{Maven Patterns} The Rochester Dress

The dress I'm going to share today is a very special one indeed. It was made with special fabric, for a special occasion and it was another buddy sew with Mel. It's the Rochester dress by Maven patterns. Mel was the one who introduced me to the pattern and it's really, really lovely.
I wasn't planning on making it but things changed when we booked our Bitchmas weekend. I went down to London and stayed over at Mel's. We managed to fit a lot in, including the New Craft House winter party, and finished the weekend off with a super fancy afternoon tea at The Langham Hotel.
Obviously, I wanted to make something lovely to wear for it. I knew I wanted to use this gorgeous Granito Chestnut viscose by Atelier Brunette that I bought from Harriet at Sew Me Sunshine as soon as it was available. But I was stuck on what pattern to make. I wanted sleeves and a high-ish neck, not too short and fairly loose. Mel suggested the Rochester and it fit the bill. I've worn it twice now, two weekends on the bounce. I really love it. These pictures are from yesterday. I wore it for our girls' Christmas meal out at The Ivy, in Harrogate.
I made a straight size 10. It's very easy to fit as it's loose. There is a tie belt as well, which I made, but I much prefer it without the belt. I wondered if I'd need a bicep adjustment but after checking the measurements, I believed it wouldn't be necessary. Setting these sleeves in was a doddle as well. I didn't even need to ease them in! Which was great because I'm very wary of stitching outside the seam allowance in delicate fabrics like this. The high-low hem is finished with a facing, which I love, and it seems to stop the dreaded hem drop. Viscose is a bugger for that and so far this one hasn't shifted at all. 🙌 
The instructions are ok. They're very comprehensive but quite condensed in their layout so they can be tricky to follow. The seam allowances are all different, which is great because I don't think I needed to trim any of them - but you need to pay attention to which seam allowance you're supposed to be using. The instructions are very clear on that though. I did struggle with the back pleat detail. That could definitely be made clearer but I got there in the end. The pleat is stitched down at the top and on the waist but left loose everywhere else. Mine was done like that to start with but I decided to unpick the waist stitching and let it loose from the top, since it's unlikely I will ever wear the tie belt.
One of my favourite features is the elasticated neckline. It's very cleverly constructed and gives a lovely gathered effect. I sewed mine with the original length the pattern suggests but I ended up shortening it by 2cm as it wasn't very gathered to start with. The neck opening is a little bit on the tight side but nothing that can't be negotiated. I just need to take my glasses off. I fancy having a go at pleating the front and adding a keyhole opening at the back for a future version. That would look lovely.
Now, the fabric. Atelier Brunette never disappoints and I absolutely love this colourway. It behaves really well, presses beautifully and it doesn't snag. It's opaque, too, which is excellent because I hate wearing slips. Plus, it is very, very soft.
The dress is most definitely a win. It's so versatile. It looks lovely dressed up with high heels and it works equally well with chunky boots and a jacket, which is how I wore it yesterday. I highly recommend this one. 

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