adult's clothing · sewing

Pattern Emporium Exhale dress

I’ve changed size a fair bit over the past year, and consequently have been trying out different sizes in different patterns to see what works best on me.  I’m actually coming to the conclusion that my shoulders and upper chest really don’t vary much no matter what size I am, and I am best to choose the size that fits those areas nicely, and either grade for the rest or select styles where precise measurements don’t really matter.

Pattern Emporium Exhale dress

I sewed this Pattern Emporium Exhale dress in size 14 – it’s actually too big. Wearable, but larger through the shoulders and upper bust than it needs to be.

Pattern Emporium Exhale dress

The fabric is a slippery poly knit that I bought from a facebook destash seller. Tanya often has marvellous fabrics!  I adored this print when I saw it.  Although it wasn’t super easy to sew, a few extra pins made it quite successful.  Construction was on the overlocker, with the machine used to hem the sleeves and to set in the band around the V shaped neckline. I left the dress unhemmed – didn’t want to interfere with the drape and flow of the fabric. I’m always a bit nervy when I leave an item with raw edges, even knits like this one that don’t fray – it goes again my ‘neatness’ and sewing training!

Pattern Emporium Exhale dress

The pattern website describes the Exhale as follows: Here at PE we love a relaxed look that you can wear and love every single day and the Exhale certainly has you covered. Whether you want to Netflix and chill in a long sleeve sweater knit top or beat the heat of summer in a sleeveless dress, there is a style option for everything.

  • 4 Necklines: Rounded high, mid & low. V-neck.
  • 4 Sleeve Options: Sleeveless, Short Sleeve, 1/2 & Long Sleeve.
  • 2 Top Designs: Short & Long.
  • 3 Hilo Top Designs : Top, Midi & Maxi. Dress: Knee Length Gorgeousness with Optional Tie Belt.

FABRIC SUGGESTIONS: ITY, Poly Jerseys, Viscose Elastane, Rayon Elastane, Modal Elastane, Bamboo Elastane, Double Brushed Poly, Single Brushed Poly, Merino Wool Knit, Stretch Lace, Sweater Knit, Hacci, Slub Knit, Scuba (avoid stiff), Liverpool, Cotton Elastane (avoid performance or stiff CL).


It’s pretty obvious from the photos that I chose to sew the dress with short sleeves and a V-neck.  This is a really simple dress to sew.  Pattern Emporium have very good instructions and an active facebook group if you need any help.

Pattern Emporium Exhale dress

It’s incredibly easy to wear, especially on warmer days, and there is plenty of space and swish through the body. I happened upon some suggestions for styling this type of dress, so got out an elastic hairbands and had a go myself.

Pattern Emporium Exhale dress

Pattern Emporium Exhale dress

Pattern Emporium Exhale dress

There are actually lots of ways to style stretchy dresses with the help of a coin/elastic band/bangle on the inside! There is a massive Pinterest rabbit hole for this. Knowing me, I’ll usually wear this as originally sewn, but it might be nice to alter the look occasionally.

Pattern Emporium Exhale dress

Since sewing this dress I’ve used the pattern again to sew a top, in size 12. SO much better! It will get blogged eventually. I feel that I’m finally catching up on all the garments that were unblogged over my six month blog break. My plan is to get everything up here by Christmas. Because straight after Christmas we’re heading off on a family holiday to Borneo…

8 thoughts on “Pattern Emporium Exhale dress

  1. Hi, Lara, may I comment? The first thing I noticed was how nicely the back of the dress fits you. It hangs straight without showing back fat around bra straps or love handles.
    In my opinion, two changes would make the dress perfect. First, shorten the shoulder seam, it curves over the shoulder maybe ½ to ¾ inch. Then, make more of a sloping shoulder adjustment. These adjustments would take away the few small folds of fabric that are being interpreted as “too big” in the shoulders. I wouldn’t change a thing that would make the back fit closer. It hangs so nicely straight and just hints at ”body parts” underneath. Love the Pinterest “black hole” link!

    1. I was coming to the comments myself not just to drool over that fabric, but to ask whether there was a sloping shoulder adjustment. Because to me also the sizing looks perfect, and the minor folds to be not extra fabric in width but caused by entirely by shoulder slope. Check it out 😉

    2. Thanks for the suggestions all! The photos don’t show how it felt – it felt too big all over. Fortunately the simple fix of going down one size has fixed it around the shoulders and upper chest, and the back and front fits are still loose. Definitely a pattern worth checking out.

  2. Love this one Lara. Simple, relaxed and elegant. The fabric choice is divine and I loved the shoes you modeled with the dress too!. Yet again you compel me to buy a pattern I didn’t know about. If only you got commission for all the patterns I’ve bought through your blogs you could go on a round the world trip….

  3. Hey Lara….I love this make….please take Cherie’s advice (1st comment above) and this pattern will be perfect in every way… I want one and we’re almost to Winter here in the US!

  4. Love this dress on you! This is exactly the kind of clothing I like to wear. Nancy Zieman said that your pattern size will stay consistent through weight changes because it should be chosen to fit your shoulders. I have found that to be true for myself. I may have to change the waist but for the most part sizing in the shoulders has been the same. And I am going to have to look through that Pinterest rabbit hole, that is something new to me!

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