Monday, April 7, 2014

The Winter City Dress by PatternReview

I hope you haven't missed me too much in the last year. Some of you know that I've been working on my Master's Degree as a Educational Specialist so I can teach special ed. Well, I'm still not finished with classwork, but as a distraction I decided to pattern test PatternReview's newest pattern, the Winter Street Dress.

This newest dress pattern is a fairly simple dress, yet has lots of fashionable features. These include either a long sleeve, or a 3/4 length sleeve with an adorable ruffle. It has a scooped neckline and an above the waist seam line and box pleats in the front and back. The length hits just above the knee.


The best part of this pattern is that it can be yours in the amount of time it takes to order it and then download it. Of course you still have to tape it up and sew it, but that didn't take me long either.


The fabric I chose for my muslin is a jacquard knit from Fabric.com. It was sent to me on accident, and they didn't want me to return it. It's been in my stash for about 5 years. I didn't plan it, but I got the design to match pretty well at the waist seam.


This is the first one I made. Not knowing what size to use, I decided to just use the largest size, 4XL. The pattern has a really great size range, from XS to 4XL. I really wasn't in the mood to measure myself, but I should have. It was enormous on me. It's hard to tell in the photo, but I had to go back and sew every seam an inch larger to bring it down closer to my size. It's still too big, but I think this one is wearable.


During the testing phase of the pattern and before it was published, there wasn't a neck binding so I decided to wrap the edge of the neck with a contrasting fabric. It really wasn't a decision as much as something I did because I ran very short of fabric and couldn't even cut a narrow strip from what was left. 


After I got the sizing worked out, I made a second Winter City Dress. This time I picked a knit that I've had so long I can't remember buying it. I suspect it came from Michael Levine's Loft in downtown Los Angeles. It's a store where you have to dumpster dive for fabric, but it's sold for I think less than $3/pound. Unfortunately, all the great design features of this dress become lost in the print in the photograph.


For my second make of this dress, I went down two sizes and think I got a much better fit all around. You may notice that the neckline is lower than other versions you've seen of this dress, but that's an alteration I did. I cut the lowest neckline (XS) on the pattern sheet. I like an open neckline, yet it is still modest enough for me to wear to work, where I teach middle school kids. I also shortened the sleeves by two inches.


Another alteration I made was to do a sway back adjustment. To do this, I just cut a smaller size at the bodice waist seam at the center back and tapered back to my size at the sides. Too bad you can't see how perfectly placed the box pleats are to fit the skirt over my high hips. They really do my behind justice.


This time I decided to make a separate neckline binding piece. I really love the way this turned out. I am so thankful for my coverstitch machine. It helps to make this look very professional and to lay nice and flat against my chest.


One last bit I want to share about this pattern is that it has you sew clear elastic into the waist seam, which I think is a really great idea, except that clear elastic hates me. No, really it does. It never behaves. I looked through my elastic stash and found some fold over elastic. I have a local source for it so I didn't mind trying it. I basted it into the seam, then serged the seam, which cut some of it off. I think even though it's cut, it will really help to keep this seam stable.

I am so happy that I got to be one of the first to sew up the Winter City Dress. It's a great little pattern that's easy to sew and can really add some fashion into my wardrobe. I already have another one cut out and ready to stitch up. What are you waiting for?

This dress is currently on a blogland tour. If you haven't already checked these blogs to see their Winter City Dress, then please visit them soon.

sewingforward.com 4/10/2014
juliabobbin.com 4/15/2014

15 comments:

  1. Nice job on both dresses and I can see how the second one is a much better fit.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is really nice on you. Frustrating but kind a nice to find the first one was too big! The length of this dress is perfect on you.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Welcome back to blogland! It's really nice to see your take(s) on this dress and to hear about how the sizing runs. One question (since you've seen the pattern pieces), given the box pleats, would this pattern work for a border fabric?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Michelle, thanks for visiting my blog. It's been awhile! This dress would definitely work for a border print. The hem edge is straight so you wouldn't have to figure how to work a straight border into a curved hemline. The pleats aren't huge, so they would probably work nicely with a border print at the waist edge.

      Delete
  4. They look great. The fit looks really good on the second one! That'll teach you to go get the tape measure (I do this sort of thing ALL the time).

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love seeing what you did with yours! I did two version also testing out two different knits. Even though you think the details are lost in the second one you sewed, I think it looks fabulous on you!

    ReplyDelete
  6. "They really do my behind justice"--that's how I felt too! :)
    I'm so glad you came back to share your take on this dress. The contrast neckband you did makes me think that FOE would be a really quick and cute finish as well, and I like the idea of using FOE as the waist stabilizer as well.

    ReplyDelete
  7. You look lovely. The fit on the second version is spot on!!!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Sherril, I love them both. Thanks for testing the pattern and providing feedback. I am glad it worked for you. The clear elastic... for the longest time I stopped using it because I too was getting frustrated. Turned out my CE was old. I threw it out and bought a new packet. Beautiful! I remember how much I used to enjoy using it. There is some sort of powdery coating which helps with the sticking. but not enough to coat anything. The new CE was a little bit thicker than my 5 year old version. Apparently CE has an expiration date. Who knew!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Deepika! I'm going to have to pick some up and try again.

      Delete
  9. Great to see you blogging again - love your dresses. They look fabulous on you. A tip I learnt through trial and error with clear elastic is that I run it in the overlocker / serger first so that it is just sewing on the elastic. That grabs it and then I put the fabric under the foot and sew and it behaves much better than trying to get the elastic and fabric in at once.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've tried that as well, but my needles never want to pierce it without effort. Even new needles struggle and I've tried all different kinds of needles. I'll have to buy new and use this trick to see if I can get it to work.

      Delete
  10. Your dresses look great! You nailed the fit on the second one! I can't wait to see your third WSD.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hello Sherril:

    You've been nominated for a Liebster Award . . . http://sewcroandquilt.wordpress.com/2014/04/10/liebster-award-nomination/

    Cheers,

    Lyric

    ReplyDelete
  12. Once again, great work! I'm so jealous. Having a hard time taking the first step to actually measure myself and get started!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for visiting my blog. I would love to hear what you have to say so please leave me a comment.