Sometimes I am the last person to jump onto a pattern bandwagon (and yes, there are many pattern bandwagons that appear in the sewing blogosphere, for good reasons and for bad). But hey, this time I think that I am one of the first!
This is the Sophie dress. The pattern description from Tessuti’s website is as follows: Sophie Dress – this flared dress features a one lapel v-neckline, drop waistline and centre back seam with dipped hemline at the side seams. The Sophie Dress comes either sleeveless or with a sleeve option. Suitable fabrics for this dress include light to medium weight linens or linen blends, wool crepe and triacetate/poly blends. There is also a variation of this pattern where the lapel doesn’t fold back but comes across to a button and loop on the other side of the v-neckline. Tessuti have instructions on this modification here. However, I decided to sew up the pattern as it was originally designed, with the single lapel. My first thought had been to sew it as a straightforward v-neckline, but after sewing it all up I’m so glad that I chose the asymmetric lapel after all! I chose to sew size Medium, which is my usual Tessuti size, as what I hoped would be a wearable muslin. It certainly is, although there are things that I will change when I next make it.
I did shorten the dress considerably, folding out the entire section at the shorten/lengthen here marking to better suit my 158cm. Otherwise there were no alterations. The fabric is a silk/cotton blend (if my memory serves me correctly) from Darn Cheap Fabrics – and yes, from the $2 table! It was terrific to sew with and equally lovely to wear. It’s not a regular brown though, and the colour was quite hard to match up to thread. It’s got quite a taupe, almost reddish cast to it. The instructions were very good, and I basically followed them other than immediately binning the pattern pieces for the Vilene shields and using Emma Seabrooke stay tapes instead (available in Australia now from Stitch 56). I love these tapes. The under stitching around the lapels and the neckline really ensures that everything sits just as it should. The seam lines and topstitching are definitely features of this dress. I really like the topstitching features throughout and the subtle shaping that has been incorporated into the seams.
The actual pattern is rather large in terms of the number of pages that you need to print. Tessuti do warn you of this on their website and the “read me first” instructions that come with the pattern. I took mine to Officeworks and had it printed there. The four large sheets came to $14, so in addition to the pattern cost of $10 it is certainly not cheap. But this is a pattern that I know I will use multiple times, so to me it is still value for money. I also saved quite a bit of time by not having to trim and tape – and time is money too!
Okay, onto what I’ll change next time. I am very happy with the fit through the body, and the way that the dress fits me at the front. The length alteration also pleases me. However, the dress is too wide across the shoulders and there is more sleeve cap ease than I need. Next time I’ll grade to size Small from the bottom of the armhole up, and I’ll make a corresponding change to the sleeve cap. This is not an unusual alteration for me; my shoulders are relatively narrow and sloping. I also have that high rounded upper back thing going on that many computer users have (as well as many in their mid-forties) but that isn’t a problem fit wise. The back neckline didn’t gape at all.
The other thing that I will alter next time is to reduce the back waist length. There is a centre back seam, so I should be able to take out a wedge from the centre back that won’t affect the length of the side seams. I often petite clothing through the bodice, but wasn’t sure if this style would need it. I now think that it does, but only at the back.
I plan on making a sleeveless version, and I’ll possibly also give the top a try. I’d also like to try the other neckline variation. Ah, so many plans and so little time!