Well, I started this dress in April 2016 after my sewing machine arrived in Italy from the UK but at the end of the month, I found myself in a new relationship and the dress was sort of pushed to one side. Admittedly there were also other reasons why I left it a while; first time of attempting buttonholes and having to learn to use the setting on my machine; wanting to adjust the pattern to include pockets and creating a side seam pocket pattern from scratch. Then there was the heat in my 2nd floor bedroom to compete with over the summer!

I chose to make the romper suit but changing the bottom half into a skirt instead. I preferred the top half as there were no sleeves and I think the style looks better on me but think with adjoining shorts; they are a logistical nightmare!

As I wanted pockets in my dress and there was no option for this, I had to design the pattern myself. I produced a template of the pocket with the help of a friend giving me tips and a site for reference and wanted to make sure that my phone would fit inside so it was a fully functional pocket. I made a mock-up which I can also keep for reference and this helped me work out how to do it for the dress.

First up was the bodice, sewn together and then facings. All really simple. Then the front section edges for the buttons with more attention paid for a good stitch.

Next up, were the pocket and skirt pieces. Then skirt gathered and bodice sewn to skirt. All very quick and simple despite all the delays in finding the time to make it! Making the pocket template took the longest I believe!

At this point I tried it on for fit, pinned the front together before buttonholes etc. and decided it needed to be better fitted so made some adjustments to the seams giving it a better shape.

When I was happy, I went on to buttonholes for the first time. My machine has an automatic buttonhole function with just a lever to tell it when to go back the other way. After some practice on scraps of the same fabic, I was ready and completed to a standard I was happy with. With the buttons I bought on my first visit to Bologna from the outdoor market, the dress was transformed! I thought bold buttons would look better than small black ones that would be lost with the print.

I finished the hems on the bottom of the skirt and the sleeves and finiahed seams as best I could and tried it on again. Unfortunately I was not happy with the sleeve hems afterwards as they flared out… not desirable at all! After a phone-a-friend moment, I workes out how yo correct the sleeve and was very pleased with how it turned out.

Naturally as it was summer, and I was in Italy, I had to go somewhere with attractions for posing in my completed dress… this is Formigine Castle and with the help of my friend from the same town, I had my posed photos!