Diana dress

What a backdrop!

Back in February I made a flannel Ilford shacket and I have worn it SO MUCH – it’s versatile, easy to style, fun to wear and super cosy! I knew I wanted to sew another ‘shacket’ ready for this winter and have been planning this make for months.

Such delicious fabric.

I saw this Robert Kaufman Chestnut Durango at the beginning of the year and desperately wanted some, but at £24 per metre it would have used up a big old chunk of my sewing budget and I decided not to splurge. Obviously it then sold out and I realised how much I really REALLY wanted some – isn’t it always the way?! Luckily for me, Sister Mintaka has all my flannel needs covered and she got some in stock a couple of months later – Sandeep was also charging a much more reasonable £18 per metre, so when my husband offered to buy me some for my birthday I wasn’t about to say no!

Admiring the view.

It would have been very sensible to make another Ilford – I absolutely love my first version, have worn it loads, know it fits well and I had enough fabric… but why make life easy? I thought about making a bit of a mash-up between patterns – the boxy shape of the Ilford with the longer length and curved hem of the Kalle were what I had in mind, but then I came across the Diana dress by Lenaline Patterns in a video by the Foldline and it was exactly what I was looking for!

Curved hem of dreams!

When I made my Ilford I only had 2m of flannel and struggled to fit everything on the narrow width, so this time I got 2.5m of fabric – this would have been plenty for another Ilford, but was definitely not enough for the Diana. I laid the pattern pieces out and decided that by cutting two of the plackets, pocket facings, the inner yoke and hem facings from another fabric I was pretty confident I could make it work. I bought 1m of plain black cotton from Hometown and got my scissors out!

Let’s talk about that “pattern matching”…

Obviously I cut everything on the flat to be as economical as possible with my fabric and this also meant I could carefully ensure that the checks on the two front pieces of my shacket WOULDN’T BLOODY LINE UP PERFECTLY AT ALL. I know I can pattern match (see my Ron Swanson shirt for proof) but for whatever reason I totally missed the mark this time. I briefly considered buying more fabric to re-cut one of the front panels, but I walked away, slept on it and when I came back to my project I decided not to. Fortunately, the bias cut placket and pockets break up the front enough to make it fairly unnoticable to the untrained eye, but trust me when I say I was absolutely gutted when I realised my mistake.

Snaps instead of buttons was such a good decision!

I wouldn’t go as far as saying I enjoyed sewing my shacket, likely caused by the hangover from the challenge of cutting everything out and my mismatched check disappointment. I have sewn many shirts and somehow the Diana instructions didn’t seem particularly intuitive – I also didn’t find the illustrations very helpful when I needed clarification on a couple of the steps. I mostly followed the pattern but I did change the order slightly – for example, sewing the yoke burrito before closing the side seams and finishing the hem with the facing, which just seemed more logical to me.

I do love playing with bias cut pieces when sewing shirts!

Now my shacket is finished and I have worn it a couple of times I have to say I really love it! The failed pattern matching has pretty much stopped bothering me and I’m absolutely thrilled with the snaps I chose to install instead of buttons – they look so good! The size 10 is ideal – fitted enough so I can wear the shacket as a dress with the tie belt and loose enough that I can wear it open as a jacket over jeans and still fit a long-sleeved top underneath. The only slight change I would make next time would be to lengthen the sleeves by a couple of inches to suit my personal preference.

The perfect outfit for autumn!

I know my shacket is going to be worn constantly this autumn and winter and I can’t rule out making another if some more beautiful flannel comes my way!

Huge thanks to Patsy for not only taking me for a gorgeous walk around Brimham Rocks, but for patiently taking these beautiful photos for me while we were there too!

4 thoughts on “Diana dress

  1. I have been sitting on some Kaufman flannel trying to decide if I should make another plaid flannel Ilford (made one last year that I adore) or something like this! I cannot decide!! Are you happy with this compared to the Ilford? Looks great, btw, and I didn’t notice the mismatch until you pointed it out!

    1. Thanks so much! 😊 I’ve worn my shacket a lot since I finished it and I love it just as much as my Ilford – that’s not much help, I know! The Diana definitely has more ‘shirt’ than ‘jacket’ vibes, so it probably just comes down to the look you’re going for. Happy sewing! 🧵

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