Broderie anglaise for the birthday girl!

A couple days ago was my little sister’s birthday. Happy birthday Olivia! (I am pretty sure she doesn’t read this, but what the heck). Her present request was a handbag or ‘make me a dress’. Guess what I chose?


Olivia has a more feminine style than me, she is all about florals, cardis and skirts. It was a great opportunity to make something pretty that I know I wouldn’t wear myself. I picked up some broderie anglaise from Fabric-a-brac recently, $6 for about 1.5-2 metres. (Fabric-a-brac is a market mainly selling stash fabric). This seemed perfect for her dress, which I lined with plain white broadcloth.


I used McCalls 6887 which has a couple of top/skirt options, of which I choose the open back and full skirt. I feel like the open back is quite youthful and makes the dress a little more edgy – and I’m pretty sure that’s what Olivia would have chosen. The back actually covers a bra just fine btw!


I would have loved to photograph Olivia in it, but she lives in Wellington which is a good 10hr drive away. It was hard to get good pictures because she is one size up from me (I am the oldest in my family.. but still the shortest!). I tried to cinch it in at the waist a bit but it didn’t really look great. I thought it was worthwhile photographing it on though, because the back detail wouldn’t really show up whilst on the hanger. I used a regular zip and would probably go invisible next time – it’s a little bit obvious isn’t it?

I decided not to hem it or add buttons – if there are minor fit issues she might be able to change the button placement to make it work. (Also – I’ve still lost my buttonholer!) I also thought that she could hem it to suit her preference. Not being lazy.. promise.


The skirt is comprised of seven panels and the bodice is princess seamed. This went together easily but did take a little time as it is fully lined. It seems like lining is sometimes easier than facings/bias binding though because they can involve a lot of hand stitching. I added lace inserts across the bodice, which may have been due to fabric shortage, but I like to think they’re a design feature. The lace is really pretty – I saw it instore a few weeks ago and have been waiting for an excuse to buy it!


Anyway, I hope my little sis had a wonderful birthday and that she loves her dress (and that it fits! fingers crossed). She will be finishing uni over summer so the world is her oyster.. a very exciting time! I wonder if I can convince her to be my live-in nanny/cleaner while I sew (and pay her in dresses)? Here is a photo of us in 2010 – definitely time we got another photo together!


..and two more of her modeling a top and skirt I made (also in 2010) – that’s what sisters are for!



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