Tartan Emery Dress


Hey everyone, how ya doing? Enjoying the first signs of spring? The dress I’m showing off today has been cut and waiting to be sewed since November! It was supposed to be my warm over-winter dress, but with this and that I just didn’t find the time to get it made. Although, it is still officially winter until the Spring Equinox on March 20th, and with this being England you can be certain there will be plenty more chances to wear it. I’m quite a cold person really, I always feel a chill so having a dress with long sleeves is something I’ve wanted for ages, but is missing from my wardrobe. My colleague Paul, (who gets away with statements like this because he’s really funny), says, the trouble with women is that they are either too hot, or too cold, and never the right temperature. Do you think he is right? Well you know what they say about cold hands, is that you have a warm heart. Either that or you need to knit a pair of gloves.

Anyways, over to the dress. I wanted something smart but casual enough to wear to work. My workplace is really relaxed about dress code luckily, so I can get away with wearing what I like. I often start early, at 7am, and it takes awhile for the office to heat up, so this little number should keep me cosy on those chilly mornings.

Christine Haynes Emery Dress

Project Stats

Fabric: A poly/cotton blend from B&M Fabrics with a little stretch
Cost: Fabric £4 metre, zip £2.50, Bias tape £1 – all in £15.50
Pattern: Christine Haynes Emery Dress Sewing Pattern
Time: Sewn up over a weekend
Difficulty: No sweat

Christine Haynes Emery Dress

The Pattern

The Emery dress needs no introduction. It’s a tried and tested favourite with so many bloggers, erm Sarah from A million Dresses likes it just a tad! I think I’ve seen so many versions of this dress curiosity just got the better of me and I needed to try it for myself.

Christine Haynes Emery Dress


I picked up this tartan after cooing over my stepsisters tartan dresses she wore to death this winter. Now she is 18 I might just have to pass the baton of coolest person in the family over to her because she is so trendy and in to fashion in a massive way. I guess once you get to 30, you kind of transcend cool. It’s something for the youngsters to cling to whilst still finding out their identity right? Even though I’m in to making my own clothes, I like to think I do it more for the creative process, than for any kind of desire to look cool or be different. I’ve got the confidence now, to not give a crap what anyone else thinks, which I guess in turn leads to greater individuality, and coolness! Well I like to think so anyway.

Sizing / modifications


I made a size 12 without making any modifications apart from taking 4 inches off the hem and it turned out spot on. If I was going to pick fault I think it gapes a little at the back neckline, but it’s a minor point. The dress is so comfy, and even passes the massive lunch test.

Garment Assembly

Tack It Pattern Marker

The bodice

If you’ve made dresses before, Emery is a pretty standard method, with excellent instructions to follow. I started by marking the pattern pieces carefully, and used a new gadget for this. My mum gave me a Singer Tack It pattern marker which she found in the charity shop she volunteers in. It’s all in its original packaging, with instructions, and I’d guess is from the 60s or 70s. It’s like a stapler that you use with carbon paper, and it transfers pattern marks on to both sides of the fabric. It’s really easy to use, and because it’s felted on the bottom, it glides really easily when you need to move it about. It’s a nifty little tool to have, and I’m happy with how accurate my darts look on the finished garment. I was most impressed that after all these years, the original carbon paper still worked!
Christine Haynes Emery Dress

The Skirt

After finishing the bodice, and the bodice lining, I moved on to the skirt, which included 2 in seam pockets. The skirt is then gathered using 2 rows of loose machine basted stitch. I usually just gather by eye, and hope for the best. Is there a more technical method that any of you use to make sure the gathers are equal?

Christine Haynes Emery Dress

Finishing the inside

Look how tidy it is! I’m so happy with the inside of this garment. I think the red I used for the lining, along with the red overlocker thread really compliment the fabric. Honestly, these little things just make me so happy each time I look at it. Plus, check out my bias bound hem. If ever I get dressed in the dark, and go out with my dress inside out, it’s a little bit less of an embarrassment when it looks this good.

Christine Haynes Emery Dress

Emery Dress Bias Hem

Emery Dress Bias Hem

General happiness rating

I finished the dress last Tuesday, and since then have worn it three times, so I think you can say I’m pretty besotted with it. I find that the fit is really flattering, and this makes me feel comfortable and at ease in it, which says a lot about how successful your makes are. I think I’ve found out why this pattern is so popular, and I’m sure I’ll be coming back to it sometime.

Looking back over these photos, I can see that my garden needs a massive tidy. No that’s not a euphemism…or is it? I guess I’ll have to give up some sewing time to get that sorted, but if I think about getting prettier blog pictures, then I guess that’s an incentive.Happy sewing everyone!

Amy xx

One thought on “Tartan Emery Dress

  1. Jasmine

    Ha ha ha! That last paragraph made me chuckle! I am loving the dress though, I am so envious your wardrobe must be awesome! Still trying to sew a bag! I think sewing is not really my forte will stick to cooking! Perhaps you should enter the next Great British Sewing Bee? I do love that programme. Can’t wait to see what you make next! x
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