This is a terrific pattern. It’s especially designed to take advantage of stripes, although it looks good in a solid or a print as well. Look at those marvellous chevrons that develop where the stripes intersect!
I used a wonderful cotton/spandex from Darn Cheap Fabrics to make my dress (it was around $7 per metre, so the fabric cost was around $18). But initially failed to realise that it was an “unbalanced” stripe. If you look at it closely, it definitely has a right way up. Luckily I did pick this up when I went to cut out the dress. It meant that I abandoned the suggested cutting layout, and instead used a mostly single layer layout in order to match the stripes at the seamlines and keep the “nap” running the right way. I’m glad that I took the time at this stage. There is a thin silver stripe running through the fabric as well as the white, black and blue stripes. Adds a little touch of pizazz!
I did have some trouble with choosing what size to cut each pattern piece. Steph has an original sizing system, and this took me a little getting used to. In the end I just did what I was told, and it appears that I pretty much got it right. I have a very thick waist in comparison to my bust and hips, and I think that was what made it tougher for me to choose which sizes to use for each piece. When I first sewed the front bodice pieces to the front midriff there wasn’t even enough difference in measurement to allow for bust gathers. I basted together and tried on for once – as instructed! – then undid the basting stitches, cut another half inch off each end of the front midriff piece and then restitched the bodice pieces with a little bit of gathering. That seemed to work for me. The neckband gaped at first, so I undid it and cut around three inches from the length then restitched. That helped the gaping enormously. The neckband wasn’t cut along the greatest line of stretch originally, so reducing the length made quite a bit of difference. I’ll reduce a little more from the neck band the next time that I make it as I’d still prefer it to be a little more snug around the neckline. I’ll also reduce about half an inch from the front and back bodice length to account for my short torso. And next time I’ll add the sleeve bands at the end after sewing the side seams.
What was great about this dress? When I did figure out the sizing, it gave me a dress that skimmed over my curves without clinging. The skirt moves and flows as I walk in a very satisfying way. It was incredibly comfortable to wear, and everyone that saw it on me complimented it. Can’t go wrong there! The short cap/kimono sleeves give good sun coverage, and I always like a v-neckline. I left off the pockets – sacrilege! – because I rarely use them in a dress and I was feeling lazy. I’ll definitely be making this dress again, both another summer version and I suspect a long-sleeved winter version as well (there are instructions on the Cake Pattern website for how to add long sleeves). Excellent pattern – thank you Steph!