So, as I said in my last post, I have a few recent makes to share with you all. This one is a few weeks old now, but I had to wait to show it to you. I had the privilege of being a pattern tester for Pauline Alice's new pattern, the Cami dress:
Pauline put out a call on her blog a number of weeks ago for testers, and all she specified was that the pattern was a dress with a full skirt - so I knew there'd be a good chance I'd be interested! When she emailed me the PDF and I saw it was a shirt dress I gulped - sewing a dress with a collar was going to be a challenge for me, as I've never done it before. I needn't have worried - the dress sewed up like a dream, and in a matter of hours:
The Summerhouse dress, worn with Topshop wedges and a belt from a Bettie Page dress
The purple gingham is the last of my Paris fabric, sob! I bought a three metre coupon of this 60 inch wide 100% cotton gingham in one of the shops in Montmartre, and it has been waiting ever since on a project. I thought it would be a good fit for this pattern - the pinky purple gingham combined with the sweet shape of the pattern gives it a really vintage feel, I think. Also, I wasn't hugely attached to the fabric and as I was winging this without even muslin-ing the bodice, it minimised the risk. I'm a lucky wee bitch though, because it turned out pretty well I think!
I cut the size 38, which is great through the waist and across the shoulders. When I make this again, I'll bite the bullet and do a full bust adjustment because I'm fairly ample in that department, and I could do with more room around the buttons. It's nothing I can't live with and for an extra bit of security, I sewed a hook and eye in between the fourth and fifth buttons.
Still though, I'm pretty happy with my pattern matching on the old button placket there! I hope it makes up for the complete and utter lack of pattern matching on the sleeves.
I think Pauline has done a really great job with the pattern instructions. They're available in English, French or Spanish! Obviously I asked for them in English, and I found they guided me through the process of making and attaching the collar so seamlessly that I hardly even noticed I was doing it. I mean, my collar is far from perfect but for a first attempt, I think it looks pretty good! Pauline was also great about seeking and taking feedback. The skirt piece is a rectangle, and I didn't bother printing out that bit of the PDF because it was unnecessary, and I believe she has amended the PDF accordingly. In fact, the skirt was the only bit of the pattern I deviated from. I used the whole width of my fabric for the skirt pieces to make it extra full.
I'm not wearing a crinoline underneath this, but it could certainly accomodate one! You know how fond I am of pattern hacks, and I think this would look brilliant with a pencil skirt variation. Or a circle skirt! The dress has a side zipper so there are lots of possibilities.
Mainly I can't believe how quick it was to make this lovely dress. I think the most time-consuming bit was sewing on the buttons! On the note of the buttons - I didn't manage to get a close-up of them, but I love them. I won a big bag of them in a giveaway that Karen of Did You Make That held about two years ago, but never found the right project for them - so I'm very glad to have used some!
HOARDER FACE. Sorry you've had to wait so long to see them in action, Karen!
I had a total fail in that I forgot to get photos of the back of the dress - you can see some on Pauline's blog - but I really like the fact that the back bodice is just one piece. I don't really like back yokes on shirt-dresses and it's one of the things that put me off Gertie's otherwise lovely one. I think it's because I have a wrap dress with a similar feature and it really blouses out on me. I like the clean lines on this dress.
Anyway - I'm really thrilled to have been a pattern tester for Pauline, and to have had the chance to sew this pretty dress. The instructions really are a treat and while I'd probably class myself as intermediate these days, I think this dress would be suitable for an advanced beginner. Even someone a bit less confident could give it a go, as Pauline is going to be hosting a sewalong very soon. It's always a pleasure to see new independent designers publishing patterns, and I think Pauline has done a fabulous job with both the drafting and the writing - up there with some of my other favourite independent designers! I'm already looking forward to sewing some more of these dresses, and I'm eager to see what Pauline will do next.
Thank you, Pauline. You deserve every success with this beautiful pattern!