or My Gigantic T-shirt Dress :-)
I had no inclination to make this dress. At all. Then I did. I’m not sure what triggered my change of heart, perhaps sunnier days or the Inari dresses and tops popping up here, there and everywhere… so I jumped online at Stitch 56 during a sale.THE PATTERN
I purchased the paper pattern, it is also available as a PDF. If I have a choice between a paper pattern or a PDF, I will usually choose the paper pattern, unless the PDF comes with an A0 copy-shop file – then I have to think twice about it. Named paper patterns are expensive, however they are printed on bond paper and the instructions presented in a booklet – all packaged up in the neat envelope.
Here’s the trick with Named Patterns. The paper patterns come with no seam allowances… and the PDFs do (read about Named paper and PDF patterns here). I’d rather trace a pattern and add seam allowances than put together a bazillion A4s – even a handful of A4 is too many for me. I just added the allowances with a ruler as I traced – I know, I could add them by eye as I cut… but I’m a bit precise about some things (and hopelessly imprecise about others). The Inari is a simple pattern so adding the seam allowances wasn’t onerous… I am horrified at the thought of doing that for the Isla Trench Coat which is loitering in my sewing queue.The pattern has a dress or a top option and two neckline finishes. The dress has a forward sloping side seam, meaning the back panel is slightly wider than the front, the hem is also split with the back being slightly longer than the front. I do love the small thoughtful details that seem to be core to the Named Pattern’s aesthetic.
The instructions are presented in a neat little booklet. I did find having the finished garment measurements and the pattern measurements on different pages rather odd – I like to compare these for each area of the body (for ease) before I choose a size. I also found myself jumping about the booklet to find things such as recommended seam allowances. I suspect there are elements to the Named Patterns which are put together in chunks for speed in layout and also translation purposes – some elements in a pattern are fairly standard (body measurements and general instructions) whereas other elements are individual to the pattern (finished measurements). Perhaps the Named instruction booklet layout reflects this. I’m not sure – it’s just a theory.
I was momentarily bamboozled by some of the markings on the pattern sheet – ie the bust and hip line are marked on the pattern – at first I thought they might be shorten/lengthen lines. Perhaps there is a key somewhere that I missed but I had ‘lost’ this pattern in my sewing room so when I finally dug it up I was desperate to sew and didn’t spend too long puzzling through everything! A few Instagram comments later I was on the right track, the Named team are very prompt and helpful! Thank you!
I think all sewing patterns and instructions have their quirks – it’s just getting used to knowing where to look for things. Provided the actual garment goes together well, I enjoy seeing how different companies approach their patterns and instructions.
I decided to make this in a white/denim striped ponte. This ponte composition is 64% rayon, 32% nylon and 4% spandex. It has a lovely drape and sheen that I’ve not often seen in ponte.Everything went together perfectly. The instructions are clear and the diagrams adequate.
Even though I used a stretch fabric, I opted to use the facing rather than a neckband piece as I love the finish on my She Wears The Pants (SWTP) Top and felt that the addition of stripes running in another direction around the neck would break up the clean lines of the stripes. I was after a very simple, classic shift. I understitched the facing to prevent it rolling out and added a line of stitching about 20mm in from the neckline as I liked that finish on the SWTP top.
Choosing stripes turned a simple sewing project into a much fiddlier project (I unpicked one sleeve three times, yes I basted, used a walking foot, unpicked and adjusted but it just didn’t want to play nice). It’s acceptable but not perfect.
I overlocked all the edges first. This usually concerns me (stretching and distorting the edges) but I decided to give it a go as directed by the instructions – and my seam allowances were only 1cm which are a pain to feed neatly through the overlocker after sewing. I pinned and basted the seams, then stitched them with lightening-bolt stitch on my Bernina. Due to the loose fit around the hemline, I chose to use a standard straight stitch to hem the dress. I liked the stripes running the other way on the sleeve bands and hand stitched the sleeve cuffs at four places to keep them securely in place.Named Patterns drafted for someone about 5 foot 6 or more (172cm), I am 5 foot 4 (165cm) – so I shortened it by about 40mm (1.5 inches) around the hip line.
I don’t think it’s the most flattering dress I’ve made but I love it nevertheless. It’s a sack, a drapey sack and hangs like one… but I love it anyway. Obviously choosing stripes wasn’t a master stroke for figure flattery – however I love the classic nature of stripes and how easy they are to pair with a range of jackets, shoes and accessories for a different look. The ponte rayon has quite a bit of drape – I’d be interested to make this in a woven and see how it looks.
Would I make this again – yes. I’ve got the same fabric in red stripe for my ‘Christmas dress’.Pop over to Instagram to see how I wore it to work on casual Friday recently…this combination gives it more shape – with a vintage denim jacket, resin jewellery and a pair of leather high-heel sandals. I guess the obvious choice with this dress is to do the red/white/blue combo – maybe another day!
Pattern: Named Patterns, Inari Dress/top
Fabric: approximately 1.3m ponte (slightly less?) from Spotlight (purchased at a 40% sale for about $14)
Shoes: Nine West (purchased at a cancer fundraiser ladies night for $5 – massive score!)
Necklace: Polka Luka.
Also see: Funkbunny | The Long & Winding Bobbin | Dresses & Me | Cut, Cut, Sew | Sew Amy Sew | Miss Castelinhos| Sewing and Cocktails | Closet Case Files | Offsquare | Fiona Makes | Up Sew Late (plus a tutorial for a hem facing)
and the one that sold me? BEE MADE – I want this dress!