Lonsdale in Mocha

Gosh, I love this dress.

The minute I put it on, I knew it would become a regular rotation summer dress. Next summer.

Back when I first bought the Lonsdale pattern, I envisioned a Riviera-inspired garment and found a lovely linen-rayon blend in a perfect Mediterranean blue. It was even more gorgeous in person than it looked online, but alas, was much heavier than the described “shirt-weight”. I’m glad I changed direction.

I’ve been taken with all the head-to-toe neutral-palette dressing trends the last couple years. Skin-toned garments have a certain unexpected glamour. (Apparently, fashion is revisiting pantyhose as well, although as the more fetchingly named “nude-colored tights”. My memories of pantyhose in the 80s are not good, nail-polish-fixed runs and all.)

This was one of my favorite inspiration images from last winter.

I love how she put these all together and how the effect plays off her complexion. Yes, I get lost browsing Lookbook posts. And that cable-knit bustier totally rocks.

I thought the Lonsdale would be perfect interpreted this way, since it has such unique neckline and so much fabric going on. For me, too much print or bold color would turn it into a special occasion dress and I wanted a oh-I-just-threw-this-old-thing-on bit of surprise.

I was lucky to find some bargain cheap rayon challis in a milky coffee color. I will have to be very careful when washing, since the fabric seems to want to pill the minute I look at it. I like rayon/viscose challis as an alternative to drapey silks, but quality really does vary. But it’s so soft and comfy.

The back:

I didn’t want exposed seam allowances on the ravel-y rayon, so worked out how to sew the zipper within the lining. I have a RTW dress which is lined much like the Lonsdale and features a centered zipper so I knew it was do-able. The lining and inner waistband have to be cut a little bit differently, and the order of construction is changed a bit, but I found the process to be quite easy. (I also took some construction pictures along the way in case it might help someone else–a future post!)

I finished the skirt with French seams and tried out my blindstitch foot for the first time on the hem. After trying to hand-stitch for about ten inches, I realized I’d be at hemming all day (it’s a lot of skirt). I’ve been afraid of that machine foot for some reason, but it was much easier than I thought.

The pockets are such a cool little detail. I actually stuck my hands in them all day, making it feel like a really functional dress, too.

The fit was pretty perfect right out of the envelope–Sewaholic’s fit and sizing is more or less made for my shape so I really look forward to more of her patterns if the styles suit my aesthetic. I made a quick muslin out of rayon scrap to test out the bodice and only had to take in a little bit around the neckline to prevent gaping. I love its almost-maxi length, hitting above the ankles, which makes it perfect for flats or heels.

Overall, I think the Lonsdale pattern is a very lovely style and except for some acrobatic fidgeting in order to tie the bow in the back, it’s incredibly easy to wear. It’s also one of the better drafted patterns I’ve made this year, both in terms of technical draft and proportional balance.


  1. Amy says:

    For some reason this post didn’t show up in my reader. But, I’m glad I found it since I love your version of the Lonsdale! My Lonsdale is definitely a bit more of a garden party sort of dress than a fun, light summer dress. Next summer I’ll have to bring the pattern out again and use your airy version for inspiration. Your batch sewing seems to have paid off. You’ve been cranking through the finished projects lately. I wish I had more time these days. Falls are always so busy at work, leaving very little time for sewing. Good luck with whatever’s next!

    • Amy says:

      Thanks so much, Amy. I really love this dress and am having fun wearing it. I feared the post didn’t show up. Google did a weird cache with my feed when I tried to refresh it. I’d deleted an earlier version of this that wasn’t ready. Anyhoo, I liked that this dress had so many interpretations and that can be either really shapely in a crisp fabric or really drapey in something like this. I love the way skirt falls and swooshes about in this fabric. And yep, I’m still at it on the project and it’s nice to just be able to sew without any fitting or pattern cutting at the moment. You’ll have sewing periods again! I get too busy at the holidays to sew so I’m trying to cram it in!

  2. stephanie says:

    Your dress is insanely beautiful and classic. That color is unexpected and lovely on you.

    I have a heavy-ish bright blue linen that I would love to use for this dress, but I can see that a softer, lightweight fabric would be much better.

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