As the owner of a fabric store that specialises in viscose, it should come as no surprise that I like big swishy skirts. The first two patterns that I truly loved – the Penny Dress and the Betty Dress by Sew Over It – both have full circle skirts. I always feel a bit more graceful in something swishy.
I came across the Senna Dress by Schultz Apparel on Instagram. It’s a reasonably loose fitting dress with a pleated midi length skirt, curved waistline and a high neckline. There’s an optional waist tie if you prefer a fitted look; I have added this into all of my Senna Dresses.
Fitting the dress is reasonably easy, however, if you have a full bust as I do, I recommend making a toile of the bodice. In my fist Senna dress, I had some gaping around the side of the armhole, while the armhole itself was a little low for my liking. Reasonably easy to fix on paper (I pivoted out the gaping in the bust, as per instructions in the Reader’s Digest guide to sewing, and raised the armhole) but almost impossible to do neatly on a final garment. I made a straight size 12, with no adjustments other than those mentioned above.
The fabric I used for this Senna is a Lise Tailor viscose called Matriochka. Matriochka is not as papery this as some viscoses can be, so it does not wrinkle excessively. The drape is excellent, great for the skirt, It’s breathable too, which we definitely need in summer! (As a side note, I’ve made three Senna dresses now – one in Matriochka, one in a viscose poplin, and one in a viscose twill. The viscose poplin behaves exactly as Matriochka, and the viscose twill is a bit more elegant – the weight of the fabric gives it slightly better drape.)
Overall, I love this pattern. I am yet to get the fit on the bodice completely perfect, but I think that is more to do with fluctuations in my shape rather than the pattern itself. I love how the pleats give the skirt fullness without bulk. For all three of my Senna Dresses, a prefer to tie the waist ties in the front rather than the back as I find it slightly more flattering. On my short torso, ties at the neck and waist are a bit too much, so I replaced the neck ties with a rouleau loop and button.