Emma's True Bias Shelby Romper

Hi there, you may or may not have heard of me but I’m Emma and I am aka Sew Do It Emma, primarily on Instagram and Youtube. 

I’ve been making my own clothes since 2016 but it’s only been since 2019 that I’ve really grown my confidence whilst sewing my me-made wardrobe.

Sew Sew Sew UK has been a firm favourite of my online shopping experience and lately it has me checking out the new and sometimes all the stock regularly.  I say Katie has caught me hook, line and sinker for some of the fabrics she has got in stock.

Katie reached out to me after I shared my Carmel Jumpsuit in the black and white dotty viscose.  I bought this ages ago from her, I think this was one of my first purchases and i'm baffled as to why I hadn’t used it sooner.  So as the conversation went on, Katie asked me if I’d ever be interested in writing a blog post in return for the fabric - how could I not say yes?

I had two firm favourites and exact ideas as to what pattern would be used for both fabrics.  I picked this gorgeous “Olivia” viscose and the pattern I had in mind was recently updated into a wider size range so I was really eager to try it out as I and the rest of the plus size sewing community had been patiently waiting on the re-release since the announcement - have you guessed?


Sage green viscose dressmaking fabric with flowers across it

The Shelby Dress / Romper by True Bias is now in the 14-32 size range.  I must be in some sort of Romper/Jumpsuit mood as I’ve very recently made the Carmel Jumpsuit by Nina Lee and have started sewing up another one which is currently on hold as I have a hundred other projects on the go and it’s somewhat summery!


I knew I wanted some drapey and opaque fabric for the Shelby Romper and I was pleasantly surprised when I received it as well as the Olivia viscose was so buttery.  It has a lovely weight to it and the handle was just amazing to sew with.  It has been the best viscose I’ve sewn up in a good while as it wasn’t shifting about whilst I was cutting it out.

Before cutting out any fabric, I look at the pattern especially since this was a pattern I hadn’t used or sewn up before.  I had to blend sizes from the bust to the waist and then grade out to the hip.  I use my trusty big French Curve every time I amend a pattern. For the Shelby Romper, this blending and grading had to be done four times as you have the front, and back, side-front and side-back pieces. I also blended and reshaped the facings.

Whilst cutting this out my vision of this Shelby was predominant and I had to make up a vision board.


Most fabrics, I use these days are cut with a rotary cutter and held down with pattern weights and this was not an exception.  You won’t see me cut with fabric scissors as I feel that moves the fabric and you tend to have to pin the fabric which takes up more time that I don’t want to waste.  I find that the rotary cutter is more precise than scissors but that’s my point of view.

With the pattern I’m quite surprised at how quick it was to sew up but cutting out the pattern took some time. Also it’s a fabric-hungry pattern as you have long pattern pieces to place on your fabric.  I’m not one for following the pattern layout guide. But I also screwed up the last big piece as I placed the 2nd last the wrong way and already had cut it out.  Thankfully the floral design didn’t really have any direction going on either so I was saved.  Big sigh of relief, in fact huge.


Like I said earlier, sewing up the romper wasn’t as bad and long as I had thought, the instructions to sew it up were really good as with all True Bias patterns I’ve sewn.  I’d like to try the short version of the Romper next year as well as the dress views.

I’m really pleased with the finished romper.  The fabric reminds me of something that I’ve seen in Monsoon (a UK Ladies and Children’s clothing store) and also it’s a bit of a spin-off of a William Morris print.

Although the pattern notions state for 6, I used 5 of the “Nightshade" shirting buttons from Pigeon Wishes and it seems to work fine.  I did shorten the bodice length as I’m 5’3 and the pattern is drafted for 5’7 but I think I will add an inch back in from the 2 that I removed.  This might help get it off my shoulders when I need to go to the toilet.  Although I can’t really amend this Shelby Romper, I can on future versions.  I also added a couple of labels - it just underlines how I feel about the whole entire make.



Once again, I just have to say that this Olivia Viscose was a dream to sew up and can highly recommend using it for the Shelby Romper/Dress.  It could even make a great Carmel Jumpsuit too. 


My “Olivia” Shelby Romper got its reveal at the Sew Over 50 Frocktail with 20 minutes to spare before leaving the house to get ready - yes 20 minutes from the machine to get ready and out the door.  I don’t know how I did it but I did. And yes I had a fabulous time at the #SO50FROCKTAILS - it was such a lovely night.


** Emma was given the fabric and matching thread in exchange for this lovely blog post **

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