A Perfect Holiday Dress From Til The Sun Goes Down

Here I review the Beach Pyjama and Holiday Dress Pattern by Til The Sun Goes Down. For this version, I made the shortened Holiday Dress.

In my previous post, I discussed¬†the recent discovery that I needed to incorporate more plain/solid colours into my wardrobe. Whilst this is still true, it doesn’t mean that I won’t every now and then deviate from this course – especially when bright bonkers prints are involved! Also, I actually bought this fabric a year ago, so in a way I feel my recent make is validated and excluded from my recent sewing epiphany ūüôā

So, without further ado, let me introduce you to the fruits of my labours Рthe Holiday Dress by Til the Sun Goes Down. This pattern contains a total of 3 completely different versions/looks. First up is a pair of beach pyjamas (has anyone else noticed that beach pyjamas have recently enjoyed a massive surge in popularity over the past 2 years or so? Not only are more pattern companies adding beach pyjamas to their collections, but reproduction clothing companies are releasing various versions too. Personally, I am loving this renewed interest in this fabulous garment). The next version is a full length holiday dress Рwhich, as the title suggests, is perfect for wearing on holiday/on the beach. The final variation; and the version I chose to make, is a pattern hack to shorten the holiday dress to any desired length.

Part of my decision to make the shortened holiday dress was due to the fact that I wanted to use¬†this particular fabric. Of which, I only had 2 metres at 60″ wide. So straight away I knew I wouldn’t have enough to make the full beach pyjamas, but a knee length holiday dress? Yes!

The pattern is comprised of only 3 pieces Рfront, back and a separate pocket. The front and back pieces actually have grown-on pockets, so initially I was confused as to why there was a separate pocket piece also included. But, ingeniously, the separate pocket piece is for use when the width of the fabric is too narrow to include the grown-on pocket options, so you have a ready-made pocket piece which is good to go! Excellent idea, and goes to show the thoughtfulness that has gone into the production of this pattern. The front and back pieces have the bodice and skirt/trousers cut as one whole piece, so you may need to be mindful of the fabric requirements based on the size of your material.

The back of the pattern envelope outlines body measurements and corresponding sizes, fabric requirements in both yards and metres, and finished garment measurements (something I always find incredibly handy!) The envelope contains an A4 booklet, detailing pattern layouts and a step-by-step guide for making the differing versions.

The pattern itself was clear to read, containing instructions not only for the beach pyjamas and holiday dress, but also a guide as to how to shorten the dress to any desired length. As I decided to effectively take the pattern-hack option of shortening the dress, this required some preparation work on the pattern prior to moving onto the next stages.

Firstly, the pattern front & back pieces have a line from the CF & CB down to the hem. This line is the cut line to make the dress versions РBUT I strongly advise not to cut this at this line Рsimply fold it under so that you can retain the original pattern to make the beach pyjamas version if you so wish later on. Next, the pattern needed to be shortened at the lengthen/shorten line on the skirt sections. For this, I folded the pattern underneath itself, then measured from the waistline down to the hem until I had the desired length. For me, this was 30 inches, leaving a 1 inch S/A on the final hem. I then used re-stickable Washi tape to temporarily hold the fold in place.

At this point I traced the new shape onto fresh paper, creating a new side seam line running straight from the pocket down to the new hemline. For this, I used light pencil marks only Рas there is still a final stage to be undertaken before the pattern is complete. The final alteration, is to add size back into the pockets. The new side seam runs through the original pocket position, which means some of the size has been taken out. This was simple enough to do, and the pattern instructions provide an illustrated guide on how to do this. Now that I had all my new lines finalised, I then went over my newly traced pattern pieces, making the lines bolder with marker pen.

Ironically, after carefully making the size alterations to the grown-on pockets on my newly traced pattern pieces, when it came to laying out the pattern on my fabric – I didn’t have enough fabric length to accommodate them! So I simply folded under the grown-on pockets on the pattern, then used the separate pocket pattern piece instead. At least I have the grown-on pockets pattern for future use, when I am using¬†longer lengths of fabric ūüôā

I calculated that I used 1.4metres of 60″ wide fabric to make¬†the shortened¬†knee length dress variation, with¬†the pockets cut separately,¬†at a UK size 10. This excludes the tie belt, of which I used 75cmx20cm on the straight of grain, also from the same fabric. The neckline and armholes are finished with bias binding, which takes around 3 metres of ready-made binding.

The Holiday Dress by Til the SUn Goes Down РThings to Note

  • Be careful with the bias binding at the CF – leave enough at the ends to tuck it to the inside.
  • When shortening the dress, use the lengthen/shorten here line as just that – a guide as to where to apply any length alterations. Do not just cut on this line as the pattern will likely end up way too short!
  • Use tracing or pattern paper to trace the pattern in order to keep fresh versions of each variation. I traced off the knee length variation so I still have the complete pattern should I wish to make the beach pyjamas or full length holiday dress later on.

Total time to make – it probably took me around 1 day, which includes altering and tracing off the pattern.

Would I recommend this pattern to others? ABSOLUTELY! In conclusion, I think this pattern is quick to make, comfortable to wear, and extremely versatile. The shortened knee length version really reminds me of 1930s house dresses, whilst the beach pyjamas are full-on holiday glamour. I also really like that the skirt portion of the pattern is stitched together at the CF & CB – so it is effectively a half wrap dress. I do really like wrap dresses, but the skirt section of wrap dresses usually have me worried that in the wind they will whip open to reveal all! This dress has all the advantages of a wrap dress, but sans the worry of a windy day drama.

I can really see multiple versions of the knee length dress version, and I think a pair of beach pyjamas (perhaps with a little matching jacket/bolero) would be so smashing!

Has anyone else tried Til the Sun Goes Down sewing patterns? What did you think?

Also, in case you are not aware, Til the Sun Goes Down produce amazing reproduction vintage fabric prints, along with some true vintage fabrics. Rather ironically, I actually purchased some of their fabric 2 years ago to make – lo and behold – a pair of beach pyjamas! Check out that post & the fabric I used here.


Until next time dears!


Merchant And Mills Factory Dress Review

In which I decide to explore a change in direction, and take a different approach to deciding which garments I want to sew and welcome into my wardrobe, with pattern company Merchant and Mills.

As I have not been producing multiple sewing projects this year, it has made me focus more on the garments I really want to sew. Most of my sewing time has been and will be taken up with continuing to work on my wedding dress, so any additional projects undertaken have been carefully considered.

In a way, this has also made me re-evaluate the type of items I want to sew. In the past I have made garments based on utilising amazing novelty prints or bright colour combinations. As much as still adore bright colours and prints, I have realised that I do not exactly have a lack of these in my wardrobe. In fact, whenever I open my closet I am confronted with a riot of colour and bold prints. At times, this can prove overwhelming when deciding on garments to combine in order to form coherent outfits.

All of these thoughts led me to the conclusion that I need to focus on making garments that are muted, solid colours (ie no prints), and will be key versatile pieces to combine with existing items. For me, part of the joy of sewing is being able to create pieces from unusual colour combinations or whimsical prints, so to focus on plain fabrics is quite a big change.

In order to hopefully lessen the days when I am overwhelmed by my brightly hued wardrobe, I turned to UK based pattern company Merchant & Mills. The Factory Dress was my very first pattern from Merchant & Mills, and as I opened the pattern envelope, this phrase perfectly surmised my recent thoughts and evaluations:

‘Take Pause. Invest thought time and labour in making your own clothes by your own hand.’

The Factory Dress is inspired by a 1920s design, made to be worn as a durable, hard working garment. The pattern comes in multiple sizes, from UK8 up to UK18. I decided to cut the UK 8, which turned out to be a nice fit. Full illustrated instructions are also included with the pattern, which I found not only helpful, but also a delight to read. Through the use of language, it is apparent that Merchant & Mills really encourage the development of sewing skills. Indeed, equal attention is heeded to the internal finishing of the dress as the overlook look of the garment, reinforcing the sense that garments made from Merchant & Mills patterns should be garments made to last.

I used a beautiful muted pink pure linen purchased from Ditto fabrics to sew up my Factory Dress. I feel this was the perfect fabric choice – durable, easily laundered, with just the right amount of drape and weight. I love that the pattern includes pockets in the side seams, I do have a tendency to fiddle around with pockets as a kind of social comfort blanket!

Overall, the dress did not take long to make at all, as I recall I had it whipped-up in a day or two. I spent extra time making my own bias binding, which I used to finish the facing and bodice/skirt join on the inside.

I would absolutely make up this dress again, as the pattern was so straight forward to work with. Sizing wise, even the darts were absolutely perfect on my completely flat bosom area – something which never happens with shop bought patterns.

As a testament to how impressed I was with the pattern, I persuaded Kieren to take us on a little road trip last weekend to visit the Merchant & Mills shop in Rye. I purchased the Workbook, and some beautiful English herringbone cotton twill. The next projects I intend to work on are the Saltmarsh skirt, and the Haremere coat Рboth from their Workbook.

Whilst I previously may have viewed plain, practical clothes as unexciting, Merchant & Mills patterns have made me realise a new joy in sewing Рthe joy of taking pleasure in the process. Creating and crafting something with care, thought and patience.

Outfit Details

Until next time dears!