobs!   The pattern comes with two sleeve options, a breast pocket, a belt and an option for an elastic ruched waist.


I chose to make view A but wanted to omit the breast pocket and elastic.  The exciting part about this pattern is that I can use those 1 yard cuts for the parts in contrasting fabric!  Woohoo!  My measurements at 38-30-41 put me right between the medium and large.  Due to the fact that I didn’t want the bust to burst, I cut out the large and made a mental note of trying the fit before I sewed the side seams up!  I ended up sewing the side seams at 1″ rather than 1/2″.

My absolute favourite part of making this dress was putting the plackets together! I chose some leftover turquoise arrow fabric that I previously used for the lining of a Bonnell dress.  I was super tempted to go to the fabric store to buy some plain cotton BUT I didn’t want to fail on my ‘not-buying fabric’ goal.


The dress was pretty easy to put together, even though I originally thought it would be little complicated.  Instructions were given to attach the sleeve to the body of the dress before sewing the arm and side seam as one continuous line – another method I’d not done before!  The only thing was that my sleeve shoulder edge was around an inch longer than the edge I was sewing it too.  I ended up adding a small pleat on the shoulder to tackle this but it wasn’t mentioned anywhere in the instructions!  :-/

I was going to go with white buttons but then found these beauties in my stash…I do love a good button!   I do need tips on how to avoid all those straggled ends from the button holes though!



I did make a mistake when cutting the fabric for the belt and didn’t realise until I was stitching it together!  It should be all one colour, and I thought I was doing it ‘reversible’ – obviously I had got it wrong.  This belt did help me decide on which fabric looks better as a belt though – what do you think? Floral or Turquoise?




Anyway, I LOVE THIS DRESS!  I just don’t have any ‘wearing it’ photos yet!  Very happy with my first make of 2016 😀

28 thoughts on “First Make Of 2016 – Frances Dress

  1. It’s gorgeous! Love the fabric combinations you’ve gone for. No need to buy extra fabric when you have the perfect colour in your stash!

  2. Those fabric are great together. Nice work. I love a good shirt dress too. I want to make one up in a tunic style very soon. I love the buttons too. Have your tried a drop or two of fray check on the button holes. I don’t know but, it may keep the stray threads under control.

  3. Love the colour combo, the dress is really cute – I’ve not heard of it before, I’ll be checking that out!
    I sew all my sleeves like how you said. The trick is to have the sleeve at the bottom when sewing. Pin the start, finish, 2 notches and shoulder seam. As you see put your left hand between the 2 fabric, spread your fingers and pull the bottom layer (sleeve) as you sew. The feed dogs run the bottom fabric through slightly quicker than the top fabric which eases the extra fullness of the sleeves. This probably makes no sense!!! But hope it does. I learnt it from a Craftsy class – Janet preys jacket express. Worth a look when it’s in the sale! 😀

    1. Oooooh! I’m trying this next time I need to tackle sleeves! I don’t mind adding a little pleat but I think it can make the shoulders look quite boxy – your method sounds like it would make the sleeve look much better 🙂

  4. It looks great, those fabrics work so well together! You are ahead of me this year, I am trying to slim down a little before making any new clothes, so I am sticking to soft furnishings!

    I hadn’t considered the shirt dresses, but yours is inspirational! , If you want a nicer finish on your button holes you could try hand stitching them with some pretty embroidery thread. I used to avoid hand stitching at all costs but I find it strangely therapeutic!

  5. Congratulations on your first make! A good feeling I’m sure! I adore that placket fabric, I bet you’re glad you didn’t break your fabric ban and buy plain cotton because the arrows are just perfect 🙂 And those buttons are adorable!

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