IMG_1446fiona in cecily worthing beach

This is one of my favourite dresses….Cecily! Here I’m out and about in Brighton and on Worthing beach, near where I live.  Below shows some Cecilys in different African wax fabrics….IMG_1503Here are some more sensible options….303EC59A73-BCC2-4D91-BE97-D89B7312A612This Cecily dress is made in fabulous Italian 100% fine linen pinstripe fabric (bundles available on my Etsy shop) Ive turned the fabric on its side for the bodice, so the stripes run horizontally and then vertically on the skirt section. I really like the effect it gives and I have to say, I do wear this a lot when Im going somewhere special.

At the end of this pattern blogpost (at the bottom of this page)  there is also a tutorial about how to use the skirt section of Cecily Pattern and make into a glorious simple gathered skirt like this one. I wear this skirt if I want a comfortable, everyday, throw it on and forget about it sort of outfit. And yes its got a side pocket!IMG_1464You can buy Cecily Dress pattern from my Etsy shop here is a link……


CECILY PATTERNWhen I wear Cecily dress, I feel amazing, like I’m making a real statement about who I am, so I tend to make it in bold prints but it also looks great in more subtle fabrics such as the Kaufman railroad denim or the grey pinstripe linen (shown above).

So this is a time to show yourself off….. you are amazing….. as we all are!

You can make this frock with or without the tie belt, but I prefer it with one (I just love a tie belt). This pattern has cap sleeves but on the latest addition of Cecily I have added a short sleeve template for those of you wanting a slightly longer sleeve.

Cecily is designed to be loose fitting on the waist so its more comfortable to wear, it has a side concealed zip too, but I can pop mine on without undoing the zip, so if you feel that inserting a concealed zip is beyond your skill level, try making it without. Of course, having a side zipper does make it easier to get on and off, and inserting a concealed zip is for some people easier than a standard zip. I have popped a concealed zip tutorial link below, so have a peek to see what you think or why not have a go, you will never look back if you conquer this technique.


Its a good idea to check your measurements against that on the pattern. If you are, like me, a bit top heavy, go for the larger size that fits your bust measurements, you can always adjust to fit afterwards. The pattern is suited to a bust cup size B. If you need further bust adjustments, see these useful guides for a bust adjustment:


You may also need to lengthen the shoulder to waist length so measure your body from these points and adjust accordingly. Its a good idea (especially if you are using expensive fabric) to make up the bodice section in cheap fabric or calico first to see how it fits and to determine whether the pattern needs adjusting. It doesn’t take long to do and like that you can feel more confident, secure in the knowledge that the fit will be right. I want you to make lots of Cecilys (like I have), so tweaking it at the outset will give better results in the long run.


You will also need a 30cm concealed zip and 20cm of lightweight fusible interfacing

Seam allowance is 1cm.

Finish all raw edges with an overlocker or zigzag stitch.

Here is an over view of the pattern instructions included in the pack with a few extra tips, it will give you a taster of how to make this charming frock:

Start by inserting the darts.



Sew the upper back pieces together.1b

Join to the upper front at the shoulders. Press seam allowances towards the back. 2a


Neck facings

Block press your facing pieces on to fusible interfacing3

Join at the sides. Press. Finish the outer edge.4

Pin to the neck edge of the upper front and back.5

Hand tack.6

Nick the curved seam allowance. Tip: reduce the bulk of the side cross seam allowances.7

Press over to the wrong side. Pin.8

Hand tack.9

Stitch evenly all around, go carefully as this stitch line will be seen on the right side so it’d better be good! I like to take it slow at this part.10


Mark out your pleat position with pins on the front and back skirt section at the top edge.11

Fold the box pleats.12

Hers a diagram to help you.

diag 1 copy

Machine tack stitch1314

Sew to the upper front bodice with the right sides together.

diag 3b

Press. Tip: why not top stitch on the right side close to the seam on the bodice side.15


Pin to the left side of the skirt (see template for the position). NB if you are left- handed you may prefer to insert the pocket on the opposite side.16a

Press away from the skirt. Top stitch.16b

Insert the side concealed zipper here. Here is a link to my tutorial about how to insert a concealed zip with either a standard zip foot or a concealed zip foot.



After sewing in the zip, pin then sew the seam together below and above the zipper.

Join the front to back at the side edges from underarm to lower hem all around pocket.18


Sew the sleeves together at the sides. Press. 19

Hem the lower edge.20

Pin to the armhole, align the back section of the sleeve to the back body. Hand tack.21

Sew, make sure you have no puckers!22


Fold over and press 1cm to the wrong side of each long side.23

Stitch along each long side close to the edge. Press over 1cm each short side.24

Pin to the body 2cm in from each side. Stitch down with a small rectangle at each far end.25


Join the tie pieces at the short sides with the right sides together. Press seam allowances open.26

Fold the tie piece in half with the right sides together. Stitch down the long side and at a 45 degree angle at each far end to make a point, leave an opening of 4cm approx at the centre point. Trim the seam allowance to 5mm and Nick the corner point. Turn inside out through the opening.


Press. Topstitch all around which should close up the opening at the same time.28

Tie a big Esme tie at the front on your lovely dress.29

There you are! You can also wear without a belt like I have here…..

fiona in cecily worthing beach

Now time to pose!

So now what about making a skirt using Cecily pattern? IMG_1464This skirt is has a length of 75cm from the top of the waistband but of course you can make shorter (or longer) if you require. Just make sure you have some extra fabric if making longer!

Cecily skirt has two side pockets this time and the tie belt with loops that you had before on the dress. It has an elasticated waistband at the back and the same pleats on the front as the dress. Whats not to love! You can have a nice Sunday lunch and not feel tight around the tummy afterwards ….bliss!

I used this african cotton fabric which is fab and I’m going to upload some exclusive skirt kits on to my Etsy shop soon which will include fabric, interfacing and elastic  all packed up in a lovely craft bag so its all there for you.

So this is what you need:

2m of fabric (112cm wide) or 1.7m (150cm wide), 1m elastic and 10cm of fusible medium weight interfacing.IMG_1416Cutting out:

Front & Back (Piece 3) – Cut two.

Indicate the pleats on one piece only (i.e the front) with small notches within the seam allowance or mark with an invisible marker pen.  

Waistband Front – Cut one piece 12cm wide by length: size 8= 40cm, size 10= 43cm, size 12= 46cm, size 14= 49cm, size 16= 52cm, size 18= 55cm, size 20= 58cm.

Fuse the reverse side of the front waistband piece only with interfacing. 

Back waistband – Cut one piece 12cm  wide by length: size 8= 98cm, size 10= 101cm, size 12= 104cm, size 14= 107cm, size 16= 110cm, size 18= 113cm, size 20= 116cm.

Elastic – Cut the following length piece according to your size- 8= 27.5cm, size 10= 30cm, size 12= 32.5cm, size 14= 35cm, size 16=37.5cm , size 18=40cm, size 20=42.5cm.

Tie Belt (piece 9)- Cut two on the fold.

Tabs (piece 8) – Cut four.

Seam allowance is 1cm. Finish the raw edges with an overlocker or zigzag stitch.

RST= Right Sides Together. WST= Wrong Sides Together.

This is what you do:IMG_1417

Make your box pleats just on the skirt Front piece that you have notched with the pleat markings just as you do on the Cecily dress. Pin to hold. Tack stitch across the top edge of the skirt front piece to hold the pleats in position.IMG_1420IMG_1422Pin the pocket at each side of the front and back 8cm down from the top edge (higher than shown on the template). Sew down the straight side edge. Press away from the skirt. Top stitch on the pocket side.IMG_1424IMG_1423Pin the front to the back with the RST at the side edges and all around the pocket. Sew.

WAISTBANDIMG_1419IMG_1425IMG_1427So with the front waistband piece interfaced, join to the back waistband piece with the RST at the short sides to make a ring. Press the seam allowances open.

Now fold the waistband ring in half with the WST so the raw edges are aligned all around.IMG_1429Unfold the band and pin the elastic at one side at the seam allowance at each side extending the elastic across the back waistband. Of course its not as long as the waistband back piece so it will hang down at this stage.

IMG_1430 So you can pin your waistband together aligning the raw edges thus encasing the elastic. Now its back to the machine to tack stitch it along the raw edge within the seam allowance so approx 5mm from the raw edge all around. Tip: keep moving the fabric beyond the elastic as you go.IMG_1436Make your four tabs the same as you would with Cecily dress pattern.

Pin and tack stitch the tabs in position to the waistband or skirt top edge align with the side pleats and 30cm in from the side seam at each side on the back. Tack stitch to hold.

IMG_1438Pin the waistband to the skirt with the RST aligning the side seams and matching the waistband back to the skirt back section. Sew. Finish the raw edge together.IMG_1439


Fold under 1cm the tab piece at the raw edge and pin to the top edge of the  skirt waistband. Stitch to hold.IMG_1446

Press the waistband seam allowance upwards on the reverse side then topstitch all around the waistband securing the seam allowance in position. IMG_1447

Insert your tie through the tabs and tie in a lovely bow. Then strike a pose!C skirt 1 copy



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