Fancy Tiger Fen Dress
Here we go again – more black! But wait – this time I was encouraged… I was standing at the Fabric Store, slightly bewildered in an aisle of bold brights, when a roll of lovely, light, black linen was walked over to me by an enabling sewing friend. With a little sigh I reached out and bought enough for a dress. It was out of my hands.
I’ve been searching for a dress pattern for a while now, and then the Fancy Tiger Fen Dress pattern popped up on Instagram. Again. And again. And again. Scanning through the clever makes one thing stood out – it suits different body shapes. Perhaps because it’s not a sack? It has a waist but a very relaxed one and the bodice is far from fitted. It reminds me a little of the Burdastyle Anda dress – an early favourite because I loved the shape. But my sewing has since changed and I find I’m looking for patterns with a little more detailing. Like a good pocket – this dress has a lovely pair. Or a nice dart – this bodice has four darts that are very thoughtfully positioned and give the bodice a gentle shape. Fierce bust darts ending sharply on the wrong part of the breast do not happen on this pattern. Another detail to love (thanks to the pockets) is that there’s less gathering at the side of the dress which minimises extra hip’age! Oh thank you Fen.
This dress is a super quick and satisfying make helped along by a well written pattern. I did make a few small adjustments: I made the neckline slightly higher at the front and not as wide. I lengthened the bodice for my height and shortened the sleeves. I cut a size 8 bodice with a size 12 skirt as I wanted a touch more gather in the skirt. I was concerned that because I chose the smallest bodice size that I might find it tricky to get on and off so I added an invisible side zipper, but in retrospect I needn’t have bothered – I drag it on and off like an impatient child and ignore the zip.
The neckband was new to me. Well….actually the technique is familiar because I do it regularly on my knit tees. But this is a woven neckband (!?!), added in the same way you would attach a neckband to a knit tee – the stretch is created from the bias. It was a little fiddly at first but boy does it sit beautifully. The shirt hemline was another little rule-breaker for me. You know those ridiculous self-imposed style laws? I’ve got lots of them, and uneven hems are up there near the top. You see I DO NOT do uneven hems because they DO NOT suit me or my generous calf. But guess what? I might actually really like it. Note to self (again): always question statements you make that start with the words “I can’t wear…”
The fabric is very light with a tiny woven stripe and is quite sheer so I need to wear a slip underneath. I had grand plans to sew one but that’s something for another day.
Now that I’ve worn it a couple of times I think the beauty of this dress is that it’s casual but you can dress it up. My kinda dress! Good for a hot day, work meeting or a quiet wine with friends – I think my life stage suits the casual dress. Next time I’d like to make a winter version and definitely another summer one. Actually confession… next time has already happened. I immediately made another for a Christmas dinner in – wait for it – a bold pattern! With actual colours! Which I love equally and will show you next time.