Fen in the Botanical Gardens


The Fen Dress has been on my radar since it was released, but I didn’t purchase it until last year and then I promptly printed it at my local copy shop and added it to my spring/summer ‘to sew’ list.


Spring got away from me, and technically summer did too… but as it was still very warm in Melbourne in mid March, Fen was the perfect dress for a sewing garden party.  The invitation to the Sew Melbourne Garden Party read:

Sew your prettiest dress and come and join us for a lovely picnic in the park. Hosted at the Stapley Pavilion in Kings Domain, the Sew Melbourne Garden Party is the newest event on the sew-cial calendar. Pack yourself a picnic and join us for a wonderful day full of sartorial splendour, games and old-fashioned frivolity.


My vision for the event was to make a maxi length Fen Dress.  As this was a new-to-me pattern and a new-to-me style, I decided a toile was in order.


Boy do toiles give you a load of information.  A maxi length Fen looked average on me, pinned to a midi it was frumpy and, low and behold, showing some leg felt very me!  I therefore reverted to the skirt pattern pieces as drafted and opted for the high low hem.


My toile also showed that I would benefit from sizing down.  To keep the waist in the position of my toile, I measured the difference between the size 6 and size 8 bodice lengths and added 3/8″ (1 cm) to the size 6 at those very helpful shorten/lengthen lines.  Too easy!


With the bodice length modification, a minor bringing-in of the neckline (approx 3/8″ or 1cm on each shoulder seam), the gentle waist shaping (front and back waist darts), pockets and an awesome printed viscose, Fen and I are great friends.

DSC_9154 (1)


I wasn’t the only Fen at the Garden Party.  Rachel sewed one too.  Great minds and all that!  Speaking of other Fen’s see also… Bombazine (black), Bombazine (patterned), The Drapery and Randomly Happy.


True to form, my Fen was sewn at the last minute.  My excuse was… I had two dresses to make for the Sew Melbourne Garden Party.  Sharon, my bestie and talented Blogless Anna photographer, attended too.  I sewed Sharon a gorgeous (if I do say so myself!) purple linen dress ( here and here) based on a favourite RTW dress of hers.


Thanks Abby, Jane & Libby (on left) for a fabulous Garden Party.  I can’t wait for the next Sew Melbourne event.













Pattern:  Fancy Tiger Craft’s Fen Dress
Size:  6
Fabric:  Viscose from Rathdowne Fabrics
Alterations:  Added 3/8″ (1cm) to the bodice length, reduced the width of the neckline by 3/8″ (1 cm) on each shoulder seam and stabilised the pocket openings
Accessories:  Antique beads and shoes from Siricco (purchased several years ago)
Location: Botanical Gardens, Melbourne


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  • Hi Anna, I am loving your colourful dress, I just wondered if your ordered the PDF version and had it printed at Office Works? I have never bought a PDF pattern, not sure how you save it. I will do some investigation. Thank you for sharing.

    • Hi Marie. I did buy the PDF pattern, but I always get my PDF patterns printed at my local Copy Shop (Ivanhoe Copy Centre) rather than Officeworks. I’ve heard that Officeworks is okay for printing A0 patterns… but they are a bit hit and miss with other wide format continuous length patterns (like the Tessuti ones). When you buy a PDF pattern you will receive and email with a download link to the files. There are often separate files for pattern and the instructions (they are usually clearly labelled). Save these files onto your computer and then copy them to a USB stick. You take the latter with you when you get them printed. I hope this helps. Anna

  • Ooo la la! I love the fabric. Simple, chic–so you!

  • You always choose such gorgeous colours. That looks like a great day out…so much beautiful detail in your photographs.

    • Thanks Katherine… when it comes to colour I like to wear all the colours all at once! It was such a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon. I’m looking forward to the next Sew Melbourne event.

  • I loved this on you so much, the colours & style are perfectly you! Good call on the length too! Some lovely pics here, especially the one of Jane and her parasol

    • I’ve already worn the dress to a second event… which is always a good sign. I love that photos of Jane too. I can’t take credit for most of the photos… they are Sharon’s handywork.

  • Lovely frock and great photos! It was such a lovely day, despite the heat! As always I look forward to trying it on! Cute little gaggle of Genoas too!

  • Such a lovely dress, love the colours. The garden party looks amazing!

  • Lovely dress, beautiful photos. Looks like a wonderful afternoon.

  • Great fen, good call on the hemline – looks fab. Garden party looks like fun, I see we are going to try something similar here next month ;o)

  • It’s a gorgeous dress Anna. Well done.

  • Another lovely dress! I’ve seen this made up a few times and it’s becoming tempting. Especially in a fabulous print like yours xx