Hello everyone, and happy Friday! It's bright and sunny here today in #yyc but still quite cool when the wind hits you. The air is fresh, things are turning green and starting to bloom, so it feels like spring. Bring on the light floaty dress weather! As you have probably heard/seen/read, Kelli (of True Bias) has released a new dress pattern! I was lucky enough to be asked to be a pattern tester for this dress, and it was a welcome break for me in between all my jeans sewing. I have been fortunate enough to have pattern tested for Kelli once already, and I really loved the experience. It's pretty cool to get a sneak peek of a pattern before it's released, but it's also cool to see how a pattern is re-adjusted after the designer has gotten a bit of feedback. I really like being a part of the process. Plus I have loved all of Kelli's patterns so far, so I had no doubts that I would love this one too! Anyway, if you are anything like me, you are probably wanting to see what it looks like on as many bodies as possible, so I made sure to get some photos last week so I'd be ready to post shortly after the launch.
It was pretty chilly outside when John took these picture of me, plus the sun was in my face so I'm a bit squinty-eyed. Once again that didn't bother Shanny a bit, and she was happy to get into the photos too.
The fabrics suggested for this pattern are lightweight wovens; my first instinct was to reach for a light-weight cotton, but I decided to up the ante a little and go with a rayon challis. I don't have a lot of experience with sewing slippery fabrics, so I'm trying to challenge myself a bit in that area. Plus rayon makes for a lovely, flowy summer dress. Anyway, this particular fabric came from "the Man Outside Sainsburys" at Walthamstow Market in London. Not only was I a little out of my comfort zone with sewing this fabric, it's also not in my usual colour palette (do I even have a colour palette? Good question.). I don't wear off-white or cream very often because it washes me out, but this fabric with the bright coloured flowers is really growing on me.
I made a straight size ten, which I chose based on my measurements. I didn't make any alterations at all (I didn't even have to shorten it!), and I think the fit is pretty spot on. In looking at these photos, I think it might be just a touch big in the shoulders, but I'm not sure it's really worth messing with as I think it's pretty close. For reference my Sutton blouses are a size 8.
I really love the drawstring waist, and how it gives some shape and blousey-ness to the dress. I also love the little button placket and the pockets. Kelli is always really great at adding in little details that make a simple garment special. One of the coolest details, which you can't really see in the photos, is that there are bartacs above and below the pocket opening for extra security. It's a small thing, but I think it looks really neat and professional. If I make this dress in a solid colour, I would be tempted to match the button colour, buttonholes, and bartacs in a contrasting thread, and if you wanted to get really bold you could do the topstitching in the same colour. I think that would just add a little something extra.
The instructions for this dress are very clear and straight-forward, although I did space out a little when making my drawstring casing. Looking back at it though, I know that was my lack of reading, not the instructions. Kelli had done a really thorough job with the instructions and definitions of techniques, and it's great that she always includes diagrams. This pattern is rated as Intermediate, and I would agree with that suggestion. It's a bit tricky working with slippery fabrics and making buttonholes and what not. That being said, I definitely think an adventurous beginner could tackle this dress (especially with the upcoming sewalong). Besides, I look at ratings as just a guideline, if you break everything down into small steps it becomes much easier, and intermediate patterns become less daunting. Whenever I am a bit nervous about a new pattern, I give it a practice go. Sort of like a muslin because it allows you to see fit issues, but I like to do all the finishing too so that you can try out any new techniques. And with any luck it will turn out to be wearable (but that's not always the case). There are some cheapie/clearance fabrics in my stash solely for this purpose.
I should also mention, that since I made this version, Kelli did some fine tuning with the fit. She lowered the armholes and the bodice a touch and then she lowered the hemline for version A (this version) by about an inch. As you can see the length is perfect on me, but would probably be a touch short for those of you without lollipop guild status.
I see this dress as being an easy summer staple with sandals or clogs, but for now I'm pairing it with boots and my favourite cropped denim jacket (which in my opinion goes with everything - although the hubs does not feel the same). And to be honest, the weather here still calls for tights. I was also thinking that you could layer it over a Nettie for an added layer of warmth in the fall/winter. Just a thought...
So this post has gotten a little fan-girly, but what can I say? I love True Bias patterns! Also side note, and total coincidence: I used to be a dental assistant, and the office I worked at (and still go to for dental work) is called Southport Dental. Anyway, right now Kelli has this pattern on sale for 25% off. I think the sale goes until April 26th, so if you are interested in this pattern head on over to her website for more details and the discount code.