The Nina Dress
Sewing for your Life
Introducing my favourite make of 2019!
In December, I was lucky enough to be a pattern tester for this dress. I will admit, I had never heard of the pattern company Sewing for your Life before their tester call went out, but when I saw the sample of the dress, I knew it was something I wanted to make. Sandra’s designs have a vintage feel, and are available on her Etsy shop.
The Nina Dress is a vintage-style dress inspired by the TV show The Collection. It features a Hepburn collar, elbow-length sleeves and a beautiful (and twirly) skirt. The fabric recommendation is for a woven fabric with a small amount of stretch. I made mine from a polka dot stretch cotton sateen that I bought from my local fabric shop. This dress requires 4.5 metres of fabric which, according to the size I made, had to be at least 140 cm wide. I think that the dress could be made from a non-stretch fabric without any problems.
I was very happy with the drafting of the bodice, as I found that both the bust and the waist fit perfectly. I only had to do my usual adjustment of widening the centre of the bust dart to remove extra fabric bulk from under the bust.
I did find the sleeves to be a little roomier than I’d like, so I tapered the sleeve seam down. I reduced the hem of the sleeve by 2″, but kept the underarm seam unchanged.
The instructions for the Nina Dress were, for the most part, clear. Sandra added a few details about why things are done the way they are, which was a fun touch.
There were a few new skills that I learned when sewing this dress. First of all, I had never sewn a Hepburn collar before. The result is super flattering and I can see myself adding it to other garments in the future. I especially love the back view of the collar. It looks a lot more complicated than it is in reality.
It was also the first time that I had hemmed a circle skirt with bias tape. And I’m so glad that I had this option. The final skirt was 9 metres to hem (but isn’t it beautiful!). The pattern suggested completing it by hand, but I think it looks just fine done by machine.Finally I decided to add a belt. After looking at some tutorials, I set off to Fabricville to get what I needed. I think the belt helps the dress look finished, and it was fun creating something new. (The belt buckle came in a two-pack, so you can expect a belt on another project soon ;))
The result and Final Thoughts
I cannot say enough good things about this dress. The construction was straightforward, however, it still taught me some new skills that I will be able to use in many of my future projects. I wore this dress to my work Christmas party and was asked many times where I bought it. This may not be the reason I sew, but it doesn’t hurt either.
I have plans to make another Nina dress, this time in a solid colour, with a contrasting colour for the collar, belt, and turned up cuffs on the sleeve.
You can find this pattern, and Sandra’s other patterns here.