This is one of my favourite dresses….Cecily!
Below shows a couple of Cecily dresses in different African wax fabrics….And here is a denim version with long sleeves. If you have purchased the pattern without the long sleeve, you can download the sleeve pattern here.
Cecily Sleeve Pattern download
Here I’m out and about in Brighton in Cecily with a stand out African print.
Striped linen is a more sensible option….This 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 wear this a lot when going somewhere special.
When 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 here, 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.
PREPARATION/ADJUSTING THE PATTERN
It’s 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 to make bust adjustments, see my useful blogpost for a bust adjustment tutorial:
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 cheaper 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 Cecily dresses (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
A NOTE ABOUT INSERTING A CONCEALED ZIP
Although getting the dress off and on is easier with a side concealed zip, it is perfectly possible to make this dress without it as the neckline and waist width are wide.
Remember that the seam allowance is 1cm (3/8″)
If you would prefer to sew a 1.5cm (5/8″) seam allowance then just add 5mm (2/8″) to the outer edge of the pattern (except for the edges which are marked ‘cut on fold’).
Finish all raw edges with an overlocker or zigzag stitch.
Here is an over view of the pattern instructions which are included in the pattern along with a few extra tips. It will give you a taster of how to make this charming frock:
On the pattern you can see lots of lines for each Dart size. Each size has two lines: one (outer line) is the ‘cutting’ line and one (inner line) which is the ‘stitch’ line. See the diagram below, Ive marked size 8 Dart lines in yellow (cutting line) and pink (stitch line), to show you more clearly. Its a good idea to mark the required two lines as I have done on your pattern to make them easier to see.
Once you have cut out your Bodice, it should look like this.
Fold the dart so that the RST(right sides together) and the dart raw edges are aligned. Mark your stitch line using a ruler and pencil which runs 1cm parallel to the cutting line.
Then sew your dart along the marked ‘stitch’ line. Run the stitches off the tip of the dart leave long thread ends which are tied together and trimmed. Press the dart downwards.
Sew the Bodice Back pieces together. Press.
Join to the Bodice Front at the shoulders. Press seam allowances towards the back.
Block press your Front and Back Neck Facing pieces on to fusible interfacing. Trim all around.
Join the facing pieces at the sides with the RST. Press. Finish the outer edge.
Pin to the neck raw edge of the Upper Front and Back bodice piece.
Nick the curved seam allowance. Tip: reduce the bulk of the side cross seam allowances. I like to also trim off approx 5mm at the bulky cross seam allowances at each side.
Press the seam allowance open, then fold over to the wrong side. Press again. Pin in position all around.
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 and follow the centre of the line or edge of the overlocking, I know I will be safe then.
LOWER SKIRT SECTION
Mark out your pleat positions with pins or notches on the front and back skirt section top edge. There are four pleats on each side , two either side of the centre point. Each pleat has three marks, the centre (V) and two notches either side where you make the fold inwards each side. Here are some diagrams to and photos to help you.
SKIRT FRONT AND BACK
Fold the box pleats. This picture shows the right side view.
BOX PLEAT (RIGHT SIDE VIEW)
BOX PLEAT WRONG SIDE VIEW
Machine tack stitch along the top edge within the seam allowance (i.e 5mm from the edge).
Sew to the upper front bodice with the right sides together.
Press. Tip: why not top stitch on the right side close to the seam on the bodice side.
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.
Press away from the skirt. Top stitch.
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.
Sew the sleeves together at the sides. Press.
Hem the lower edge.
Pin to the armhole, align the back section of the sleeve to the back body. Hand tack.
Sew, making sure there’s no puckers!
Fold over and press 1cm to the wrong side of each long side.
Stitch along each long side close to the edge. Press over 1cm each short side.
Pin to the body 2cm in from each side. Stitch down with a small rectangle at each far end.
TIE BELT (optional)
Join the tie pieces at the short sides with the right sides together. Press seam allowances open.
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.
Tie a big Esme* (from the Sewing Bee) style tie at the front on your lovely dress.
- Esme loves a bow
There you are! You can also wear without a belt if you prefer. Now time to pose!
10 thoughts on “CECILY DRESS”
fingers crossed going to have a go the weekend
A lovely pattern to follow. I was very pleased with mine.
Hi, we got this pattern free with a sewing magazine and on there it says to insert a 22inch invisible zip in the back of the dress. Having read your instructions here, you say to use a concealed side zip. Is it a case of the magazine tinkering with your pattern?
I think it is. They’ve obviously assumed that it goes in the back seam. I wrote the pattern to go in the side seam however just as easy with a bit of know how to pop in the back seam if you prefer. It Would then free you up to have a pocket on both sides if you want . Having said that I’ve made the dress without a zip at all and popped it over my head so that’s also a possibility.
Thanks for pointing this out
Sorry just remembered that the skirt section to the Cecily dress doesn’t have a back seam so you can’t zip it beyond the waistline . Anyway yes to a side concealed zip or no zip at all are the options.
Thank you so much, magazine’s should definitely stop tinkering with your patterns 😀
You are so right!
Btw in case you’ve never done a concealed zip insertion there’s a blog page all about it where I show you how with just a standard zip foot attachment
Over and out!
Is it possible to have a pocket either side, even with the zip? I really like two pockets and fancy a side zip too… what you think?
Hi Rachel Not sure how that would work as the pocket is within the side seam . You could knock off the side zip and insert it into the centre back seam instead- that would be possible. Having said that, I can get the dress on and off without undoing the zip. It’s obvs better with one but possible to do without.
Hope that helps -Fiona x
Thank you yes that helps. I might put one in centre back bodice. Or maybe side bodice only without going into the skirt.