Polka dot Martha Dress



Two things of note: I don't normally 'do' cream/white or similarly light-coloured dresses and I've steered clear of polka dots since my rather cartoonish take on vintage back in 2013. For these reasons my second version of Tilly and the Buttons' Martha Dress shouldn't work for me, but it's really rocking my world!

I already waxed lyrical about Martha when I blogged about my first version and I'm fairly certain that she may well be my pattern soulmate. I love the silhouette of the princess seamed bodice with the swishy skirt, and by omitting the overtly 60s/70s accents like the mandarin collar and big sleeves, I've found a go-to shape that works well for both work and play. The retro accents are great by the way, I personally just find the dress more wearable without them.



Just like my first Martha, this one is also made from a medium-weight knit. I bought it on Goldhawk Road last year after falling in love with its waffle texture, but I really can't remember the name of the shop...as you look up the street with the tube station behind you, it's one of the very first ones on the left hand side of the road.

Once again, despite working with jersey, I wanted my dress to keep its shape and look structured, so I reinforced the waist with a hardy ribbon and didn't skip the centre back zip. Like before I cut out a straight size 4 and hemmed the skirt at the mini length, which on my petite frame is the right amount of modest.

The only thing that bugs me about my first version is the neckline. I finished it with a facing (which the pattern calls for as it's designed for woven fabrics) which I then top-stitched, resulting in a slightly wavy finish due to the ponte's thickness. Vowing to avoid that issue this time, I followed a reader's advice to under-stitch the facing instead. Sadly, the result was the same so I ended up unpicking the entire facing and simply turning the neckline seam allowance under and top-stitching...which worked a treat! 



I first wore this at a wedding a couple of weekends ago and it seriously felt like cheating. Even though I felt cute and put together, I was so ruddy comfortable...it was just like wearing the pyjama equivalent of a dress! I could have added a belt for some extra glamour, but it was hot and I was like 'meh'!

As an aside, do you wear or blog your makes first? I have this OCD thing going on where I prefer to blog my makes before their first outing when they're still looking as pristine as possible, but that wasn't the case this time. There was a mixed reaction when I raised this on Instagram, but Rachel of House of Pinheiro made the excellent point that by blogging after wearing you can give a better review of how the garment fares in the real world. 


Anyway, it's safe to say that you've not seen the last of Martha from me. In fact, the jerseys on the right-hand side here are all earmarked for future versions! I may even make it up in some slinky viscose, so watch this space.

On that note, I'll leave you with this wonderfully flattering picture of me being a brat. While taking my photos, Charlotte suggested that I might want to look happier, so I flashed her my sweetest smile...

15 comments:

  1. Ah you look so lovely in this! It's strange that the first comments you made were that it's not your usual colour or fabric design preference, because as soon as I looked at the photos I thought it was really "you".

    Thumbs up for cute dresses that are as comfy as pyjamas!

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  2. This is one of my favourite dresses that you've made. Love the polka dots. I wasn't keen on Martha but you've transformed this dress by leaving off the collar and bell sleeves. Gorgeous dress.

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  3. Hahahaha! I love the 'happy' photo the most! My other half is always telling me to 'smile' and 'look happy' when he's taking my photos - I'm trying! I just feel really uncomfortable having my photograph taken!

    I love this version of the dress! You look so great in it! I have to admit, I was never particularly caught up by the pattern - maybe it's the vintage details? I'm not really sure - but this is definitely making me rethink it! Really flattering AND comfortable = total winner!

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  4. gorgeous! I love a classic polka dot!! and this silhouette really was meant for you! You look awesome!

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  5. Ah I love this, it looks great and that a really great way to get away with wearing white for a wedding without it being to 'weddingy' if you know what I mean?!..I'll be noting that for the future :)

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  6. Looks great on you Marie and perfect for the summery weather we're having right now!

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  7. That is such a lovely dress. I think that you look fab in it. I also really liked your "cartoon" dress but then again I have a thing for polka dots/ All those knits looks lovely. I am very taken with the black dotty one. Xx

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  8. I'm right there with you on not wearing my makes straight off. I don't wait til they're blogged per we, but I absolutely wait til they've been photographed. Im a very clumsy person, so I worry I will spill mustard or something red on my clothes or bump into something and rip it, lol. I feel better just not wearing them until photo evidence ius acquired :) I love you dress by the way! I love that you made this pattern so updated (I had the same reservations about the sleeves and collar).

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  9. It is a good shape on you, you have made that pattern much more accessible with the mods.. I always blog straight away and still do but my MMMay this year was to put right all the things that bugged me about some of my garments once I had actually worn them in the read world! Jo x

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  10. You look pretty! Love the 1950's vibe with the dress and red lippy. :-) xx

    Helen | Helens Fashion & Beauty Blog

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  11. Wow this is absolutely beautiful! I adore the polka dots and the gorgeous silhouette, it looks brilliant on you. So beautifully made too! XxxX

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  12. This looks so great and the texture is lovely. I have to admit I'd want to stroke the skirt (with permission!). Also, love your best brat face at the end - soo funny!

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  13. She is looking gorgeous and beautiful.

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