Sunday, 5 April 2020

Marilla Walker's Belmenite Dress in Chambray

When Marilla Walker released her Belemnite pattern late last year,  I was smitten.  The 70s aesthetic, statement sleeves, relaxed fit-and-flare shape, the midi length - what's not to like?  I had a long length of medium weight chambray in my stash, plus a matching zip and thread so no additional purchases needed.  As part of my social media work for ClothSpot, Alice, Judy and myself each chose three garments for #makenine2020, a new year sewing community initiative started by Rochelle of Lucy Lucille.  The Belemnite was one of mine, along with the completed McCalls M74445 wide-leg trousers and the Closet Case Cielo top pattern (pics & post of that coming soon).  

I opted for view A.  The sleeves are set-in flat with a single fabric piece for each sleeve which joins the front/back bodice sections.  It's a really interesting construction method which works well with flat fell seams (how-to notes on these are included in the instructions) for a neat method that encloses the raw edges and adds topstitch detail.  I made a size 3 grading to size 4 at the waist, matching my body measurements to the pattern.  I made a couple of changes.  Firstly I made a small, high round back alteration, just 1/4", using this method.  It stops the front neck pulling back.  I add this change to almost every bodice that I ever make!  I also reduced the bust cup size as there is very little difference between my upper and full bust measurements.  Marilla covers detailed small and full bust adjustments in the instructions and I followed these to the letter.  They worked perfectly, the V lies flat with no gaping and the dress is an excellent fit.

The belt is long enough to tie at the front or back- there's a slight change in look with each tie style. I did toy with the idea of adding pockets but left them this time as I wasn't quite sure of the skirt's fullness.  I might add them to the next Belemnite.  The skirt deserves a special mention.  I love the lantern shape, subtle and much more economical use of fabric than long a-line skirt pieces.  I like the midi-length too.  It's a very wearable dress.  I wore it to The Stitch Festival which feels like many moons ago but instead was at the end of February.  I've been wearing it at home on lockdown and its a comfortable wear which makes me feel like I'm making an effort, especially on my daily walk, and not just living in yoga pants.  I would like to try the button-down front option with shorter sleeves so I have a dress to wear indoors in warmer weather, and outdoors when that time comes...I have a long length of Liberty lawn which might just work...I have loved Marilla's instructions and her pattern drafting so I am tempted to try more of her patterns, maybe the Maya top next?


  1. Love, love this dress! The hemline - the narrow wrist band - and the ties, that work for front and back. Very, very pretty with this fabric choice.

  2. Thank you Sigi, there are so many design details to love!


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