Today I am excited to share a dress made using an old pattern, but with fabric from a new supplier. Pin and Sew is a new British online sewing company (they also ship internationally), specialising in high quality knit fabrics. If you love to sew with knits then I highly recommend you check them out. They kindly offered to send me some fabric of my choice to try out and I went this charcoal grey viscose ponte roma. Whilst the fabric was provided free, as ever, my opinions are my own honest ones. Now, you that you might think this ponte roma is on the higher end of the price range, but the quality really is superb. I would go as far as to say it is the nicest ponte roma I have sewn with. I pre-washed on a hot 60 degree wash with no issues and it sewed and pressed beautifully. What makes it so nice is the weight: it feels so substantial with a little bit of two way stretch. Good for providing a little more support, if you know what I mean.
Onto the pattern: it’s the Pauline Alice Aldaia dress – and my version is a mishmash of elements of all three views to come up with this Autumn appropriate sheath dress. It’s a little more form fitting that I normally go for, but with autumn fast approaching, with tights and boots, I think this will be a practical choice for everyday wear.
I have made this pattern once before: you can see that version here. Being as this version was being made in a completely different knit fabric, I felt that a muslin was order and from that I went on and made some changes to the pattern: largely a FBA. If I am being 100% truthful, I think I might need to make the FBA a little larger. The front waist seam still seems to be coming up slightly short. But, this version is still very wearable. Check out all the fit adjustments below.
Just for fun, I decided to add a little more interest and add some Gucci inspired side stripes to the dress.
The trim was made by sewing 10mm wide red grosgrain on top of 250mm wide green grosgrain, before stitching the trim on to the sides of the dress. I changed the order of construction of the dress to sew the trim on: again, details below.
- I went down one size in the bodice compared to my previous version (which was made in a cotton jersey), and graded out over the waist and hips.
- I lengthened the skirt by 7.5 inches. No, that is not a typo. We all know I am pretty short IRL (5’3″), so be warned: this skirt, as drafted, is short.
- I did a 0.5 inch FBA. I think I need a little more length (about 0.5 inch) in the front bodice so I need to address that if I make this pattern again, next time.
- The 0.5 inch FBA meant I also added in 0.5 inch extra width into the skirt side front panels.
- I did a 0.5 inch full tummy adjustment.
- I did a 0.5 inch full bum adjustment.
- As drafted, there is around 2 inches negative ease in this pattern. I made all vertical side seams 1 inch and ended up taking 5/8ths inch seam allowance (as drafted, the pattern has 3/8ths inch seam allowance; so I gained a total of 1 inch extra diameter in total all around). Actually, I only took 3/8ths inch from below the bust to just below the hips (these notes are actually more for my benefit, in the future, than yours!).
- I pegged the skirt in 0.5 inch either side at the bottom.
- I interfaced the facings and staystitched the necklines.
- The instructions have you set the sleeves in flat and sew the sleeves and side seams up in one go. Because I added the ribbon trim I constructed the skirt and bodice separately, sewed the trim to the sides of these pieces so the trim was sewn in to the waist seam and armhole, and set the sleeves in, in the round. The sleeves did not require any easing.
I think there is still a lot of mileage to be had in this pattern. I ended up donating my first version of this dress because I didn’t stabilise the waist seam and it ended up stretching out. I would like to try that version again: maybe in a ponte roma?
Thanks to Pin and Sew for the chance to try the fabric.
Enjoy the weekend everyone!