Spring is on the horizon for us, the sun is offering a hopeful relief from the chill in the air. What does this mean for our sewing? Dresses, dresses, dresses! We just want to sew dresses. We were invited to be involved in the pattern testing team for By Hand London’s latest release the Tamzin Dress which we couldn’t say no to. It is a folky style dress that we made in a light robia voile fabric, perfect for a Spring day.
Tamzin Dress Details
By Hand London describes the Tamzin as a quintessential folk dress. It has a square neckline that is finished with an external facing which gives the opportunity for lots of different finishes and embellishments. It has princess seams in the bodice with two different waist tie options. The 3/4 length sleeves and gathered skirt both have a stitched tuck detail.
The pattern comes in two cup sizes and in print at home or copy shop format pages.
Tamzin will work beautifully in a multitude of light to medium weight woven fabrics. This could be a linen, viscose rayon / tencel, soft or floaty cottons, double gauze and drapey silks.
We made the version that has the ties from the princess line, instead of the side seam. We used a ribbon for the ties as were were limited by how much of this fabric we had. We got it as a cut piece from the Salvo Store in Wangaratta so the amount was set for us.
Sourcing Fabric from Op Shops
What to look for when finding fabric in op shops? Check for any marks or damages such as pulls or tears it the fabric. If you aren’t in the practice of prewashing your fabric this is a good reminder. It removes any musky smells or light marks and prevents any heart break of your garment shrinking after its made.
Exploring your local Op Shop is a great way to find different fabrics to what might be in a more traditional fabric store. It can also be a way to pick up a bargain. In contrast it can be limiting because the pieces are already cut and there isn’t always something to pick up. It is worth checking in every so often to see what is available, you never know what treasures you might find!
We were looking in the local Salvos Store in Wangaratta for treasures and we came across this green and white checked robia voile fabric.
Normally robia voile is a cotton fabric that is recognisable by the dots but it also had a great dark green check through it. We didn’t have a particular plan for the fabric when we purchased it but knew it was a special piece. And then the Tamzin dress came along and it was the perfect pairing.
Constructing the Tamzin Dress
The stitched tucks are really easy to sew, just press a fold and measure for your stitch line. It is super effect and could be used on any rectangle shape. This feature is on the sleeve and the skirt, it is our favourite part about this pattern as it sat really well in our fabric.
Finishing the facing to the outside of the dress and top stitching, instead of folding it inside is a fun technique. The instruction from By Hand London explain it really well. Our fabric was already busy enough but some other makers have embroidered theirs or you could add a trim along the seam line. There are so many possibilities!
Finished Tamzin Dress
The Tamzin is a lovely style, the higher waist line that is pulled in by the ties creates a casual feeling and is perfect for a warmer day. Because of the folky style fit there is little to worry about exact measurements and is an easy sew. There are no zipper or buttons and it slips over the head. Speaking of slips! Because of how sheer our fabric was we did make a plain white dress to go underneath. If you had a heavier weight or less transparent fabric you wouldn’t need to do this.
We have tested a few different styles for By Hand London and really enjoy their patterns. They have a mix of floating styles to fitted more formal dress like the Jenna Dress, stylish pants in the Jackie and coats including the Juliet.