The English Dress: Marbella

I feel so blessed to have made such gorgeous friends of late.

The English Dress - Marbella

The English Dress – Marbella

I met Elle around a year ago during the 2014 round of Me Made May through Instagram and since then we have become firm friends. In the way of international friendship triangles she is also linked to my dear friend Ute, who gifted Elle a present for Secret Valentine 2015 (I gifted Ute). Ute also sent me the fabric for my Berlin dress. The three of us are now officially sewing sisters, our knowledge shared and our friendship growing, with parcels being sent to and fro across the great divide.

The English Dress: Marbella - The Berlin Dress: Anna

The English Dress: Marbella – The Berlin Dress: Anna

One day, the three of us will meet up at a little cafe over earl grey tea and cake (followed by gin and blueberries) and talk about the wonders of sewing, and friendship and worldly events. Until then there are ways and means of keeping in touch and maintaining our friendship. Keep an eye our for our Anna Party coming up in July hosted by all three of us to celebrate Elle’s birthday. All the Anna’s are coming out to play!

The English Dress - Marbella - The Parcel

The English Dress – Marbella – The Parcel

Elle was kind enough to send me this beautiful fabric, along with yummy pig/pug faces, a heirloom piece of lace and my beloved headscarf which I can not wear enough.

The English Dress - Marbella

The English Dress – Marbella, Beautiful Pockets

The English Dress - Marbella - Bodice Detail

The English Dress – Marbella – Bodice Detail

It’s a stunning piece of fabric with saturated colours that reflect my colour palate. No filter required. Deep burgundy, pinks and greens printed on a beautiful linenish cotton fabric, it needed to be sewn into something special. I would normally reach for the Anna at this stage however I am trying to extend my dress collection. And I’m so glad that I did.

The English Dress - Marbella

The English Dress – Marbella

I choose the Marbella dress from Itch to Stitch. I’ve been looking at this pattern for some time, I love the design lines, the boatneck and the tulip skirt. And excellent pockets. It’s also a great silhouette to let the fabric shine.

The English Dress - Marbella

The English Dress – Marbella

There is the option to partially or fully line the dress, I choose the latter and made the extravagant decision to line in sand-washed silk after petting some at a local fabric store. The colour was a perfect match and I think that once silk has been used for lining, poly just can’t be entertained as an alternative. Usually I line my dresses with cotton which has proven to be comfortable and easy to wash. With the wisdom of the seamstress who sold me the silk, I hand-washed it in wool mix before cutting. This technically means I can hand wash the entire dress when I need to. So I can pass on the dry cleaning this time.

The English Dress - Marbella

The English Dress – Marbella

In terms of construction notes, some other seamstresses noted that some of the width needed to be taken out of the back of the dress. I reduced each of the back darts (both bodice and skirt) by 2cm at the waist and also took an extra 1cm out of each side of the centre back seam. I also graded out the skirt width from the hip to hem to the next size up as I find tulip skirts need a little more space at the hem line to accommodate my long stride. The fit was then perfect.

The English Dress - Marbella

The English Dress – Marbella

The PDF was a dream to put together. It also has a couple of rather innovative and interesting features that all the PDF’s should embrace. You can turn off “layers” on the pdf for sizing which allows you to print just the one size (or multiples if you want to grade between). So when tracing it reduces the risk of marking the wrong lines.

The English Dress - Marbella

The English Dress – Marbella

You can also select your cup size for the bodice (between A – D) so the need for a SBA or FBA for many may be avoided. I used the B cup and it fit perfectly across the bust.

I would recommend making a toile before cutting into your precious fabric. I was able to make my adjustments by fitting on myself and sticking myself with pins and transfer them to my traced pattern, which resulted in a beautifully fitted dress.

The English Dress - Marbella

The English Dress – Marbella

The fabric was beautiful to sew, with just a little bit of fraying. Using a gentle hand and a good press, it came together beautifully with the silk.

I first wore this to see the Doug Anthony All Stars. I laughed so much that I got a stitch in my shoulder. I didn’t even know that was possible! Paul, Tim and Flacco were as politically incorrect, foul mouthed and poignant as ever. Feminist poetry remains a strength and age, disability and broken bones has not taken the edge off their sharp tongues. This is my favourite. It’s also not representative of their normal material.

Marbella Dress off to see DAAS

Marbella Dress off to see DAAS

I also managed to eek a Sorbetto top out of the remnants, again lined in silk. Such happiness!

Sorbetto Top

Sorbetto Top

Do you get to share your love of fabric across the oceans?








Photos by Bruce. Fabric gifted from Elle. Tights from Wolford. Shoes from Camper, boots by Duckfeet. Hair flower from Gardens of Whimsey.



17 thoughts on “The English Dress: Marbella

  1. Oh pips! Reading this made my eyes fill up. Finding you and ute from across seas and land, has made my life infinitely better. I admire how you’ve got that central line dead on. It’s perfect!!!!

    • Oh Elle! I had such pleasure making this. Such beautiful fabric, and sent with such love. I adore it. Now I have 3 favourite dresses! My antique Anna, my Berlin Anna, and my English Marbella. I envy my own wardrobe sometimes! xxx

  2. So, so lovely. What a perfect fit. I always love seeing your creations and your blog posts are always so thoughtful and inspiring. Thank you for sharing!

  3. I love both dresses together! Elle and I did good 😉 And you are radiant in this dress. So beautiful. Xx Big hug!

    • Thank you Ute! After a month I’ve just popped them in my wardrobe (together of course!). I think I’ve finally achieved vampire white with my skin. I’ve always loved the pale! Love to you my dear. xxx

  4. Oh my, that fabric is GORGEOUS! I admit I’m extrordinarily jealous as those colours would look perfect on me as well… But anyway, the dress looks amazing and I’m in awe of the fit, once again.

  5. Pingback: International Anna Party! | the girl in a tea cup

  6. That is the most amazing fabric and I love it in that dress! I would love to know where the fabric came from….I would send it to the southeast US where I’m sewing from!

  7. Pingback: Sirena Dress | the girl in a tea cup

Leave a Reply to Pips Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s