Tuesday, 11 March 2014

This week I have been sewing ... the Ava Dress by Victory Patterns for Perfect Pattern Parcel

A few weeks ago I was asked to take part in a new project, which both promotes Indie pattern makers and raises money for a children's education charity. I was really excited to be involved in this new venture, Perfect Pattern Parcel, which is the creation of Rachael Gander and Jill Dorsey. Pattern Parcel no. 1 is womenswear and includes 5 different patterns in the bundle. The pattern parcel is available online for two weeks only! Get yours here ...

The pattern bundle includes:

To help promote the Perfect Pattern Parcel I made the Ava Dress from Victory Patterns this week, which is one of the patterns in the parcel bundle. I love the detailing and vintage style of this pattern. The Ava Dress has three versions - a tea dress, short dress and peplum top.

Firstly I printed off the pattern and attached all the sheets together before cutting out the individual pattern pieces. I decided to do version 1 of the dress with a couple of modifications.

The fabric I chose was a retro Deco fans cotton print in blue and cream from Guthrie & Ghani. For the front panel I used a cream semi-transparent contrasting fabric.

I first sewed the lower bodice pleats, front and back, before sewing the side seams. 

Next I sewed together the six skirt pieces and pressed the seams open.

I then attached the lower bodice and skirt together, matching the pleats with the skirt seams and leaving a section open on the left hand side seam for the zip. 

I then checked the fitting and made a slight adjustment. Next was inserting the standard zip.

The next section of constructing the dress was the upper bodice. I chose a contrasting fabric for the upper front panel only, using the same fabric for the upper back panel, bias binding and sleeves. There are lots of pleat and sleeve options here to add detail in same or contrasting colours.

I did a hand staying stitch initially to hold the contrasting panel to the lower front panel.

I then sewed the front bodice pieces together and attached a bias binding to hide the raw edge.

I initially machine stitched the bias binding for the neckline and arms, then pressed into place before finally hand stitching the bias bindings in place on the inside of the garment.

I then sewed the pleats of the ruffle sleeves before hand stitching them to the sleeves. There are pattern pieces to add pleats to the front and back bodice too if you want more ruffles!

Finally, I hand stitched a 2 cm hem. I altered the length of the skirt by reducing it by 8 cm, so it rested just above my knee (this meant the length of the skirt was approximately half way between the length of the short and tea dress pattern versions).

And here is the finished dress! It will be perfect for summer.

Why not try this dress or one of the other patterns for yourself?

Find out more about Perfect Pattern Parcel here:

"About PPP:
Put together two entrepreneurial makers driven by their internal voices and one self-taught hacker with an "if you build it, they will come" mentality, and Perfect Pattern Parcel was born. We are passionate about supporting independent designers in their craft and fostering a community of makers to grow. Our mission is to offer high-quality pdf sewing patterns written by indie designers while supporting children's education.

About Donors Choose:
Donors Choose is an organization that matches up the needs of teachers and their students for specific projects with willing donors. The funds raised from each Pattern Parcel sale will go to help K-12 students in minimizing educational inequality and encourage a community where children have the tools and experiences necessary for an excellent education.

About Parcel #1:
Pattern Parcel #1 includes sewing patterns for women that are modern classics, featuring both flattering silhouettes and garments that are comfortable to wear. From a new little black dress to weekend play wear, the patterns in Parcel #1 have got you covered.

Support Indie Designers
Independent designers create patterns that are innovative, imaginative and in line with current style trends. Their patterns encompass a broad range of sizes and fabulous “out of the envelope” fit because they're thoroughly tested by real people. With detailed and well-explained instructions, these patterns often teach as you sew. Independent designers are approachable, providing support, suggestions, publishing additions to your favorite designs, and hosting interactive sewing events. When we are patrons of indie designers, we are supporting small, mostly women owned, businesses. We are developing the community around us. We are helping to making dream come true."


  1. Rachel,

    This looks *stunning* on you! Wow! I just love the fabrics you choose. Thank you for sewing along with us!

  2. Outstanding! Great photos, beautiful dress. I love the semi sheer on the bodice.