liesl’s wool flannel rush hour dress

When I’m designing a new pattern I always like to wear test it for myself. This helps me get a better sense for how it fits (with adjustments made for my own body), whether it’s comfortable, what to wear with it, which fabrics work best, and whether I want to make any changes as a result of my findings.

Testing it also gives me an extra chance to sew through the pattern so I can make improvements to the instructions. For example, when I sewed the new Rush Hour Dress for myself I realized how and when it would be best to make final fitting adjustments so you can accommodate any last-minute particularities in your fabric (extra stretch or drape, for example) before you finish assembling.

As it happened, I already had this beautiful gray wool flannel in my stash. (I purchased it as a bolt end during a trip to London a year or two ago.) And I’ve always wanted a gray flannel sheath dress since it’s such a versatile wardrobe piece. So off I went with it, checking the pattern and the directions as I sewed.

Wool flannel is ideal for this pattern. It’s got just enough drape and weight to hang perfectly. Wool crepe is also lovely, but there’s something about flannel that’s perfect. My next version of this dress, for summer, will be in either linen or a wool suiting, which I think will also be wonderful, especially in a tropical weight for summer.

As a side note, I always have to lower the waist by about 1″ when I sew for myself. I’m that long-waisted! Otherwise I can usually sew up a size 4 with mostly minor adjustments, but when a pattern is this fitted you really do want to take the time to make sure it fits exactly. But it’s easy to fit when you have princess seams! Take in a little here, let it out a bit there. I also have a sway back, so I need to sew deeper princess seams at the lower back as well. In the end it’s nice to have a dress that’s made precisely for your body.

I wore this dress all winter, and I wanted you to see this dress in a different fabric than the poly crepe we used for the photos on the cover, since you’ll get a different (better?) look with a less drapey fabric.

In a few days I’ll be back to show you some of the many, many ways you can wear this style. Sometime soon I’ll also show you how to change the neckline, too! V-neck, anyone?




  1. Elisabeth

    It’s beautiful! I love seeing it in a winter-weight fabric.

  2. Virginia

    This is a definite “must have” for me. It is the most versatile pattern I can imagine……totally different each time by simply adding a jacket, sweater, scarf…….etc. it will be well worth the time spent on perfecting a muslin.
    Thank you, Liesl

  3. Barbara

    Beautiful classic!

  4. Such a beautiful dress. I wish that exact dress was in my wardrobe right now. I’m just a little bit find of grey 🙂

  5. I just so happen to have some wool flannel suiting I picked up second hand … This is the type of dress I would wear all. the. time. Thank you! (Loved your styling post too! That one sent me here and I apparently missed this post earlier.)

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