Apparel · Sewing

Spring and Folk: The Tamzin Dress

Hello all!

When I woke up this morning and looked outside, I was greeted with the prettiest early morning sunshine rays peeking through my window.

Unfortunately, I was too out-of-it and barely woken up enough to have the sense to take a picture. Also, I just wanted to enjoy it alone, as a private moment. I honestly haven’t had many of those opportunities to myself in a long while. It was nice. Sigh.

With all the sun and less rain, gloom, and gray, it is most definitely Spring where I live. Not that I don’t love rain, gloom, and gray, but I am quite happy to welcome sunshine and rainbows. What I am NOT happy to welcome back is my allergies. Gahhh!

My meager attempts at poetry. I’m better at sewing.

But despite that, it doesn’t stop me from sewing my latest, the Tamzin dress from By Hand London. As reads from their website:

Tamzin is the quintessential folk dress that will have you twirling through summer year after year! Featuring an ornamental square neckline, princess seams, two different waist tie options, full 3/4 length sleeves and a gathered skirt – both with a satisfying tuck detail. Even better, the neckline is finished with an external facing, so you can have all the fun in the world experimenting with embroidery or beading to create a beautifully embellished neckline.

–By Hand London, on the “Tamzin Dress”

I was excited to get started sewing this one. I was really drawn to the tuck details on the sleeve and skirt. And I happened to have this really cute floral print lawn that I thought would work great with the “folksy” feel of the dress.

Fabric Info: Robert Kaufman Sevenberry: Petite Garden Lawn in Blue

For the Tamzin dress pattern, you can get it printed or on PDF. I went with the PDF version, and FYI (JKLMNOP….ha!), this print-at-home takes up quite a few pages of paper (amost 60 pages!) But I guess if compared to a regular tissue pattern, this would make sense. I was just shocked because it was the first time I’ve printed out such a large pattern overall. Anyways, I also had some issues with putting it all together, although I think this is due solely to my printer and not the pattern itself.

My pattern pieces would not line up properly the first time I placed them. I ended up putting the whole pattern together as one huge piece, and then cutting each individual part away from each other and re-taping it together to match up the lines. It was so tedious that I had to take a break and come back to it later on when my patience filled up again, but I got it down eventually and finally got everything ready for sewing!

All my pattern pieces lined up and ready to go! The skirt pieces were draped over my chairs, and not in the picture

Directions for the sewing the Tamzin are very well-written and Easy Peasy to follow! However, I always appreciate it when someone does a video because it makes it even more easier to follow. Esther K of Nine to Stitch has a really great Tamzin Dress Sew-Along-Video on YouTube if you’d like to check it out. But this dress seemed so easy because it’s basically just straight-line sewing with the exception of the back-neck curve and the shoulders for the sleeves. Another great thing is that this is a pull-on dress: no zippers or fasteners to sew on!

The Tamzin has this great external facing that you can decorate however you want to give your dress unique character. But I skipped embroidering on this version because the floral print is already so busy.

I was going to do a flat-sleeve sew because, ugh, in-set sleeves. But I know that I need to get over my aversion to sewing them once and for all if I ever want to get better at it, so I sewed them as the directions stated. Long story short, it took me double the time and double the trouble it would have normally taken to sew them had I not been such a doo-doo brain and placed the sleeves inside the bodice CORRECTLY.

Yes guys…I am the idiot who put the sleeve in the bodice USPIDE DOWN.

I mean, my notches were lining up, and the picture shown in the directions was clear enough, but for some reason, the picture was registering wrong in my mind because when I put it in I had the hardest time thinking of how to pin it together and which direction I was going to sew them. That should have been my first big hint that I had already screwed up, right?? Well, when I thought I had it down, I went to sew the sleeve to the bodice, and you can just guess what happened. The shoulder was down at the armpit and the under sleeve was at the shoulder. (Yes, I am THAT bad at sleeves. I told you so!) I know…

So out comes my seam ripper and I go for round two. That is when my brain finally registered that I was putting the sleeve in the wrong direction. When I put it in the correct way, the clouds suddenly parted and it was so easy to pin up and sew at the machine.

Good golly jeebers, Gilly.

The sleeves ended up turning out better than expected, so all is good.

For the skirt, attaching it was easy enough. You do the same steps to make the tucks on the sleeves as you do on the skirt, then gather the top with baste stitches (I used the dental-floss method for quick gathers), and then attach it to the bodice. Once you’ve done that, you are done!

My finished Tamzin Dress

I had a lot of fun sewing this dress. The cotton lawn gives it such a light, airy feel. I didn’t feel the need to line this one. The lawn is not too sheer and the all over floral pattern helps too!

I had actually finished this dress a couple weeks prior, but Easter Sunday was the first time I actually got to wear it out. I took this pic as we were getting ready to go to church.

One thing I wish I could change was the decision to shorten the bodice. The original dress has a little bit of a long torso, and I wanted the dress to hit closer to my ribs like an empire waist. After taking off an inch from the bodice, I did achieve an empire waist, but it fits slightly too high for my liking. I think if I had just left the bodice length the way it was, it would have still been ok. Oh well.

Also, because the print is so busy, the tucks in the arms and skirt are a little harder to see (in photos, anyway). Next time I’m going to make this in a solid color so the details really stand out.

But I truly love this dress! It has some ease, so it’s very easy to pull on and off despite not having any zippers or buttons. I like that.

I was able to take some family pics at church wearing it:

This is a really beautiful dress. If you get a chance to sew this, go for it!

My ratings for the Tamzin Dress:

Spool Rating:🧵🧵🧵🧵🧵

Five spools for ease of wear, easy directions and sewing process, and the wonderful tuck detailing. Definitely a “sew-again” dress for sure!

Happy Sewing,


2 thoughts on “Spring and Folk: The Tamzin Dress

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