Elfish Sewing: Stylish Dress Book 1 - Dress E

Stylish Dress Book 1: Dress E made by Ivy Arch

Sometimes the best homemade dresses are the ones that take the least time to make. Dress E from Yoshiko Tsukiori's Stylish Dress Book: Wear with Freedom fits this description. It's a simple pull-over-the-head tunic with neat front pleats and two patch pockets – a gift for beginners and seasoned dressmakers alike. 

Dress with front pleats: Stylish Dress Book 1 illustration

I've made it twice before, first in a plaid suiting fabric and again in blue cotton paisley. The shape is flattering, it's comfortable and easy to wear.

Two versions of Dress E in blue paisley cotton (left), and plaid suiting (right)

With two metres of Poppy Europe bird print corduroy and half a metre of emerald green needlecord, I was raring to go. As before I lengthened the sleeves to three quarter length but this time also lengthened the hem to fall just below the knee to make it less of a tunic and more of a folk dress.

Dress E: Stylish Dress Book 1

I experimented with cutting out the upper back panel in green, then trimmed the pockets and added cuffs to the sleeves to match. 

Dress E: back view

The combination of brown brightly printed fabric trimmed with emerald green reminds me of the classic 1960s/70s Ladybird book The Elves and The Shoemaker. It's a book I read dozens of times as a child and spent hours studying the hand drawn illustrations (by Robert Lumley). I no longer have a copy but remember details on every page. The cover has two elves in patched clothes sewing and hammering a huge pair of emerald green shoes, and on the final pages the elves (wearing bright green suits made for them by the shoemaker's wife) are shown skipping out into daylight. I'm on the hunt for an affordable replacement copy of the book, but in the meantime will channel that good elf feeling in my new corduroy dress.

Dress E, Stylish Dress Book 1