A little too ladylike… Sewaholic Nicola

I haven’t sewn a Sewaholic pattern for quite a long time… and like every Sewaholic pattern  I’ve encountered so far in my online sewing life (Gabriola, Cambie, Lonsdale, Renfrew, Pendrell, Tofino, Alma, Hollyburn), the drafting and instructions for this Nicola were excellent.

Sewaholic Nicola

Sewaholic Nicola – excuse sulky pout… it was FREEZING… and WINDY… I wore it with a plaited belt and a self-fabric belt… I think I like the self-fabric belt best.

That said, this dress isn’t quite right on me – rather like my issues with the very popular Hollyburn skirt. I know my style… so I’m not quite sure why I was so tempted to sew this dress. I think curiousity got the better of me and I felt like making a ‘pretty dress’. I know, shoulda stuck to grunge!

The neckline of the Harwood seems a bit severe to me, however the Nicola appeals to me as a feminine, pretty shirtdress.

The Nicola reminds me of the Colette Patterns Hawthorn, albeit a softer style over all with its yoke and gathers, and flaring gathered a-line skirt.

Sewaholic Nicola with heels - back view

Sewaholic Nicola with heels – back view

Construction comments

This is a neatly finished dress, seems to be a Sewaholic trademark!

The yoke is finished ‘burrito style’ and the instructions are perhaps the best written instructions I’ve seen for this technique. Tasia certainly nails her instructions every time, they are concise but ample enough to achieve a well-finished garment.

I French-seamed the bodice side seams and skirt seams. The only visible overlocking is on the raw edge of the facing pieces.

Sewaholic Nicola - side view

Sewaholic Nicola – side view

The front yoke gathers do seem to be a little puffy. When I referred back to the Sewaholic site it appears to be there in the sample dresses for the long-sleeved version – this is easier to see in a solid fabric than my printed version or the printed sample. It seems to puff slightly above the bust.

It’s a lovely feminine shirtdress. I don’t hate it, in fact I think it would be gorgeous on plenty of women, it’s just not quite my thing.

This is a great pattern for anyone who has been put off collars. While it’s not a traditional collar-band finish, it is a very easy collar to sew.

Some friends have commented I should shorten the dress… I think it would throw the proportions of the dress out and look a little odd… a sweet dress needs a sweet length I can’t imagine it shorter. It’s not really a ‘sexy’ short dress to me… what do you think?


Not for me… but another great pattern from Sewaholic that I think deserves a little more attention.

Sewaholic Nicola - back view

Sewaholic Nicola – back view

While I might not be sold on this dress on me… sewing with Sewaholic again is tempting me to make another Gabriola and it is such a lovely pattern…. and I do love a maxi skirt…

Side note

I do love the new Sewaholic Vancouver collection. I have no interest in ‘activewear’ (well not right now) – however I like the Cape and I especially love the Seymour jacket… if it had been provided as a PDF A0 file I probably would have ordered it & had it printed immediately. However printing 36 inch files is painful or impossible where I live – and I actually prefer an A0 PDF to a tissue paper pattern… so I’m in holding pattern (pun intended)… I might yet succumb…

Final thoughts…

I’ve wondered why there seemed to be so few Nicola and Harwood dresses out there – after the huge popularity of the Cambie and the Lonsdale a few years ago.

Perhaps it’s the sheer volume of independent pattern companies out there and we are now seeing the same volume of dresses but more diversity.

It’s a mystery as to why some patterns take off like a rocket (hello By Hand London Anna dress) and others seem to simmer slowly or simply fade away. Without a doubt there are dresses and t-shirts aplenty to choose from these days and I suspect it dilutes the impact of a new pattern release… there are so many ‘new kids’ on the block, it must be harder to make a splash.

What do you think?

… not an exciting blog post so I leave you with a Banjo photo bomb and some beach shots…

I couldn't resist including this rather classic Banjo photo bomb!

I couldn’t resist including this rather classic Banjo photo bomb! For the record there was nothing exciting in the tiny cave. Alas.

A cold and windy day but the surfers didn't seem to notice! Nobby's Beach, Port Macquarie

A cold and windy day but the surfers didn’t seem to notice! Nobby’s Beach, Port Macquarie

A sea eagle...

A sea eagle…

Pattern: Sewaholic Nicola (purchased from Sew Squirrel), size 2.
Fabric: Woven printed rayon from Spotlight, Australia ($9.95 a metre on special)
Buttons: Lincraft ($0.29 each, great button range at Lincraft compared to Spotlight!)

23 thoughts on “A little too ladylike… Sewaholic Nicola

  1. I love this dress on you, while the pattern passed under my radar last summer – I was on vacation when Sewaholic released it. As for their cape, it is offered on a printer version, I bought it. Lovely pics of the sea!

    • I know it’s a ‘printer’ version but 36 inch is hard to print where I live. I’d have to print the 36 inch across the A0 sheets – and getting a print shop to understand what I require gives me a massive headache – they have just resized in the past, despite what I tell them. Apparently they know better than the customer 😦
      I am considering buying it and laying it out on A0 sheets for printing. However so many other things to make!

  2. Very pretty. I love your fabric choice. With this not being your style, you should definitely get more of this fabric though and make something else with it–it is gorgeous!

  3. I have been tempted by this pattern, particularly because I liked the long sleeves. I think it looks great on you! I would be tempted to shorten the hemline to just above the knees. Add some boots and an edgy jacket and it would look more “you” perhaps? I was a little surprised this dress didn’t take off more, I do hope Sewaholic has continued success because I have great confidence in her drafting skills and professionalism!

  4. The fabric’s really pretty and I can appreciate the design lines much more on you than the Sewaholic model. I do think it looks quite ‘you’ personally and I like the proportions on you, but you know how you really feel in it!

    It’s true, you see far fewer breakout hit patterns now; even in the year or so since Anna was released the number of indies has skyrocketed, plus increasingly I think designers tend to actually avoid uniqueness or designing something too ‘out there’, to avoid narrowing their market (I have heard Jen from Grainline say this). But you’ll never have those superhits if everything looks quite monotonous – look at all the boxy tee and legging patterns out there. I think it was a mistake for Sewaholic to release Harwood and Nicola at the same time as different patterns since she seemed to dilute her *own* market. I hope we continue to see indies with a more definite point of view!

  5. Hmm I like this dress. Nice fabric, nice style. I suppose it is much to small for you to pass it on to me! 😄 I buy Sewaholic the most of all the indie patterns. Besides the fact that I like to support companies, products, etc. close to home, her designs fit my figure well. I guess I have to add yet another pattern to my list of “sewing things to do”! Thanks for showing us your dress! Beautiful photos, as always!

  6. I see what you mean Lizzy. It’s not your “regular” style, but I do think it’s quite pretty. I think perhaps you, like me, are not quite into “pretty” in the traditional sense. In regards to how some patterns take off and others don’t… this might be controversial, and of course, each to their own, but I find Sewaholic patterns just a bit ho-hum. They are very conservative (IMHO) and I truly have not been attracted to any, EXCEPT the Gabriola, which I’m planning very soon. They feel like something one would wear to an office (which I don’t work in), a very modest look. But that’s just me and that look would be perfect on many others. Perhaps this could be refashioned somehow to make it more you?

  7. Tasia does have some great patterns. I especially adore her Robson coat! As for why some patterns take off more than others, I love that there are so many patterns available now from designers other than the big four. We’re spoilt for choice! Personally, I don’t make things just because others are, but because I love a pattern and it’s potential in my wardrobe (although seeing how someone has used a pattern may help me see it in a different light). I assume some patterns are popular because many people see this in the same pattern. But do you think there are other reasons? Interested to hear your thoughts.

  8. It is a lovely feminine dress but I can understand why it isn’t quite you, perhaps just above the knee in a solid? It wouldn’t be the top of the queue for me for the same reason. Pretty just doesn’t suit me either.

  9. I agree that it’s a pretty dress and beautiful fabric, and it looks great on you. (Especially with those heels!). But to give it more edge, could you over-dye the dress to be darker as you had suggested? Maybe ombre-dye so it’s undyed on top, gradating to darkest at the hem? Or maybe add some trim that has a little more of a sporty look?
    I also agree with Katie and Sewjillian who commented about the pattern releases from indie companies mostly catering to a pretty, modest, dress-wearing clientele. I much prefer the more experimental shapes and interest of Japanese pattern books, or the intricate details of Vogue’s designer patterns. This is one reason why I appreciate your blog so much–you have a unique sense of style, even when you’re making “pretty dresses.”

  10. This is a gorgeous dress, why do you feel that this dress is not meant for you? I thought it looked super fab and ladylike. Probably ditch the sandals and wear some laced up boots and fringe leather jacket?

  11. I loved the Nicola from the moment of its release. I want to make one this fall/winter in long sleeves for the office. Yours is beautiful — bummer that you don’t feel quite at home in it!

  12. I think it looks nice on you but not your style for sure. I do think slightly shorter would be better but even 2cm too much would throw the proportion out, or maybe you could straighten the skirt a little. It looks very ’80’s to me but I think it’s the length. With regards to patterns getting taken up or not, firstly I think the Nicola and the other Sewaholic dress that came out were too similar to each other and too many similar already out there. I did not like the Anna dress at all… again too ’80’s for me. The Hollyburn skirt looked to me like the Lonsdale dress skirt portion and I kind of think that is cheating… just for the sake of a waistband. I see a lot of ’80’s stuff out there now and having done a great chunk of my sewing then I can’t buy the indies and just shop my old pattern stash or find it in op shops. Really is the drafting so much better that I could spend up to $24 for a pattern, some that I’d have to print and put together myself. The biggest gripe I have with indie is same, same but not very different even. Too much whining? sorry…

    • I agree with you Summerflies that there is a lot of 80s influence out there at the moment, both in the indies and the big 4. Since I have been sewing since the late 70s (oh lord I feel so old when I write that!) I am lucky that I have a considerable pattern collection that I can delve into, hence I have not bought a new pattern for a long time. I have bought contemporary patterns in op-shops though so my collection isn’t entirely stuck in the 80s!

  13. Pingback: Wednesday Weekly #9 | Helen's ClosetHelen's Closet

  14. This is very “lady”, especially in that print. I dunno… sometimes there’s a temptation to make something that’s really outside your usual box, and sometimes it’s a failure, but other times, it’s a pleasing surprise! It’s lucky for me that I’m not drawn to Sewaholic styles because I span 4 different sizes on her chart and it’s a total pain in the neck to grade between them (I’m a reverse pear, narrower through the hips and wider through the waist)!

  15. This is an older post I know, but Thank you for mentioning you don’t like the “printer” version they provide. I much prefer PDF patterns and when I mailed the new owners of Sewaholic if they might kindly consider releasing the patterns in A0, they refused and said I still can buy the printed version.
    Which is true, don’t get me wrong, but alas…. I prefer PDFs….

    • These days I prefer PDFs … but only if they come as A0s. I refuse to buy a A4 PDF anymore. One of the reasons I rarely sew Style Arc I’d rather buy a printed version.

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