My blog post today is a very exciting one; I was asked to be one of the pattern reviewers for the brand new pattern company, My Handmade Wardrobe Patterns.
Now obviously my ego quite liked this, but honestly I find this new pattern collection really interesting. These patterns have been designed to “provide practical, modern, well fitting garments which fit your body shape and life style”. Sounds good, right?
I love start ups like this; I think this hobby of ours can use as many different designers as are brave enough to stick their heads over the parapet. Small, independent companies really interest me, given my strong interest in indie patterns in general. Plus, it’s nice to help people you know already out, right?
Anyway, enough rambling! I was asked to review the cosy jersey dress and tunic pattern. This is, surprisingly enough, a pattern for a dress or tunic made out of jersey; shocker! But simple isn’t quite the right word as, on closer inspection, this pattern had some really interesting details whilst still being a straightforward sew.
There is a front and back panel and then each side is single pattern piece (so no side seam) This made for a really interesting looking pattern piece and is also a god given invitation to play around with some colour blocking. The tunic length has a separate hem band, there are different sleeve lengths, and you have the option to include a waist tie or side pockets too.
I decided to go for the less-snuggly dress. I know, I surprised myself too, but I just fancied trying something a little different. As I was planning on wearing it to the launch party, I chose some black jersey from Stoff & Stil which has a silver thread striped through it. It’s really smooth, something like a light weight scuba? Really hard to describe, but a great hand with good drape.
As I’d chosen a drapier fabric, I opted to omit the sleeves and pockets but to include the waist tie, which I think has worked well.
The pattern came together well and the instructions are relatively clear and well photographed. The patterns give you instructions for assembling on a sewing machine: I chose to use my overlocker for most of it just because I like the finish. I did find some elements a little less clear; the lay plan for instance listed the facing piece but then showed it on a separate diagram on a different page, which was a bit odd, so just make sure you’re clear which pieces you need for your version.
The lack of side seams made things interesting; basically you end up with a tube and then sew the shoulders to get the finished dress. Next time I do this, I think I will hand baste the should seams; despite matching the seam line on the front and back bodice together with pins, on one side the fabric layers shifted slightly as they went through the overlocker so the seams don’t quite match front to back.
One interesting thing I’d not done before on jersey was to finish the neckline with a facing. This initially felt odd as it’s something I’d expect to do on a woven dress, but I like the finish it gives. Because my fabric was quite spongy, I followed the suggestion on the pattern and top stitched the facing to prevent it rolling to the outside.
I was in two minds about adding the waist ties to the dress but am quite glad that I did. The pattern envelope shows it tied at the front but I actually like it best tied at the back; personal choice.
One thing I did find with this pattern is that it’s drafted on the large side. I make no secret about my measurements (see the bottom of most of my blog posts) and I am 5’7″ tall. I would normally expect to be grading between an M and and L; for this pattern, I cut an S and it’s certainly not too tight. I also did the suggested hem depth , thinking my dress would be shorter than the pattern envelope as the instructions state they’re drafted for someone who is 5’5″ and it’s still turned out right on the knee. I guess it’s something to be aware of if you are on the petite side of things, you may have to be prepared to grade down.
All in all, I’m really pleased with this. It looks smart but is super comfy. I can see the tunic version being absolutely perfect to thrown on over my gym gear on the way home, snuggly and warm.
I’m hoping to try some of the other patterns in the collection too and looking forward to seeing where this new company goes next!
The pattern was provided to me free of charge for my review: all thoughts are my own