Marissa’s Harwood and Nicola Dresses

Hi everyone! Today I’d like to show you my versions of the Harwood and Nicola dresses. We developed the two patterns simultaneously due to their similarities, and after much deliberation I still can’t pick a favourite!

I’ve made both dresses in a size 0 with very few alterations, mostly just in length. I absolutely love the silhouette of these skirts! They flow so beautifully and are incredibly flattering.

Nicola Dress

The Nicola shown here was my second attempt at the dress for myself. I have decent luck with most of our patterns straight out of the envelope, so I didn’t bother making changes the first go-around. Unfortunately, I was swimming in fabric, and decided to remove a little length from the bodice this time. Its amazing what difference a small change can make in fit!

Nicola Dress

Normally I wouldn’t gravitate towards a style as dressy as the Nicola, but I will be wearing this all fall! It’s such an easy dress to throw on in the morning and still looks very sophisticated and a little ’70s. This one is done in a poly print from Telio. It was found in the Sewaholic office stash, and I’m so happy that we rediscovered it in time! Undecided still on how I feel about tie belts on me…this one in particular is very slippery as a result of the fabric choice.

Nicola Dress

I decided to make up my Harwood dress in a (very) wrinkly mid-weight linen which creates some extra volume in the skirt. It’s hard to believe these skirts are the same!

Harwood Dress

This one became my go-to summer outfit instantly, but I’ll be making a few more alterations in the bodice next time. I’ve just started on my next Harwood in a lighter weight cotton-linen blend, and am tweaking the fit in the yoke to accommodate my narrow shoulders.

Harwood Dress

So there you have it! Both of these dresses have quickly found a place in my life. I am hoping to make one more Nicola in a hunter green silk by the time the holiday season rolls around. I may be getting ahead of myself, but I think it will be the perfect Christmas dress!

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16 Responses to Marissa’s Harwood and Nicola Dresses

  1. francesca August 17, 2015 at 6:11 am #

    Your dresses are beautiful. And they look so different!
    I think I’d prefer a plain black leather belt. Personally I’m not a sash person but I find when I wear them I don’t like print on print. Leather or a non-slippery fabric belt would move much less…

    • Marissa August 17, 2015 at 11:38 am #

      Thanks Francesca! I agree, its easy and fun to mix things up with different belts…in fact I don’t even mind the look of this dress without any belt!

  2. Lana August 17, 2015 at 10:15 am #

    Love these!! The longer sleeve is great for the eventual transition to Vancouver Fall weather.

  3. Ledys August 17, 2015 at 10:23 am #

    Love your dresses, Marissa! I think I like belt for everyday and sash for when you need to be more dressy. I have even used ribbon in the past, with surprisingly cute results :-) any tips for sewing with poly fabrics? Thanks!

    • Marissa August 17, 2015 at 11:45 am #

      Thank you. You’re right, the tie belt does look more dressy! If you’re trying this dress in poly, definitely take care not to let your pieces stretch out. Work slowly and lie the pieces flat until everything is done! It also makes a huge difference to wait a full 24 hours before hemming, although it’s hard to be that patient!

  4. Annette August 17, 2015 at 10:43 am #


  5. Carol Ann August 17, 2015 at 11:23 am #

    Love them both! You look stunning!

    Is the linen you used light weight or medium weight? I have some linen in a nice light blue and would like to give it a try before we run out of summer!

    • Marissa August 17, 2015 at 11:46 am #

      Thank you Carol :)
      I used a medium weight linen for this Harwood, but both light or medium weights would work beautifully! Light blue sounds lovely!

  6. Jan Anderson August 17, 2015 at 1:08 pm #

    Can both of these styles transfer nicely to larger and plus size body types. It would be nice to know. I love the flowing of the material used.

    • Marissa August 17, 2015 at 1:38 pm #

      Both of these patterns include sizes 0-20, and the elastic waistbands makes it easy to get a great fit. We think the style is flattering on every size!

  7. Diane August 17, 2015 at 11:37 pm #

    I have a bit of a pot…how does this style suit a fuller figure around the hips and tummy?

    • Marissa August 18, 2015 at 8:14 am #

      These dresses both have a lot of volume in the skirt which is really flattering over full hips. Plus the elastic waistband and tie belt create a nice silhouette by cinching the dress in at the waist. I think this style would work well on you!

  8. Juliette August 27, 2015 at 7:28 pm #

    Wow – I just put up a review on Pattern Review of the Nicola. I’m amazed to note that I did the same as you – I shortened the bodice and the length and found it quite 70’s when I was wearing it. I hadn’t read your post at all before I wrote my review. I’m a totally different size to you but interesting that we had similar reactions to it. I find when I look at my photos that I look very highwaisted in it but it is sitting on my waist (or my smallest measurement in that area). I do think I’ll take less off the bodice next time and it might sit a little lower and look better visually. It is a really comfy dress though. Haven’t bought the Harwood as yet.

    • Marissa August 28, 2015 at 8:12 am #

      Juliette – It’s funny that you say that because after wearing my Nicola a few more times I think I’m going to add a tiny bit of length back into the bodice as well! Elastic waists are pretty forgiving, but I think with this particular style getting the length spot on makes all the difference. I’m glad you’re liking the pattern :)

  9. Susan C January 20, 2016 at 7:37 am #

    Have you ever tried the Harwood dress with a short sleeve?


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