Nina Lee’s Bakerloo Dress using Bethany Salt’s ‘Enchanted Wings’ Fabric
Project by Maz Jacobs
Fabric: Enchanted Wings by Bethany Salt
What You Will Need:
Dress Fabric - This will largely depend on the size you are making. I made a size 12 and needed 3.8m of the main fabric for the shorter sleeved dress version. I also chose to make a contrast collar frill in a coordinating fabric.
Thread – I’ve used all purpose polyester thread
Button – 1cm diameter (I used a 17mm button with no problem)
Interfacing – 50x60cm lightweight
Bias Binding – 0.6m of 1cm (1/2”) wide bias (although I made my own with the fabric)
Elastic - 0.8m of 1cm (½”) wide elastic
I’m a huge fan of a big, poufy sleeve, but how can you resist a big, frilly collar to pair with it. I’ve used two fabrics from Bethany Salt’s Enchanted Wings collection to make a real feature of the statement collar in this pattern. I was originally planning the dress with another fabric but when this was suggested to me, it was just too perfect. My daughter’s current ambition in life is to become a bug explorer and sing in the Eurovision Song Contest, so using this fabric was an opportunity to be seen as ‘cool’ in her eyes, and I’m fully aware she’s not going to feel like that about me for very long! I think the only way I could have earned any more ‘cool mum’ points would be to have affixed rhinestones all over it, but I’m quite happy to settle for the way it is!
The Enchanted Wings fabric is so much prettier in person, as the blue beetles stand out beautifully against the darker floral background. I wanted to mimic this contrast in the collar, so I chose a blue fabric from the same range that picked out one of the blues of the beetles. By using craft cottons with a collection like this, all the hard work of matching the colours perfectly is done for you. I’m so happy with the choice of fabric as the colours and floral print make it feel quite sophisticated with the fun twist of blue bugs crawling over it when you look more closely. I think the dress is very wearable due to the mix of darker colours and bright pops of blue. It feels like the perfect fabric for changing seasons but will also be great into the colder weather teamed with tights and some layers.
For this dress I chose to make a size 12. I did a quick toile of the bodice to check the fit after doing my usual full bust and narrow shoulder adjustments. Sizing-wise everything was as I’d expect and true to the measurements for my size on the packet.
After washing and ironing the fabric I was ready and eager to cut it out. This dress has a few extra pieces as that collar takes a little bit of extra work, but wow is it worth it! The instructions contain clear cutting layouts and information about how to sew it as well as clear step by step instructions with line drawn pictures. With this being an indie pattern, the instructions are quite detailed and straightforward.
The only closure for this pattern is a button and loop at the back of the neck, so this would be a great pattern for anyone avoiding lots of buttonholes or zips! The pattern walks you through in detail on how to make a little opening at the back of your neck.
Making your own Bias Binding for the neckline
This pattern calls for 0.6m of 1cm wide bias binding. Although this can be bought ready made in lots of colours, its not always the easiest to find a perfect match to the fabric you are using and therefore making your own in the same fabric can be a great option. As this pattern only uses such a small amount of bias binding it also makes sense to use up those scraps from cutting out the main dress pieces. There is less than a metre of bias to make and that isn’t a lot of effort for a much nicer finish on the neckline.
1. Cut strips of fabric on the bias (diagonally from the grain – 45 degrees)
2 – use a ½” bias making tool – to do this you will poke one end of your bias into the tool until it comes out the other side and the fabric edges fold in on themselves to the middle.
Use an iron to follow the fabric strip and iron/press that fold in well. Use lots of steam and a setting as high as the fabric will sensibly allow.
3 – Admire your beautiful bias ready to use on your neckline!
Making an elastic button loop closure
The pattern instructions explain how to make a button loop in the fabric you are using. This works fine (I’ve used this method on a practice version of the dress) but it is a little bulkier than I’d like. I’ve therefore decided to use an elastic button loop closure. You can use any thin elastics that would easily slide over a button or as I have done here you can use a hair tie.
My daughters school hair bobbles/ties were a perfect colour match to the blue beetles and were much smaller rounds than most hair elastics (2cm diameter) . You can see when they are side by side that the hair elastic is slightly slimmer than the pattern piece loop, making it easy to slip under your bias when you are finishing your neckline. If you decide to use elastic in place of a woven button loop, then make the elastic loop a little bit smaller than you would for something that wouldn’t stretch. Its best to test your button out with it. I didn’t cut my hair elastic (to avoid any fraying) and sewed a few reinforcing stitch lines to it to make sure it was very secure under the binding.
I have also made a neck bow using the Valeria Vintage Bow Pattern from Violette Field Threads. The pattern is intended as a hair bow but works just as well with the bow threaded onto a longer piece of elastic and tucked under the collar.
The bow makes even more of a feature of the frill on the collar and draws your eyes to the matching blue bugs within the pattern on the dress.
I found the Bakerloo Dress to be quite a straightforward sew. The only difficulty I had was in trying to avoid the frill being caught at the collar points
Baste the collar frill onto one side of the collar carefully (especially at those corners). The next step involves placing the right sides of the collars together and sandwiching the frill in-between them (so you can’t see if you are catching the frill). When you sew towards the corners take your stitching closer to the raw edge (making your seam allowance smaller and smaller as you reach the point), turn the corner and slowly take your seam allowance back to where it should be (when sewing away from the point). This just gives the frill a little bit of extra wiggle room and prevents it getting caught as easily in the seam line stitching. I haven’t noticed those few millimetres of difference in my finished collar!
I’m over the moon with my Bakerloo Dress and I think the coordinating cottons work perfectly to make the statement collar really POP. The colours work perfectly for the colder weather coming our way, without having to jump straight into winter darks just yet. Craft cotton is lovely to work with. It’s easy to cut, sew, press and just generally does as it’s told! That makes it such a fun project to sew. I’d fully recommend Nina Lee’s Bakerloo Dress, and there is always the option to make a longer sleeved version and a blouse option too.
Made by Maz Jacobs for The Craft Cotton Co 2022.