One of my favorite sewing sources is Rosery Apparel. I have been watching her calming videos for some time now, and she got me into creating more dresses.
Rosery Apparel is owned by Janelle, who is based in Australia and Japan. She has a YouTube channel where she documents her projects and posts tutorials for her sewing patterns. Her patterns are available at roseryapparel.com.
The very first dress I made was her DIY Milkmaid Dress, which I painstakingly made by hand before I owned a sewing machine.
I could not use any shirring techniques, so I created an elastic casing for three small elastic bands to create the illusion of shirring for the waist.
I also did not (and still do not) have a machine that can perform an overlocking stitch, so my finishing uses French seams. The hemming was also done by hand using the slip stitch.
Even though I love the dress overall, it was one of the projects that helped me realize that it was time to start using patterns and practice learning how to create unique fits using more complex shapes.
The Rosa Dress
The Rosa Dress is available in sizes 4 to 24. It is a beginner friendly pattern that features two bodice options and a gathered skirt. I wanted to make everyday dresses with this pattern, so I purchased the digital version and decided to make the A Pattern.
This pattern is nice and easy to read and cut. I traced the pattern from the digital version onto pattern paper and wrote down all of the necessary symbols and identifiers.
I originally had a different fabric planned for this dress, but I decided to use a fabric I had on hand called Mystical Bees Suns And Moons Black Metallic Premium Cotton Fabric from JoAnn. I thought it would make a beautiful, whimsical dress to wear in late summer and fall.
The fabric is 100% cotton with a gorgeous astrological pattern that features suns, moons, bees, and other symbols.
Choosing the wrong size
Unfortunately, I did choose the wrong size. I measured myself, but Australian sizes are different from the US, so my dress was one size too small.
When I tried on the bodice, the collar was too tight against my neck and the back was fully open and would not close.
There is a lesson to be learned here: mockups are very useful. A mockup is a sample of a design that shows what the final product will look like, but allows room for improvement and adjustments.
However, there is good news! The dress was salvageable! I had to scrap the sleeves, but I decided I would create a dramatic open back with either a plain tie or lace up tie. A black satin ribbon would do. I also planned to deepen the neckline and use bias tape to cover the raw edges.
How I saved the dress
1. I added elastic to the waistline.
Since I could no longer add a zipper, I had to make the skirt piece stretchy so that I could wear the dress.
The skirt piece was wide enough to create a casing for elastic so that I can fit the dress over my head.
2. I adjusted the neckline and sealed the edges with bias tape.
I deepened the neckline and sealed the raw edges using bias tape. This fixed the issue I had with the neck choking me!
The fit is now a lot more comfortable.
3. I added a black silk tie to the back instead of a zipper.
I created two buttonholes to fit a black satin ribbon. Originally I had planned to have the back lace up, but I thought the detail was a little too busy. With the fabric pattern already quite loud, I decided a muted tie would work best.
What I learned…
This project taught me a few things:
- Take measurements carefully – Even though I did measure myself, it still helps to double check since measurements differ across patterns and countries.
- Make a mockup – Mock ups are super useful so that you don’t have to cut into your good or planned fabric. I will start using inexpensive muslin (I usually get it at $3.00 per yard) in order to create samples of new or more complicated patterns.
- Don’t give up on a project – I could have easily scrapped this project. Even though the end result wasn’t what I intended, it still worked out and I still love the dress. Not giving up on this project gave me wiggle room to experiment with solutions for the mistakes. Rather than panic and think that I had to start over, I ended up rethinking the design.
- Discovered new styling preferences – My styling interests are beginning to change. At first, the whole chunky boots with dresses combination was weird to me. Now, I am obsessed. I am a huge boot wearer, so out of curiosity I tried on some Dr. Martens at the store, and now I love to wear my skirts and dresses with them. Boy, did I miss out!
The final verdict
I give the Rosa Pattern a 10/10.
I give my Rosa Pattern Interpretation a 9/10.
The Rosa Pattern itself is easy to assemble, and the style works for an everyday capsule wardrobe. I love the no nonsense aspects of Janelle’s patterns; they are easy to follow with accompanying YouTube tutorials. They also feature pockets, and it is easy to “pattern hack” her dresses to add any personal details. This will not be my last Rosery Apparel pattern; I plan to try the Hazel Pattern next.
I really wanted my dress to have sleeves, but I’m not going to worry about it. After all, it has pockets! I am proud of myself for making this dress work despite missing out on many of the details I initially wanted.
Rosery Apparel, (2023). Rosery Apparel Rosa Dress. Retrieved from https://www.roseryapparel.com/shop/rosa-pattern-digital-4-14
Rosery Apparel, (2023). Rosery Apparel Hazel Dress. Retrieved from https://www.roseryapparel.com/shop/hazel-pattern-digital-4-14
Great save on the most recent dress! My jaw is still dropped open from your making the other beautiful dress with hand stitching. That would take perseverance and dedication. I guess a lot of dresses were made that way throughout history.
Thank you! It was during a time when I was frustrated with my old sewing machine and didn’t want to drop money on a new one yet. But, I learned a whole lot sewing by hand. It’s hard to believe that those beautiful dresses in 18th century paintings and earlier were all hand sewn!