A 40s dress (or two) – the Lliria dress

A 40s dress (or two) – the Lliria dress
02/10/2019 Cami

Hi everyone, 

You may have seen them on my Instagram feed a while ago, I made two Lliria dresses. This is a very nice pattern from Pauline Alice sewing patterns which I had bought last year at the “Creation & Savoir-Faire” show in Paris. 

I love this dress, even though it is not my usual style! I rarely wear dresses let alone vintage dresses…but I made an exception for this one which reminded me of a picture of my grand-mother Lucette, where she is wearing a similar dress, probably in the 40s.

Robe Lliria number one

The fabric comes from Misan West on Goldhawk road, London. It is a polyester fabric, with a bit of stretch in it. Weirdly, it is heavy and light at the same time, so it hangs nicely. I think it was a 2m leftover on sale, a good bargain because the fabric was stained with indelible marks.

As usual, small piece of fabric don’t scare me. I had to make the Lliria dress with it and all the pattern pieces had to fit in the fabric. Well, initially I wanted to make the long version with short sleeves, but I had to make an hydride version…I made the short dress with short sleeves. Also, I couldn’t fit the inner waistband, so I used another fabric: the wax cotton I used for my Feuillage shirt dress here, and the #sewwaxlyrical challenge dress there. I did so much with this fabric, it is incredible. 

Then, the buttons are from my stash. They belonged to my grandma. I used different golden button but similar in size. I did a poll on Insta because I wasn’t sure it would look nice to use different buttons, but people voted for it and I am not disappointed with the result, at all! Thank you!

I’m very happy with the dress, it looks gorgeous! 

Robe Lliria number two

The fabric comes from Rainbow Fabrics Kilburn. It’s a polyester double crêpe fabric, quite heavy with a nice hang. However the fabric is not easy to press, making the hem a bit weird, and some seams quite thick.  

I bought the lovely copper coloured buttons in Raystitch shop, in London Islington. Unfortunately, I couldn’t come up with another combination of different buttons from my stash.

I chose to do the same dress length with short sleeves because I actually liked it like this. I think the dress looks ok, but I’m slightly disappointed with the fabric. The bodice seems to warp on the edge, the fabric didn’t really like the interfacing on the waistband, and the hem is not working! 

About the Lliria pattern 

For the 2 dresses, I made an hybride version: a short dress and short sleeves. 

I made it in size 36 and didn’t do any modifications to the pattern. The fit is ok, except the bodice which is too big for me (I wear 38B bras). Unfortunately, I forgot to amend the bodice between dress 1 and dress 2…I always want to go too quickly! 

This pattern is great to practice with gathers, because there are a lot of them! It takes some time…so, be patient! I am not used to sew so many gathers, so it was a good exercice. You can notice your improvements along the make, this is quite fun.

In fact, I would give one piece of advice here about gathering the skirt: when you have to attach the skirt to the waistband, the instructions guide suggest to gather in one go. I thought it was too difficult given the length to gather so I did it in 3 times (right front, back and left front). It is much easier that way!


Another tip I’d like to share is to interface the fabric where you have buttonholes to reinforce fabric there. What I did is I put a rectangle of organza in lieu of interfacing on my 2 dresses. It prevents the fabric to warp at the buttonholes. 

The only difficult part of the pattern in my opinion is the bodice darts, because the seam allowances are reduced to the minimum and there are gathers there…

To conclude, I would say the Lliria dress pattern is not too difficult, but require a bit of patience.

Which dress do you prefer ?