Fancy Tiger Fen Dress

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.


Fen Dress


Fen Dress


I’ve been searching for a dress pattern for a while now, and then the Fancy Tiger Fen Dress pattern popped up on Instagram. AgainAnd 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.


Fen Dress


Fen Dress


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…”


Fen Dress


Fen Dress


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.


Fen Dress

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  • I just love how your dress turned out, classic and simple but with those little details that make all the difference. Would you believe I’ve seen this dress pop up quite often online but never noticed the pockets, shirt tail hem and interesting neckband? It might be worth another look.

    • Thanks so much. It’s a “choose your own Adventure” (FancyTiger’s cute words) pattern with many options to choose from. You’re right I hadn’t seen many with the shirt hem – I’m so glad I was adventurous. You should give it a try!

  • That’s a lovely version; nicer than the ones on the pattern website; seems to fit better. I like the sleeves – it’s hard to tell from the pattern, but is there a shoulder yoke or are there just the two front and back pieces? I think this could work if I frankenpatterned the True Bias Sutton blouse, maybe….

    • Thank you. Yes it only has a front and back piece for the bodice. The sleeves are kimono style. I’ve seen someone mash this pattern with a different top pattern and it looked pretty great. You should give it a try!

  • You’ve completely sold me on this pattern! It’s beautiful. I love the way the curve of the hem mirrors the curve of the pockets. Also – I fully agree with you on the casual dress. You can’t go past it!

  • Lovely! The perfect style for that fabric. And that neckline finish is so interesting! Might have to experiment!

  • Gorgeous Klarissa. Fen is definitely a queue jumper. No wonder I style stalk you! Can’t wait to see the blood print.

    • Thanks Anna! I don’t make / wear dresses very much so I was pleasantly surprised. The print worked well too – just need to gather my braves again for the photos. I really wish I had a body double!!

  • I love a dress I can yank off like an impatient toddler! I’ve been heading down the “plain” route lately myself (as in plains versus print, not as in boring). I’m feeling like at my age they are a bit more sophisticated and easier to wear. Oh my gosh, did I just say that? It doesn’t mean I’ve been sewing plains, just that I can see their value and I’ve been fondling a few such fabrics. It’s a gorgeous dress Klarissa. Fits beautifully and indeed that uneven hem works a treat. I’m interested to see your second version!

    • Plain is underrated! I think they make you work hard to cut a good shape. My next Fen is the complete opposite. My partner calls it the ‘dazzle camouflage’ dress. Have you seen the wartime pattern they used to paint ships and sheds? So worth a google – it’s crazy excellent on ships! Not sure if it’s a compliment? Anyway at my “age” I like to do both plain and print. Ready for my dressing mood!

  • A bit late to your Fen party but I love this pattern…….just saw it on Soulemama and googled to see if the pattern was available in Australia, and your post came up in the results. I wondered where the waist sits, whether true waist or a little above. Above would be nice, hopefully to camouflage a post middle age midriff bulge.

    • Welcome to the Fen dress love party. Such a great pattern. From memory it sits a little higher than your natural waist. But I usually have to lengthen patterns so I’ve added to my bodice. The waist is very loose – i made the smallest size and it’s still on the good side of loose. Yes it is the perfect dress for hiding bulges! Love to see your final make. Tag me!