I have mentioned before that I bought a few Tina Givens patterns when they were on sale. The Zelda dress and the Phoebe pants have become firm favourites. The poppy slip worked well too, although my personal preference runs more to tunics and pants than layered dresses, I feel a tad too dressed up in them. However, it is a great pattern and I like it a lot, especially the drawstring hem. The Bloom dress will be made again too, but probably not with the cut on sleeves. I am very happy to be able to buy Tina’s patterns, but I don’t like her armscyes. Never mind, to each their own. I also don’t like the Mille fleur and ruffles for my 60 year old self, but that’s the great thing about sewing, we can adapt and please ourselves.

I had not made the Michell dress until now, mostly because I was unsure whether the dropped waist would look any good. When menopause gifted me with a tummy, I moved to empire line dresses. Having a lowered waist seemed a bit out of my comfort zone. But there is nothing like trying something out for yourself, so I had a go at the Michell and I am rather pleased.

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The instructions ask for 3.5 yards of fabric, which is probably one of the reasons why I haven’t used the pattern so far. Most of what I buy for my stash is around 2m, only occasionally 3, but very rarely more than that. As it happened I had a 2.3m remnant of embroidered rayon crepe, which it thought would be just right for the style. But it also was only 120 wide and the selvages had been clipped, clearly not promising. But being a fabric Scrooge  from way back I have plenty of experience in squeaking things out of minimum amounts of fabric. I always cut the back on the selvages, not the fold, anyway. This saves lots and gives you a seam at CB, which I think is a plus. ANY vertical line is a plus.

I had to shorten the dress by 5cm to fit, and the front and back panels are a couple of cms narrower than they should be, in order to get both of them out of the 120cm width. I cut the front and back in opposite directions, so if your fabric has a one way design it will run the differently front and back, as mine does, but if anyone notices I will be very surprised. What is important is to have the main piece and the inset panel going the same way on each side.

I also overlaid the upper bodice and sleeves with a pattern that fits me well in the shoulders, as with previous Tina Givens garments. The Michell dress has noticeably more fitted armscyes and sleeves than other patterns I have made, but why mess with perfection? Once I have found something that fits me well, I tend to stick with it. Saves a lot of fitting hassles.

So here is the result. I feel most comfortable in the dress with pants, but it looks nice with the poppy slip too. On its own it is more conventional, but in a nice way. I would feel confident wearing this dress on its own or maybe with a jacket to a client meeting, where the pants or the underdress would Make me look too much of a fruit cake. Different jacket though to the black one below. Interesting how it instantly makes the hips look much wider than when the dress is worn without the jacket. Obviously not a good spot for the jacket hem.

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