I was very fortunate to be gifted the Forget Me Not Patterns Valerie Dress, I absolutely loved the design and felt that it would compliment my wardrobe perfectly.
The dress is well tailored with darts at the shoulder – something I had never done before and elegantly fitted raglan sleeves – of which there are two versions. A short fluted sleeve or a full length sleeve gathered into a cuff. The dress also features bust and waist darts (front and back) which creates the most beautiful fitted bodice. It does also mean that making a toile is wise, that said I didn’t – firstly because my time is precious and secondly because the pattern does allow some give within the seam allowances to create a good fit. Personally, I rarely need to make more than a 1.5cm (within side seams etc) adjustment anywhere so I took my chances!! The dress would obviously not be complete without pockets and this dress doesn’t disappoint on that front either! I’m all about the details as lots of you know and so the slash pockets on this dress reeled me in, they are perfect – nice and deep whilst maintaining a smart, sophisticated design.
The sew itself is principally straightforward - one to set time aside for but not incredibly hard. It is an intermediate sew as stated on the pattern. I think I found my spirit pattern cutter in Forget Me Not Patterns as when I sew a pattern the first thing I always do are the fiddly/boring bits!! So, any darts/interfacing…stuff like that. Even if the pattern suggests otherwise, I like to get those bits done and out of the way. Well, this guide instructs you to do pretty much just that! It is also a very comprehensive guide, you couldn’t ask for better instruction. Seam allowances do change throughout the pattern but are clearly highlighted at each point as is instruction to finish seams - the diagrams are also very helpful.
So, it would seem to be a glowing report from me and indeed it is, however, there were some tricky aspects to the sew and I’ll mention them just in the name of honesty! Now, I have sewn three shirts with a sleeve placket and cuff and each has taken me quite some time to perfect but it’s worth the effort as you are left with an amazing finish. Valerie has a bound placket and cuff which is something I have never done before. Essentially, you end up with pretty much the same result but I cannot decide which method I prefer. The bound placket was incredibly fiddly, especially as you reach the centre point and it was quite hard to perfect (bear in mind I was using viscose which can be a bit more fiddly than other fabrics) however, it was much quicker than methods found on many shirt patterns and indeed the shirt pattern I have been sewing recently – the placket here is a series of several steps resulting in a seamless finish. The guide provided with this sew is amazing though and you are carefully walked through what you need to do, there was no confusion as to what needed to be done…it’s just a little fiddly so allow yourself some time.
The great thing about this pattern is it is so versatile, you could have lots of fun with the raglan sleeves – colour blocking or with topstitching. It is suitable to make in a number of light to medium woven fabrics ranging from chambray, linen, viscose/rayons and wools. Be mindful that if you are using a directional print that this pattern will require more fabric and also stripes…be careful if you choose them as the design of the dress will interrupt stripes and so will require more effort for a smart finish. The pattern will require between 2.1m and 2.9m of fabric depending on your size and chosen view. I used 2.1m and there was no scope for lengthening the dress so be sure to allow a little extra if you think you may need to do this or if you decide to use a directional print. This is something I should have thought about as I’m 5’8 and the pattern is based on a height of 5’6. Size range is 28-40 (Bust 28.5 / waist 21.5 / Hip 32.5 to Bust 48.5 / Waist 41.5 / Hip 52.5)
I chose to make this dress in a stunning Mind The Maker Polka dot viscose, I have used the twills before and this is not dissimilar. I love the weight and drape of these fabrics and being opaque means there is no need to line garments which makes me very happy indeed! There is a slight stretch in the fabric which I also love. The fabric behaves well under the machine and isn’t like many viscose fabrics which can be a real slinky pest. There is no texture to the surface of the fabric, as with the twills, but because the weight is similar it is a lot more willing to do as it’s told! It is soft and luxurious to the touch, almost silky smooth. The quality speaks for itself. If you haven’t had a look over Harriet’s Mind The Maker range yet – you must!! ‘Botanic Bliss’ and ‘Yellow Poppy’ are really tempting me at the moment!!
So, all in all a happy sew! A beautiful pattern matched with beautiful fabric – what’s not to love! I’m so glad to have re-found my sewjo, it certainly went on holiday over Christmas!
Emma - @thezipperfoot
***As a member of the Sew Me Sunshine blogger team, the fabric for this project was sent to me free of charge. I chose which pattern I wanted to make and all opinions expressed in this blog post are my own.***