Over the past year I’ve been trying to be restrained with my fabric and pattern purchasing, purely because I already own so much. I haven’t put myself on a fabric or pattern ‘ban’, but I’m really trying to think carefully before I purchase. It’s easier to not purchase fabric – it takes up so much more room than patterns do. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why I bought the Grainline Felix pattern during the week it was released?
I’ve had this cotton chambray from Lincraft (I know! Lincrap, of all places! Bought it when the Norflanz store closed down) in my stash for a little while, just waiting for the right pattern to come along. It’s one of those fabrics that I pull out of stash, consider for a pattern, then change my mind and put back again. I’m really pleased with how it’s worked in this dress.
My first dilemma was what size to make. I’ve mentioned before that I usually measure across three sizes – one size for bust, next size (or two) up for waist, then the size below the bust size for my hips. It can definitely make things challenging! I’ve learned that choosing size according to bust usually works best (unless I’m sewing pants of course – then I choose for hips) although sometimes this means that the upper chest and shoulders are a bit too big. After consideration and comparing my measurements to the finished measurements, I decided to sew size 14 width with size 12 depth and shoulders. This turned out okay, but I could probably have gone down to size 12 width/size 10 depth/shoulders and it would still have had plenty of ease.
I rather like that curved front waistline seam! There are pockets tucked into the curved seam that secure into the side seams when they are sewn. They sit perfectly.
I am not actually of the ‘everything must have pockets’ brigade, but when they are nicely drafted and well secured like these ones I’m very happy to include them.
I decided to line the bodice but not to line the skirt. The pattern is drafted to be lined, and I’d line it if I was sewing it in a lighter weight fabric, but I really didn’t feel that this soft cotton required it. The lining fabric is silk/cotton left over from this dress I sewed ten years ago – one of my early purchases from Darn Cheap Fabrics!
The front is actually a mock wrap, with the left side being sewn into the right. I took my time and followed the instructions closely when constructing the bodice, and I’m really pleased with how it came together. So neat! Because I chose not the line the skirt chose to finish the bodice edges together. I am sure that there are different ways of doing it.
Now there was no way that the back skirt was going to ease into the back bodice. It didn’t take me long to realise that the cotton I’d chosen just didn’t have enough give in it for that to happen. Other fibres would probably work, as would more loosely woven fabric, but this soft cotton was pretty stable. So I decided to just lightly gather it in. That seemed to work okay!
Now, the looseness of this dress in combination with the location of the back seam on my short-waisted shape means that I don’t have my usual fabric pooling. Hooray!
From the pattern website: The Felix Dress is the ideal wardrobe piece to take you from the heat of summer to the cool days of autumn. The loose, breezy shape is perfect on its own or layered with tights and a cardigan. The skirt is eased, rather than gathered, to reduce bulk at the waistline. Three sleeve options provide you with plenty of versatility and a faux wrap bodice gives the look of a wrap dress without potential for mishaps. The Felix also features generous pockets and is fully lined. The unique construction of this dress has a few twists and tricks, so if you like learning new techniques it’s a must sew! Techniques involved include sewing a straight seam, easing, lining a dress, setting sleeves, applying armhole bias facings, and hemming. Suggested Fabrics – Self: Lightweight fabrics such as cotton voile or batiste, handkerchief linens, rayon and rayon blends, and silks. Avoid fabrics that are stiff or tightly woven, as this dress requires fabrics with drape. Lining: Lightweight linings such as rayon, rayon Bemberg, or silk. You can use the self fabric for the bodice lining, but we highly recommend using fabrics that won’t cling to the body and skirt for the skirt lining.
There is also the option for a sleeveless or flutter sleeve dress, in a shorter or longer length. This is the longer length, with three quarter sleeves. My verdict – it’s a win! I love styles that some others disparage as ‘shapeless’ or ‘unwomanly’. I have no need to ‘create a waist’ where there isn’t one, but do have a huge need to be comfortable in my clothes. I think that a summer version in a very lightweight fabric would be fabulous, although I do think that the armholes as drafted could be a bit too low. Anyway, I’m really pleased that I sewed this dress, and I know that I’ll get a great deal of wear from it.