A tale of three Shelbys

Over the past few months I’ve made three different versions of the Shelby dress from True Bias. I can’t really remember when I made them all specifically as, of course, looking back on the last few months memories are a bit mixed up. But, that’s not what matters here (or ‘peu importe’ as they say in French), the most important thing I want to say is that I love love this sewing pattern! When I first saw versions of this pattern popping up online I really fell for it: a 1990s princess seam slouchy cut that I feel would also be a good basis for making a 1940s tea-dress style.

So from the 1940s via the 1990s to the 2020-2021 pandemic era, all through my sewing machine. Or something.

First up is my second and favourite Shelby dress – the fabric is a gorgeous viscose that I got a few years ago from Saint-Gilles best fabric shop, Passion Tissus. I previously used it to make another favourite dress, the Teahouse Dress from Sea House Seven. It really is so obvious but the formula for wearability rate/success of a sewing project is all about the perfect match of fabric and pattern.

Talking of whether a fabric is the correct one for a pattern, enter my most recent version of the Shelby dress. I love the print (another find from Passion Tissus) and I’m really happy with the finish I achieved on this (come closer and I’ll show you my neat seams). But as it is a cotton lawn it doesn’t have the same flowy-ness as the viscose version and is really unforgiving on the fit around the bust – it kind of bunches out as it doesn’t drape well. But that said I’ve still got a lot of wear out of it so far!

And, finally, here is the very first Shelby I made to test this pattern. The fabric was also from Passion Tissus, from the bargain bin (I swear this is not an advert for them). The print is gorgeous but the fabric is a nasty synthetic that is not nice to have near your armpits.

To get more wear out of this I think I will likely hack it into a skirt and a sleeveless top. I can’t express enough how much you don’t want this fabric up in your armpits.

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