Summer of Dresses: The Emery Dress

Summer of Dresses: The Emery Dress

Welcome back to my summer of dresses! At the end of summer! Today I’m talking about the Emery Dress by Christine Haynes. I started writing this post in July, when I actually sewed this particular dress, but then we moved and my life was over. Just kidding. I’m fine. But seriously moving is the worst. We’re in our new house now (and by new, I really mean super old, because it was built in 1925) and I’m slowly but surely getting settled in.

I was initially going to just skip this dress and pretend the summer never happened on the old blog, but the Emery Dress is too good to be missed.  Designed by the incredibly talented Christine Haynes, the Emery Dress is a vintage inspired fit and flair dress with darts in the waist, bust and back shoulders for a fitted look and nipped in waist with a full gathered skirt and glorious pockets for added fabulosity.

I actually made my first Emery two years ago for my baby sister for her to wear for her engagement photos. Here she is in all her cuteness. She chose this fabulous print designed by Sarah Watts for Cotton and Steel. Hummingbirds!


I was pregnant at the time, and I almost made myself one to wear to her wedding, but obviously would have and to make several modifications. Not quite sure how to go about that, I emailed Christine Haynes and she gave me the best response! She told me to do a full bust adjustment, remove the waist darts, and shorten the bodice for a sort of empire waist that would be maternity friendly. I didn’t end up making the dress because my sister found a ready to wear dress for me, but I was so impressed that Christine responded with such helpful advice.  I thought I’d include that here for anyone who might want to make a bump-friendly Emery Dress.

Anyway, back to present day. I decided to make myself an Emery because I’ve been wanting one so badly ever since. But as pregnancy and nursing and all that jazz do strange things to one’s bod, I decided to wait until now.

I won a fantastic contest from fabric.com for last year’s Sewvember. (YAY!) With my store credit I chose this darling strawberry print in the navy colorway by Kim Kight for Cotton and Steel. (If you don’t like Cotton and Steel, you best look elsewhere. Because obviously I’m a bit of a fan girl for those guys.)

I sewed up my Emery just in time for the 4th of July!

And it’s love. This silhouette is my ultimate favorite for dresses. I love the vintage vibes and I just feel like it’s flattering on most people and so feminine.

This pattern is one of the most well-written patterns I’ve ever sewn. The directions are superb and extra clear. This is a more intermediate pattern because of the darts and the lining and invisible zip and all that stuff means lots of steps. Everything was easy to follow and understand. If you consider yourself a beginner apparel sewer but would like to tackle something a little more involved, the Emery Dress is a great pattern for you. It’s easy to follow and it’s also drafted really, really well.

Let’s chat about the modifications I made, and the ones I would make in the future. I would absolutely 100% recommend doing a muslin for this pattern. It’s supposed to be quite fitted and the better the fit, the prettier it will be. I chose not to do a muslin because I had tried on my sisters as best I could in my early pregnant state and I thought it would be fine. It is fine, but there are a few fit issues.

It’s not obvious to others probably, but my dress is too large in the shoulders and arm scye. I almost always have to size down in those areas and grade up in the bust and waist because I have a petite frame. My bust and waist measurements always put be in a larger size brackets (on account of the childbearing) but if I make the size I fall into it’s always too big. I believe my measurements put me at a 10, so I made an 8, and I still think I need to do a 6 in the shoulders and arms. But fit issues and all, I still love this sweet strawberry dress.

I also added length to mine, as the pattern falls at or just above the knee, and I like my skirts below the knee for all my baby chasing. Maybe I’ll shorten the sleeves a little next time, just for a different look. Or maybe I’ll do the long sleeves (the pattern comes with those!) There is also the option for a cute Peter Pan collar (and we know I’m obsessed with those) so I think that’ll be my next attempt.

I hope you liked reading about my experience making the Emery Dress. Check out the #emerydress on Instagram to see about a billion gorgeous version, and as always, let me know if you have questions! Happy sewing!