Happy Halloween, friends! I made myself a subtle little dress for the occasion, which I can wear all year round, because I don't actually have any trick or treat/party plans. 

My idea started taking shape when What Abi Makes shared this glimpse of the dress she made with what she called 'accidental Halloween fabric'. I tracked down the very same viscose for a bargain from Higgs & Higgs, which has the cutest black cat and tiny paw print. 

With a loose Wednesday Addams aesthetic in mind, I decided that the Friday Pattern Company Wilder Gown could fulfil my high neck, mini dress vision. I couldn't be happier with the outcome!

My favourite touch is my hacked sleeves. To get the shorter length dress I was after, I had to cut 8cm off the skirt before adding the ruffle. Given that the neckline detail is one of my favourite things about this pattern, I decided to put the excess fabric to good use and replicate that detail on the sleeves. 

To achieve this, I just followed the same instructions I did for the neckline. Because this was an afterthought, I had to unpick part of the sleeve seams and topstitch the finished edges down first. To do this from the get-go, just apply the front bodice seam instructions to your sleeve seams, then follow the neckline instructions for the rest. 

Being a bit of a perfectionist, I decided to anchor my neckline tie so that the gathers and tie ends are always even. I tried the dress on, arranged my gathers how I wanted them and pinned the tie in place at the centre back and front sleeve seams within the channel for the tie. I then stitched along those three points, which are totally hidden by the gathers. I did the same for the sleeves, adding just one row on stitching at the centre front of the channel. 

Other changes I made were to shorten the ruffle and add elastic to the waist. For the ruffle I folded the skirt piece provided at the lengthen/shorten line. For the elasticated waist I followed the suggested instructions provided in the pattern.

Size-wise I made a straight medium, but would be tempted to add an inch to the bodice length so it's slightly less of an empire shape. The sleeves could also do with some tweaking in future. The way that they're drafted makes the whole dress lift up when you raise your arms, which I think means I need to raise the armholes a little and maybe add length to the bodice side seams.

Minor quibbles aside, I love this dress so much! I'm super pleased with how it turned out and look forward to playing around with this pattern some more.

Are you a Wilder Gown fan?

A roaring success - that's what my Tilly and the Buttons Indigo Dress is. Before I delve into the pattern details, can we take a minute to admire the fabric? 

Any animal print lover will agree that finding the 'right' colour and scale print is the holy grail of sewing. This leopard print viscose from Like Sew Amazing (currently sold out, but Sarah has a lovely selection of prints) has body, a bit of stretch, barely creases, and is quite literally perfect.

Right, back to the pattern. Due to the loose fit, I sized down and cut a straight 4, which was a bold move that thankfully paid off. My fit changes were minimal, but made all the difference. 

I added 2cm to the bodice length to accommodate my bust and because I don't really suit an empire waistline. For a 'mini' look, I took 7cm off the skirt length before hemming. To avoid gaping (a common problem for me), I took 2cm wedges out of the front and back necklines. This almost backfired as I can just about squeeze my head through, but there's no gaping sight!

I couldn't resist the exposed frill seam on the sleeves, which is such a pretty detail. However, I was hesitant to add bulk to the waistline, so settled for a classic gathered seam there instead. Maybe next time I'll be braver.

Inspired by fellow stitchers, I added waist ties for a little extra shaping, a feature I've incorporated into all three of my Myosotis dresses too. My finished ties measure approximately 75cm long by 1cm wide. To avoid having another viscose dress I'm terrified of hanging up, I used stay tape to stabilise the shoulder seams, which worked a treat.

I really, really love how this make turned out. A lot of it has to do with the fabric, but I'm also surprised by how much I like the shape too. Just like the Myosotis dress, Indigo has proven to me that going out of your comfort zone can totally pay off.