Saturday, January 11, 2014

Go To Patterns - Casual Lady Dress

I liked the look of this one when it was released and bought it not soon after.  Lots of reviews saying how quick and easy and flattering this pattern is.

It took me a while to get around to making this - I did the pattern piecing, tracing, adjustments and cutting in a short time, then of course got distracted by other things.


Here is my first go at it.  Of course with my figure, this wasn't a quick and easy make at all.  I made the following adjustments:
  • A full bust adjustment
  • Added some extra width in the back (am not just large in the chest, I have big shoulders and a wide back - it's a winning combination...)
  • Added some length (not enough, from the looks of these pictures)
At that point, I sewed it up roughly (no facings, no finishing, long stitch) and tried it on.  HIDEOUS.  Like a big maternity sack thing.  In no way flattering or even comfortable.  I was kind of expecting this, as the difference between my waist and chest measurements is massive - like four Australian dress sizes.  Annoyingly, this is too much just to take off the side seams without some really odd results, so I added two darts in the front and two in the back to remove the excess where I really needed to remove it.  I also took the sides of the skirt part in from the hips down - I am fairly hourglass shaped but the future time is definitely larger than the elapsed, so I usually have to grade down a bit around the hips also.

You can see those darts better in the picture below:


I am not sure if those darts are as well executed as I might like.  They certainly add the right shape and remove the fabric as I expected, but the fabric doesn't really hang as I would like and so they look a bit obvious I think.

I am not sure whether that's because they are too long, too wide (I think too wide) or am just not used to darts in a fabric like this.  I think (from the shot below) that they should be slightly narrower and slight longer - to taper to nothing more effectively.


This poorly captured back shot shows what I mean about the darts looking awkward.  Not hideous (they actually look better in person than in these pictures) but not great either.

SO.  What do I think of this pattern?  I think I will always have fit issues with a dress and no dress pattern will ever prove me wrong :)  This pattern seems quite flattering and comes a lot closer to being something I will feel comfortable wearing than anything else I have made myself in a dress (this is the one exception - I LOVE this dress, though the style isn't really casual).  I imagine a few further small adjustments and this could really be a Go To pattern for me, so that's a plus.

I do think there are still some oddities in the dress (not sure if they are mine or the patterns).  If you look at the pictures of everyone else who has made this dress, there is a funny crease from the side of the arm to just above the breast.  I don't really have that crease but I do have a bit of an excess of fabric in that area (again - that bit could me but everyone else has a fitting weirdness in that spot also...).  You can see the excess in the picture below:


I am not sure what the deal is there.  I actually feel like the cap sleeve is a little tight so I might try and play with that (maybe turn it under again?) to try and release the tightness and also get rid of the fabric there.  It could well still be my FBA, which to me seems to sit a little low...I might also take it in a teensy bit more at the hip and thigh area, which could help with the dart draping.  I didn't press the side seam before these pictures, which makes it look more oddly hanging than it really is.

All up I think I would happily wear this dress as is, though I really want to sort out the back darts.  It's hot here today and I nearly wore it out, but I feel like just a little bit more effort when I get back tonight will nail it as a bit of a wardrobe staple.  Am already thinking of a few top versions, perhaps a colour blocked version and a winter heavy weight version for layering.  The GoTo bit seems an apt name in this case!


What do you think?  Flattering or in need of more work than I think?


  1. I think it actually looks quite flattering indeed. Hard to gauge though with the back... but to me it looks great. You sure have put in a lot of adjustments. Bravo to you I say.
    (I don't think you need to let it out at hip and thighs - it looks good in the photos)

    1. Thanks! I am slowly realising with my shape that there will never be a "super quick sew" pattern, regardless of what others say - not until I build up a set of TNT patterns I can reuse I guess.

      I already removed the back darts and took it in at the side seams a little and I think it's better, though there is still a bit of excess fabric in the back. My sewing class starts again on Thursday so I will ask the lady and post again I think!

  2. You look great in the dress and it doesn't look too short in the pictures but maybe that is the angle of the photos - because Im sure don't want to be showing your knickers every time you bend over - or maybe you do ;) I agree with Sally, the hips and things look fine - in fact I thought it was tiny bit loose around the hips???? Crikey, you have got me a bit worried about doing grown up clothes - all the adjustments are just plain scary!!!!

    1. Thanks! I should explain it isn't hemmed yet (I know people don't hem knits but I feel the need) so it might well end up too short. I will just have to do a very small hem! I think I wasn't clear - I was considering taking the dress IN more around the hips etc (I said "take some (fullness) out" which isn't really very clear at all!).

      You shouldn't be scared of grown up clothes - most people are NOT built like me ! I always expected making things would be hard (as buying standard off the rack is hard) but there are many people who just always make the vogue size whatever and have few, if any, issues. You might be one of them? :)