Our Fenchurch dress was born out of wanting to offer you a vintage inspired dress with a different neckline to what we have made previously. We wanted a neckline that gave you room to showcase a beautiful necklace but at the same time didn't flash any cleavage. It had to suit different bust types from fuller busts to smaller ones and bonus points if it could be worn dressed up or down for a variety of events. We weren't asking much were we!
For inspiration we turned to vintage sewing patterns and had a great afternoon flicking through my collection, pulling out favourites for a second look. The main style that featured in our selections was a cowl neck.
Aren't the vintage drawings just darling
A cowl neck ticked all of our boxes so I quickly got to work drafting a pattern to fit our standard UK 12. The skirt was easy to create; gathered, full and with large functional pockets. The tricky bit was getting the cowl right and choosing a sleeve style.
Mary in an early toile showing two different sleeves
We tried out a few sleeve styles from tulip to flutter and everything in between, but with the draping at the neck and the gathering at the waist we felt something simple worked best. But when we tried a plain short sleeve it felt too plain! After some further developing we landed on a short sleeve with a little a gather in the centre at the hem. It gives the sleeve a subtle curve which echoes the neck whilst the gather mimics the waist. Perfect! Now that we had the design and fit down on our standard UK 12, it was time to pattern and fit for our plus size customers.
Too often brands cut corners and grade all their sizes from a straight up and down small sample size, usually a UK 8 or 10 at most, which means they rarely fit well in any size above a UK 16/18. But not here at Revival Retro! You value great fit which is one of the reasons why we grade our 'mid sizes' from a fuller figured UK 12 and our 'plus sizes' from a UK 22. We want a fabulous fit whatever size you wear because everyone deserves comfortable clothes that make them feel confident.
The first toile was ready just in time for our Plus Size Clothing Consultation where it was tried on, critiqued, pinned and tweaked. The feedback we got was invaluable. Our consultation group told us where we needed to give a little extra room and where the proportions needed adjusting. Overall though it went down a treat!
Andi aka @MelodyMae in the very first 1950s/1960s inspired dress toile
After the consultation the pattern was adjusted and this time a sample was made in the Tencel fabric we would be using in production and posted to our lovely customer Robyn aka @WheelingAlong24. Here are snippets (personal information removed) of their feedback:
"Love the fabric, and the length is perfect (....) I think the cowl is a little high. I love the gathers at the shoulders, it’s a really cute detail. (...) Also the length of the zip is perfect, really really good zip."
Another round of pattern tweaking and we were ready to grade and sample with our factory in the actual Bramble print Tencel fabric. Tencel is still a relatively new fabric in the grand scheme of things but simply put Tencel is a type of rayon which is made from dissolved wood pulp that has been sustainably sourced. In production it requires less energy and water than conventional cotton and it's actually biodegradable! Along with great green credentials, it's also a very breathable fabric and feels beautiful against the skin which makes it a joy to wear.
You can read about the design process for the bramble print here
Once we had the official samples we couldn't wait to invite Andi back to try on the final product and because her input was so invaluable during the toile stages, we also asked her to model it for us!
You understand we all have to look at how to reduce our carbon footprint so initially we offered Fenchurch in sizes UK 28-UK 6 on a pre-order basis and only made (as with all of our Own Range they're made in UK, locally in London) what was ordered along with a couple of spares in case of exchanges. Only manufacturing what had been pre-ordered reduced the amount of waste in our clothing production. You can read more about pre-order here.
At time of writing we have a couple of sizes left which you can find here but we are currently in the sampling process for AW22 and SS23 so will have a full size run available again soon.
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We are very proud to offer such considered clothing for you to choose from and believe we give you style with integrity.
Sustainable vintage inspired clothing with inclusive sizing