Tea Dress/Nola Dress Review

My main lockdown make was the… Nola tea dress by Sew Mag.

To cut to the chase the free pattern and instructions can be found here:

One line take – gorgeous sleeves skirt and overall shape, however mine didn’t fit well around the shoulders.

The long story…

This year was spent at uni without a sewing machine, however I occasionally returned to my old habit of hunting out free sewing patterns creating a long page of bookmarks (some people have ‘make 9’ targets for a year, mine is probably more like ‘make 90’).

When lockdown arrived I was reunited with my sewing machine and first up was the Nola Dress (now renamed Classic Tea Dress by SewMag in order to link to GBSB round 1).

I liked the fit and flare design (check out the Sasha’s Wardrobe page to see some more..) and wanted to make something fitted and fancyish. A change from my hoodies, sweatshirts and jeans.

It ended up being a pretty mammoth project and was definitely challenging enough. One of the main sources of challenge was the lack of instructions (no fear for you guys SewMag has since published those free as well) so I had to work everything out as I went along. Normally that would be ok but this dress has 15 pieces with its floaty lined sleeve ruffles, lined bodice and invisible zip. It has 12 darts to sew too. Also my fabric, a gorgeous House of Hackney, was not exactly stretchy but slippery and the pieces would completely change shape if you held them by a different edge. This is partly why it flows so well for the finished skirt.

Another challenge was the fitting. I very rarely make a toile but the expensive nature and very fitted design of the dress convinced me otherwise. I nearly boldly went right into cutting an 8 but luckily measured around the waist and figured it would never fit so a long hunt resulted in this – SewMag’s pattern size guide. So I graded from a 10 bust to 12 waist. It is important to note that sizes run pretty small here so beware!

I spent awhile photographing the process so I hope to put up a photo tutorial some point soon… If you’d like that, please leave a comment 🙂


2 thoughts on “Tea Dress/Nola Dress Review

  1. Sasha this is lovely!!! You’ve brought together such a complicated pattern and made something so simple and beautiful!! Well done!


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