It's an EMPIRE LINE Dress, OK?

  Definitely the best picture of me in this dress, as you'll see...

I'm calling this dress the 'Emphatically Empire Line Dress'. After I sewed together the bodice and skirt, I felt that it looked very 'maternity', as I had feared. My antidote to this was to add a bright pink ribbon along the bustline, to emphasise the shape of the dress. As it is such a busy pattern, the shape of the dress is a bit hard to see, so I think this really helped. Perhaps I'm being paranoid as I'm not used to wearing empire line dresses. What do you think of empire line?

After all the lovely enthusiasm and kind comments in this post, I hope no one's disappointed with how I got on making the dress!

Here's my review:

Pattern Used
Style 2241 from 1978. I made View 2, with short sleeves

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I liked that it had pockets and looked quite casual and liked the sleeve options, particularly as I'm rubbish at doing set in sleeves.

Fabric & Notions
I used a neon floral printed crepe from Mandors, with a last minute addition of a bright pink ribbon below the bustline, when I realised that the dress needed a focal point. The crepe was a bit stretchier than I expected, so I ended up taking in the bodice more than I thought I'd need to.

 This is the ribbon that saved the dress - kind of

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made
No changes, the hem is a little shorter than suggested as I felt it was more flattering above the knee. 

Would you sew it again and do anything different next time?
I'm divided - I wanted to use view 1 to make a maxi versions but now I'm not sure how flattering it would be. I might do it, but try and redesign the skirt pieces so there's no gathering - but then it might not sit properly. Hmmm. Any advice?!

Did you use any new techniques?

Would you recommend it to others?
With caution. It WOULD be a good maternity dress. 

Yeeeeeeeees, not very flattering from the side is it? Also, don't know what I'm looking at.

Including fabric (3 metres at £1 per metre!), pattern, zip, thread and ribbon, about £14

This project made use of a pattern and fabric I'd had in my stash for a while, which is good. It's quite a sweet, breezy dress for summer and I can see myself wearing it on holiday or maybe at home, if it's particularly hot.

 Again, a bit unflattering with hands in pockets. Hey, it's good to be honest, right?

K x


  1. Fabulous fabric, and I rather like the finished object too. I agree that the pink ribbon pulls it all together. Never been confident enough to try empire line myself, though having seen this I'll give it a go.

  2. I think it looks great, the trim really helps, but still over all a good everyday number. Still love the fabric!!

  3. i love it! the fabric is beautiful and i think it was a good call to add the ribbon!xx

  4. I think it looks fine too! If you really won't wear it much as a dress (which is a shame) I'd think about chopping it off babydoll length and wear it with leggings or skinny jeans.

  5. I think it's lovely, you don't look pregnant in the slightest! It would be lovely mid-thigh length with jeans or leggings underneath if you never wear it as it is! x

  6. I think the dress looks great on you, but I understand your feelings about Empire line completely. I haven't worn Empire line or smock dresses since the children were born 30 years ago!!

  7. I think its a great piece that simply needs some styling. What about wearing a contrasting pattern scarf with it (a giant scarf of course). Or what about a cropped jacket - the difference it lengths will balance it out. With just a couple of additions, I think you'll look marvelous!

  8. I love the fabric! Great idea about adding the trim :) It really helps!

  9. Oh, wow! You're so very talented! Love the dress and the fabric :).

    Hope you're having a great week!


  10. I also like it, perfect sunmery floaty dress, and you can actually carry it off without looking pregnant. Hands in pockets though is maybe less flattering! Great fabric and the trim is perfect :-)

  11. I'm all for the empire line - in the proper Empire style, mostly. Regency for you English-centric folk; what I'm getting at in this convoluted way is history's tried and trued trick of not making it look maternity: in the height of Empire fashion, the skirt part was only gathered in the back.

    Still, I think this is a fun little dress, just like everyone before me said. I guess it's the sort of dress you put on when you do not want to take yourself too seriously. Everyone needs at least one dress like that!

  12. How about taking two seams down the front ending in box pleats? A relatively easy way of disposing of the extra fabric whilst still keeping the fullness at the hem? It would need shaping a little at the waist maybe but you could still keep the 'easy' fitting feel.

  13. Thanks for the styling ideas everyone, some interesting suggestions.

  14. I think the pink ribbon is a great touch! If it was me, I would take out the pockets, as they add sideways width and weight. If the fear of maternity is too great, you could always add another line of ribbon lower down and stitch the gathers flat, so that you get the effect of a deep waistband?


Thanks for reading and commenting - I love to hear what you have to say