Sunday 15 August 2021

Cinema Dress

If there's one pattern that I've bought more fabric for than any other it's the Liesl + Co Cinema Dress.

I've been meaning to make it since forever (well, since the pattern release in 2014) and I would buy 3m cuts of nice linens and then invariably use them for something else.

I pulled out one such stash of fabric recently thinking it would work for a different pattern and decided that I really had to stop doing that and make this pattern. Why not? I can't go to the cinema, I can't go to the beach and stand around a nice marina for photographs, can't do much of anything....but maybe an impractical, loud, linen dress would be just the thing for my lockdown mood...

I'm not often one to make muslins, but I knew enough about this pattern to know not to just dive in. A lot of reviews mention the sleeve head being too tight and it being impossible to raise one's arms. I also knew that I wouldn't be wanting to do up buttons behind me every time I got dressed/undressed so I had to make sure not to overfit the pattern.

I can take it on and off without any unbuttoning, and this, below, may be the only photo of anyone wearing a Cinema Dress and hitting the #justtouchyourhair pose :)

I was going to take photos of my process and pattern tissues but that involved a lot of semi-nudity and now it's all folded away. Here's what I did. I traced off the size 12 which was the larger of the two pattern sizes that my measurements fell between. 

I trace all my patterns onto the Trace and Toile interfacing and it's easy to then sew that together for a tissue fitting. I sewed the front bodice and back bodice pattern pieces together and set the sleeve in. Sure enough the sleeve was tight across my upper arm, the shoulder was off the edge of me and I couldn't move.

So I pulled out the Recital Shirt pattern (similar princess seam bust so I'd thought things might line up - they didn't) and referenced the sleeve shape and armscye from that.

In all, I raised the underarm by almost 3/4". Shaved about 1/2" off the width of the shoulder and then widened the sleeve head considerably. At that point I cut some quilting cotton and made another half bodice, one-sleeved muslin. The only further change was to take about 1/2" off the height of the sleeve as it was too poofy.

With the armscye and sleeve completely redrafted, the rest of the dress is the straight size 12. It's a perfectly comfortable, light, throw on summer dress but feels quite dressed up. Liesl has a black linen one that I am jealous of every time I see it. Now that I've got the pattern sorted I could definitely have a less "vibrant" one.

These white plastic buttons were in the stash and suited the dress perfectly. I'm glad not to have to undo them and happy to forego a more fitted waist. The dress is still quite shapely even though it feels like a comfy sack dress to wear.

The fabric came from the remnants pile at Drapers Fabrics and is a really nice feeling linen/tencel. I'm glad I kept it for this dress as I'd intended all along.

Now I really do want a Melbourne black version too.


  1. So glad you worked out how to “justtouchyourhair” with the sleeve head and armsyce adjustments, it looks smart and comfortable for the warm weather we are heading into.

    1. THanks. My first tissue fit made it clear that I'd only be able to stand still if I didn't make some adjustments

  2. Beautiful work! My sleeves are too tight on me. I'll have to adjust next time.

    1. THanks Emily. I think the pattern's issue a combination of a relatively narrow upper sleeve, but predominantly a really low armscye. It seems counterintuitive, but raising the underarm is what makes it possible to raise your arms!

  3. That dress is gorgeous! The print and the fit are perfect. Great job.


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