The Admiraal Dress by the Eli Monster

shawl collar double button dress

It's been a year since I first tested a pattern for the Eli Monster. In that year I've tested a whole host of dress and top patterns, two were even for me! So it seems fitting to test yet another dress in a beautiful design, the Admiraal dress.

blue girls dress with side zip

I always seem to learn something new when testing for Steph. This time, after getting frustrated with the shoulder seams still not lining up on the shoulders of my daughter, I thought I'd look into it further. I was, mistakenly, thinking it was the pattern drafting, but looking further into it, it was happening with everything I made for her, with some styles being more pronounced than others. In this fit pic I'm pointing to her shoulder tip, you can also clearly see the shoulder seam is far back towards her back.

shoulder tip in wrong place

Cap sleeves have always been a little bit of a problem, often riding up because they are too tight on her shoulder tip. I assumed it was due to her strong shoulders from gymnastics, but I'm now leaning towards her back being wider than average. In this picture of the Rivier dress, you can just see the caps beginning to rise upwards and how tight they are...

pink and red check girls wrap dress

I did a bit of googling and came across a blog post about adjusting a women's bodice for a top, where the front was pulling high up to the neck, the back was pulling low off the neck, and the shoulder seams were back from the shoulders. It seemed remarkably close to the problems I have with Layla. The fix was to slash the back bodice to gain a little extra space across the back shoulders.

high rounded back adjustment

I couldn't believe the instant difference in fit it made! Suddenly the front wasn't pulling up high, the back wasn't pulling down low, the back shoulders weren't straining, and the shoulder seams were almost back in the correct place (certainly they were from the neck side). Fitting to a little girl can be a bore. She gets fed up with constant trying on of a 'not dress', so I had to work quickly, and that's why I take the pictures, so that I can refer back to them. She needed an extra inch of space to account for a large rounded back/shoulder.

back bodice fitting after high rounded back adjustment

I also did a small forward shoulder adjustment of half an inch at the shoulder end of the seam to account for her slightly rounded shoulders (I'm told this is a good thing in gymnastics as it means she is holding shape correctly for flicks and tumbles?!). In this picture you can see the slash adjustment to the paper pattern, with the extra paper behind to straighten the back piece back out. I also added extra length to the collar to account for the extra created in the back slash. The shaded area on the shoulder seam is the forward shoulder adjustment. All these took place to the working tester pattern.

slash adjustment to pattern

The rounded back, forward shoulder and taking the shoulders out to the next size up in the pattern, all contributed to getting a fully fitted, non-straining bodice for Layla, I think for the first time ever! As Steph said in the testing group, this is really going to make life easier in the future, knowing the adjustment I need to make.

Admiraal dress, pleated skirt

And so, here is the dress. I found the construction fiddly, and it seemed to take me a long time, but I've never made a bodice where the sleeves are enclosed within the main and lining. I love that neat finish inside around the sleeves! I'm not a fan of the way the side zip looks on the inside though. This is not the first pattern I have made with a similar construction (from a different designer), and I didn't like it then either. But after spending hours (literally, hours and hours) scratching my head, and trying out different methods, unpicking, and trying again, I couldn't really get anything to work any better? I'm guessing the only real way to make this side zip neat would be to do a lot of hand sewing, and I'm not really down with that!

Pleated skirt, double breasted button front girls dress

The Admiraal dress features a shawl collar, asymmetric double breasted buttons on the front bodice, a side zip, pleated skirt, and choice of either cap or half sleeves. I went for the half sleeve as I felt it balanced out Layla's shoulders a lot better than the little cap. I can't help but see the similarity to a nurses uniform from the early 1960's. Coincidentally, here are my tv viewing habits, with the nurses in London wearing a very similar style dress to the Admiraal.

shawl collar and button front girls dress

I made my version using some lovely light, soft, cotton that I found in a charity shop here last summer. I'd intended to make myself a shirt or blouse, but that never happened. It seemed like the perfect subdued print for a vintage style dress.

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*Disclaimer: Some of the links in the post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission (the price stays the same for you) which will help me in the future to buy more patterns to share them with you!*

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