Sunday, 3 October 2010

Village frock - part 2

the village smock, again
I don't plan to return to this dress every day forever after, but I realised my last post was more about the process of writing than the process of sewing.  I love this little smock, and plan to make many more versions over the next few years, but I might approach the pattern a bit differently next time... there was a lot of trial and error involved in this version, and I want to share some of it, to maybe save someone out there from some frustrating hours with a seam ripper.

The pattern suggests sewing the side seams and underarm seams quite early and then forming the button placket afterwards. I left the side seams open until the neckline and placket were all done, and found it much easier to work with the smock that way as I could open it out flat when I was doing the fiddly binding bit on the placket. I'll do that again.

On the subject of the button placket... I was a bit scared of it at first, and tried to miss it out altogether.  The pattern suggests an elastic-neck version without the buttons, and I liked the sound of that (I must have been feeling a bit lazy at the time). So, I made a neck binding to fit the ungathered top edge of the yoke, and tried to thread elastic through it.  Disaster!  By the time it was gathered up it was so bulky that poor elastic could barely hold it and kept trying to ping away from the safety pins, and the fabric was all bunched and puckered. Altogether, a very bad look. I had to unpick it all, and by then I'd lost my nerve for off-pattern sewing and followed the instructions for a while... the button placket was fine, came together beautifully, and is my favourite art of the whole smock now.

the successful placket
I only made one change to the placket, and I'll do the same next time. The patterns suggests sewing the button loops on at the end, but I wanted to cover the raw edges, so I tacked the loops onto the wrong side of the fabric before attaching the bias binding, so the raw edges were covered by the binding. Then I doubled the loops over, and topstitched over the edge of the binding to hold them in place...

These loops are made of ribbon - after my neckline debacle I was afraid that sewing the loops from the corduroy and then doubling them over would make them too bulky.

Just one other thing - because I finished the sleeves without gathering them, I had to cut the sleeve bindings a bit longer then the pattern suggests. I could have gathered the sleeves, but I liked the hippy look for this version.  Maybe for a sweet summer dress in a light weight fabric the sleeves would look better gathered?

Hope this is helpful! I'll be looking back at this next time I make the pattern, just as a reminder...


  1. thanks for the tips! I'm going for it soon! Yours turned out so beautiful.

  2. Glad it helped! thanks for looking,

  3. Maria Jose - would love to see your dress when it is finished! Would you put it on Flickr?

  4. I will bookmark this post Spoony!

  5. Hi! You can see my version of the village frock here:

    and I'll soon be posting a summer version in hot pink linen.

    Sorry for the delay in the answer. I had no idea you had left a comment for me.

    Maria Jose (I've changed my name in my profile to Maria, which is what everybody calls me)