Most Worn: Nina Lee Mayfair Dress


Ready for sun!!! Last summer, I wore my Nina Lee Mayfair dress so often in the hot weather - even for work. I find patterns that feature waist ties to be my preferred option in summer because they are just that bit more comfortable than elasticated waists or fitted waistbands, yet still give you some shaping. I had hoped to create an even more work appropriate dress with this monochrome John Kaldor slinky jersey fabric. but as you can see, it turned out a little short for that, but it's just as well as I wear it all the time at home now - I can't wait to take it on holiday!

Fabric

I bought this at the Spring Knitting and Stitching show at Olympia for £5 per metre from M Rosenberg and Sons' stall. They always have a good deal so I took 2m of this away with a Mayfair dress in mind. It is light and breathable to wear, just like the fabric I used for my other Mayfair dress. If anyone has good suggestions for top patterns that you can use for slinky knits, please let me know - I have left overs that I really want to use up!



All was going swimmingly with this for a long time...I made sure the design on the fabric was all lined up well (perfectly in fact). It was breezing through my machine and overlocker. I would have had this done in a day until it came to hemming it.
I thought it would be a good idea to overlock the edge then fold, press and sew in place. This fabric doesn't really like staying where you press it but that isn't surprising for jersey - there's a pay off to that later in that the fabric doesn't crease as you're wearing it and it doesn't need ironing. What was a problem was that the machine chewed up the hem. More than once. So much so that I had to chop off my work appropriate length to level it out and redo the hem without overlocking this time (which resulted in no problems whatsoever - should have done it that way in the first place).

Pattern


The pattern is available as paper and pdf from Nina Lee's site, for £14 or £8.50 respectively. I was so desperate for the pattern that I didn't wait for a printed one, which is why I have no pictures here! There are a number of options for sleeves and you can pick from knee length or maxi length skirt. I made the version with capped sleeves in a size 10, which matched my measurements and required no alterations at all. There are very few pattern pieces for this design as well, which speeds things up enormously!

Nina Lee has put together a really simple yet effective pattern with this dress. The pleated shoulders give a nice shape and the shawl collar is really easy to construct. To be honest the only part that does really need time and care over it is the panel which attaches the waist ties (unless you've mucked up the hem that is). Sewing through jersey for such a precise part is quite difficult to get straight, but doable.

The instructions are also very clear, with lots of additional tips that can help out anyone new to sewing with knit fabrics - or people like me who need constant reminders! I find the diagrams very clear as well. I think I enjoy making this dress so much partly because it isn't too taxing and yet the final product is really impressive. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a quick jersey dress that looks quite elegant. For me - now that I've shortened it somewhat - I'm looking forward to having something comfortable yet stylish to wear on my holidays.


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Hi, I'm Laura. Welcome to my journeys with modern, feminine dressmaking; pattern reviews, tips and guides for beginners. I'm a lifelong foodie, so you'll also find some delicious recipes and places to get that foodie fix.
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