Shelby Dress

A review of True Bias Shelby Dress and Romper

Reviewed by pinsandneedlesnz on 22nd October, 2021

When I first spotted this stunning Lady McElroy viscose crepe on the Minerva website, I knew right away that it was destined to be a Shelby dress. This is a pattern by one of my favourite Indie designers; True Bias. I love the classic style elements, the clearly set out instructions to give a professional finish and they just seem to work for me with little fit adjustments – big bonus!

Since the release of the Shelby dress pattern last year, I’ve had my eye on it and always admire it when one pops up on Instagram. It’s a v neck, button down dress that has a fun 90’s rock chick vibe. (If only I dressed that cool when I was a teenager in the 90’s! I think my wardrobe back then mainly consisted of surf tees three sizes too big for me and jeans!)

I’ve previously had success making the Yari jumpsuit by True Bias. Knowing it has similar princess seams to the Shelby dress I bravely decided not to toile. I did however grade out from my bust to a larger size at the hips and waist so my measurements corresponded to the correct size in the included size chart. The dress does however have quite a lot of ease at the hips, so may have got away without grading. The only other adjustment was take an inch off both the waist and leg shorten / lengthen line; FYI I am 163cm tall. If anything I knew I’d prefer it a little shorter and didn’t want to take too much flare off the bottom of the dress by removing length from only the hem. I must admit it was a bit of a beast to cut out with my rotary cutter and was very thankful for recently purchasing another cutting mat. Once I got past cutting, sewing it was relatively straight forward. I took my time to try and avoid any silly mistakes and also followed Kelli, the designer’s sewalong found on her blog, which helped to double check I was on the right track. I love it when indie designers include these, as I find it really helpful to have a few more visual aids. She also has a few hacks on her blog including a lace up back and puff sleeve, which both look great. I toyed with the idea of hacking the sleeves and left cutting these out until required but decided the sleeves were perfect proportions just the way they are! The final steps included a rummage through my vintage button collection to find these cute red shank buttons that blend in nicely with the print. I always get nervous doing buttonholes as I know I’m so close to finishing yet could also completely stuff it up. I sew on a Elna from the 1970s, which unfortunately doesn’t have an automatic buttonhole function. Thankfully I didn’t stuff them up, although a couple are a bit of a tight squeeze to fit the button through. Although I’ve since discovered I can get it on over my head without undoing any buttons, so no worries there.

Now the gorgeous fabric… it’s called Floral River and is a viscose crepe by Lady McElroy. I ordered 3.5m, the pattern calls for 4m but I could have even squeezed it out of 3m. This is the first time I’ve used a Lady McElroy fabric and I have to say the quality was even better than I had imagined. It has beautiful saturated colours and is a medley of all my favourite earthy colours… navy, ochre, dusty pink, moss green to name a few. It’s such a pretty floral print and I’m always a sucker for a ditsy print. Best of all its non directional so doesn’t need any pattern matching. It feels quite luxurious against the skin and has a beautiful drape to give it the ultimate swish factor. It was a dream to sew as it didn’t shift around while cutting, neither stretch out of shape which happened the last time I sewed with viscose. I was pleasantly surprised that all the way through sewing my notches always matched up and hem was still straight at the end. I was also pleased to find it doesn’t crease easily. There’s such a beautiful selection of prints by Lady McElroy to make for tough decision making. I wouldn’t hesitate to use their fabrics again.

I’m thrilled to bits with this dress and feels fabulous on. It can be layered with tights and boots for the winter to give it all the grunge feels or can be dressed up with some cute summer heels.
The fabric and pattern really are a perfect match to live out all my cool 90’s kid dreams!

Thanks for reading. You can follow more of my sewing adventures on Instagram Blog

Happy sewing