Friday Pattern Company Wilder Gown

The Friday Pattern Company Wilder gown is definitely a perfect gown for dramatic looks. I’ve been following the hashtag on IG for a while because people are creating such beautiful versions of it!

The Toronto Sewcialists had a fancy party a few weeks ago and I knew I had to make this dress. I had recently gotten this sheer poly chiffon with polkadots from Fabricville during a sale. The sheerness of the fabric makes all the fabric feel much lighter. This is 4 yards of fabric after all so it can definitely feel like the fabric is consuming you.

I think swishy pictures might be mandatory with this pattern!

I made a size 3XL without any modifications. There are definitely modifications that I would make for my next version, though. The seam for the arms is a bit low and large. It actually is slightly uncomfortable where it hits (observe how the seam pulls the arm in the first picture above) and makes wearing my backpack purse a bit difficult as well as pulling the waist seam up so for my next version I will be modifying where that seam hits. I know that the patterns are drafted for a smaller bust size (B cup, I believe) so the position of the raglan sleeves/seams may be better on someone with my measurements, but less boob. For me, it isn’t terrible fit but not a comfortable fit. I should have chosen a smaller size and done an FBA but I was in a time crunch and actually started the dress just a few days before the event. Everything else fits well. I will just modify where the seam hits instead and raise that armhole instead because not only would an FBA be required for a smaller size but also a full bicep adjustment and probably widening the back a bit or grading out at the waist. Far more work that just moving the seams and raising the armhole.

This was my first pattern from Friday Pattern Company and I really enjoyed it. The instructions are great. I had no issue with them.

The Wilder gown is such a dramatic and lovely pattern. I couldn’t resist making felt flower clips for my hair and walk around swishing my dress during the event. I got some requests to twirl, but that would have left me fallen over! As much as I would love to twirl in this dress, my disability means no twirling.

I did make one modification for the pattern. Instead of wasting fabric with the skirt panels, I cut them out of the width of the fabric so there is much more gathering in this skirt than the pattern calls for. I decided to start off with gathering the skirt panels and sewing them together. I thought maybe this might save my sanity by not gathering a bunch right at the end of sewing, but it turns out no matter when you gather, you will want to set things on fire at some point during that process. Hahha! I love a gathered skirt but damn… I hate gathering fabric no matter what method I use to gather it, even those tricks that make it easier.

In spite of all of that gathering frustration (haha), I adore this dress. It’s dramatic. It’s bright. It’s wonderful.

 

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: The Friday Pattern Company Wilder gown 
  • Pros: Good size range. Lovely design.
  • Cons: Having it drafted to a smaller cup makes it a bit tough for someone with my bust. However, I know that altering the pattern will not be difficult.
  • Make again?: Well of course! I think I will try out the top version after I do my modifications.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md4.5/5 stars

 

 

Cashmerette Holyoke Dress

Disclaimer: I received this pattern for free in exchange for testing, but my opinions can’t be bought by patterns alone. I require cheese (preferably lactose free) and probably a good amount of tequila and cold hard cash. Feel free to send me that.

I tested the Cashmerette Holyoke dress ages ago and then left it unhemmed for ages after that. What can I say….I am a procrastinator.

As soon as I saw the pattern, I knew that I wanted to test the dress. I had been looking for something similar and the Holyoke fit the bill. However, when we tested it, it was something like March or February and not time for a sundress. Probably why I procrastinated on sewing the hem for so long.

Let’s chat a bit about the features of this pattern: princess seams, straps that cover bra straps, a long full swishy skirt, a waistband, elastic back for cheese room, and no buttonholes for a faux button placket. It’s pretty fantastic.

My tester version was made using a cheer patterned poly chiffon. The fabric has a crinkly texture. It was a bitch to sew with. It stretched out a bit when sewing the front neckline; although, steam from my iron worked at getting it back in shape every time. For my tester, I made a size 24 GH graded to a 26 at the waist. It fit pretty well except for being a bit wide at the shoulders and the neckline. Underneath, I styled it with that lovely white tank dress that I made with the Concord t-shirt pattern for a lovely 90s look. Look at me being trendy af.

I did a wicked job of almost making the pattern match at the front on the skirt completely unintentionally; luckily, the busy pattern doesn’t really make pattern matching an issue since I didn’t have enough fabric to deal with pattern matching across that many seams. Because of the sheerness of the fabric, I didn’t interface the pieces since it would show through. I took about 6 inches off the hem of the skirt, if not more in some areas due to the fabric stretching out. I made the dress a bit shorter than a maxi since maxi dresses are notoriously bad for making me trip.

I have made another version using the final pattern. However, that is reserved for the Minerva Crafts blog in August so I will just share a preview picture with you:

This version I shortened to knee length. I made the same size as the tester with no modifications. All the issues with the neckline and shoulders are very much improved in this version as well as the the armsyce being raised a bit more. I did move the straps in about a 1/2 when sewing due to my narrow shoulders.

The fit is great. The only change I will make is to shorten the centre front bodice a little bit as there is folding in that area due to my belly sending it up a bit. Yay for bellies.

I have plans for a ton more of these dresses. I really love the style and the fit. It’s a great sundress!

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Cashmerette Holyoke dress
  • Pros: Good size range. Lovely fit. Cup size choices are wonderful as usual. Covers bra straps! Cheese room comfort level with the elastic back waistband!
  • Cons: I mean… I guess the maxi only length, but like…. I can shorten shit in my sleep so not really a con to me.
  • Make again?: Well of course! I WANT ALL THE HOLYOKE DRESSES.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md5/5 stars

Introducing the CocoWawa Crafts Maple Dress

After the size inclusivity chat on Instagram, I was contacted by several pattern designers that pledged more sizes. CocoWawa was one of them. While the dress they were doing pattern testing for was just slightly outside my size, the ease in it would work. Ana and I chatted about it and she really wanted to see how it would look. Spoiler alert: amazing.

Usual disclaimer about getting the pattern for free but not my opinion blah blah blah.

Generally, with pattern tests, I don’t like to simply cut into precious fabric and I do a muslin first. But I grabbed some seersucker gingham locally for around $10/ yard and got 3 yards. I already had a ton of navy bias tape in my stash.

Some details about the Maple dress:

Maple Dress, a beautiful and feminine design featuring a slightly loose shape, tailor or double breasted collar, flattering midi or shorter quarter circle skirt and three types of sleeves. Long with the option of an exposed elastic, 3/4 sleeves with cuffs and short sleeves with a keyhole and bow detail. Another personalized detail of Maple is the optional ruffle that runs along the collar, which can be also exchanged for some contrasting piping. Last but not least, Maple comes, of course, with inseam pockets!

I made the double breasted collar with shorter quarter circle skirt and short sleeves with a keyhole and bow detail. I could not resist that sleeve. It’s gorgeous and I love bows. I did make some adjustments ahead of time. I did a full bicep adjustment and graded the waist out a bit. Those were my only adjustments. The dress is meant to pull over the head. I could probably do another inch for a full bicep adjustment to really make that easier for myself, but it works for this version.

The Maple dress can be made in a variety of fabrics for different looks. Obviously, drapey fabrics give a softer look and heavier weight fabrics give a more structured look. I like the idea of both. How cute would it look in a navy wool suiting with red bias tape details? Or in a drapey double gauze with cotton lace? I also could see this pattern looking incredible with a short gathered skirt and working as a top in a lovely drapey fabric like a rayon or even a bit more structure with linen. I actually really want to do that asap. It would be so cute for the Spring! (All I can think about is Spring!)

I added in a tie using the navy bias tape.

The buttons I added are from a stash of buttons given to me last year.

I also added a ruffle to the hem with a strip of flat bias tape.

I really like this dress. It’s adorable and Spring-y and I love the colour. The fabric is soft and lovely.

It looks best with the tie. In general, I prefer when I cinch in the waist on dresses. I’m not entirely pleased with how the pockets sit on it. They are slightly low and effect the drape of the skirt. I made that part of my feedback so it might be changed in the final version. I’ll let you know since I have the final pattern. 🙂

What more to say? I love it!

Seamwork Tacara

I recently took part in DH Fabrics’ Sewing is for Everyone and Every Body blog series. As part of it, DH Fabrics offered to send us fabric. I opted for this gorgeous berry wool blend jersey.

A bunch of us at the CSC wanted to do a Same Pattern Different Bodies for the Seamwork Tacara pattern. I knew the fabric would be perfect for it since it has lovely drape with the vicose content.

I made a size 24 and then tried it on. The cocoon shape was less cocoon and more….sack chic. I took the side seams in by about 2.5 inches each side (5 inches overall) and shortened it. It did end up a bit shorter than I would have liked, but I would typically wear this with leggings anyway.

I think the style is nice for relaxed days. The fabric is the real star of this garment. It’s so soft and lovely to wear.

I’ve been using a cane for a while now. I’ve been slowly acquiring more and more braces as well. But I realized since I don’t tend to wear them around the house or use my cane around the house, none of my blog pictures were really reflecting my disability. So here I am. This is how I look most days when I am out of the house except that I would be wearing leggings (because it’s freezing in Toronto).

The bonus is that my cane has a spike on the end for ice and snow, but also maybe for bad ass reasons. Hahah.

Thanks again to DH Fabrics for the fabric. I love it. 🙂

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Seamwork Tacara
  • Pros: Super comfy.
  • Cons: It runs very large.
  • Make again?: I’m not sure that I will make it again to be honest. I think it might be cute shortened to a shirt, but I’m not sure how many shirts I would need like this.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md4/5 stars

 

Burda Tie Sleeve Dress

 

I love this dress from Burda issue 02/2018. The dress is made for woven fabric but I knew it was destined for this crepe knit fabric. I adapted the pattern for knit fabric but not doing my usual FBA, omitting the zipper, and relying on negative ease by only adding a scant 1/4 inch seam allowance. I think it worked very well.

 

Because the knit fabric has a white backing, I needed to make a facing for the ties so that the wrong side didn’t show. Due to fabric constraints, I couldn’t make the facings extend to the split or hem. Instead, they are just facings for the ties.

 

The fit is not perfect. The fabric was bizarrely difficult to cut so some seams are not as straight as they could be (see the centre back seam above). The side seams are pulling back so I definitely need a full butt adjustment back there.

The upper sleeve could also use slightly more room.

I shortened the skirt by about 5 inches (in a super accurate way of folding out the length until it fit on the fabric) and added massive pockets that are sewn into the waist so they sit nicely.

 

In spite of those minor issues, which are mostly hidden by the busy pattern of the fabric, I adore this dress and feel amazing in it.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Dress from Burda issue 02/2018
  • Pros: I love the final result! I think it looks great on me.
  • Cons: The usual cons with Burda patterns. Really long. Bad instructions. But it was an easy creation and overall really nice.
  • Make again?: I will definitely make it again. I would like to make it in a woven fabric, too.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md5/5 stars

Velvet Gothic Dress: Halla Patterns dress

Another dress that I made a while ago is this velvet dress from Halla Patterns. I don’t like the name of the pattern. A kimono is a specific cultural garment from Japan and, while this dress may have a kimono sleeve and be inspired by kimonos, it is not a kimono and I will not be referring to it as such. Please read this post and I encourage you to follow @little_kotos_closet on Instagram. In the past, I have maintained the name of the pattern, but going forward I will not. I realize that makes it more difficult for people to search for my post if they are looking for others that make the pattern. I’m just hoping that going forward, there won’t be this issue. The Wiksten jacket has already been renamed to the Wiksten Haori jacket.

In November, the Toronto Sewcialists met up and had a fancy dress party with a sewing session before. I wasn’t initially going to make a new item for the fancy dress party, but then I bought this gorgeous velvet fabric from a local store, Fabric by Designers, that was going out of business but managed to extend their lease again so they are back in business. I managed to grab 4 yards of this velvet fabric for a decent price along with some ponte and doubleknit in their sale. I love this fabric. It’s soft and drapes so nicely. It washes really well, too.

I had also just put the Halla dress pattern together and then got a vision in my head of a floor length dress with voluminous sleeves. The resulting dress is gorgeous, moody af, and makes me think that I should be wondering the North York moors of Yorkshire, England, singing Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights. Fun fact, I’m actually first gen Canadian on my dad’s side and he was born in Yorkshire. He also immigrated to Canada on a boat in the late 50s. I haven’t ever been to Yorkshire sadly. I hope to one day, though.

I made a size 28 graded to a 30 at the waist. I changed the skirt to a longer and slightly narrower skirt. It still has a lot of volume but not quite as much as the original pattern. I left off the pockets since they interrupted the drape of the skirt.

Here I am surprised by the ghosts of Catherine and Heathcliff.

Overall, the fit of the bodice is okay. The front needs a bit more length due to my large bust. While the pattern has different cup sizes, I do still need a bit more room to get tue waistband to sit in the correct location. You can see the waistband going up a bit as a result. I think also a shorter waistband would look better. I think this ends up being close to 3 inches long finished but waistbands work better on me when they are less than 2 inches long.

To get the longer sleeve, I just extended the sleeve by about 10 inches and added elastic to the hem. I didn’t want the elastic to be super tight just give the look of gathered cuffs.

Overall, the pattern was good. Good instructions. I like how the neckline is completely faced with self-fabric and then the whole thing is constructed together so that the facing stays in place. It’s pretty smart.

I enjoyed being moody and Gothic for this photoshoot. Makes the inner 90s goth in me feel pretty fantastic.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Halla Patterns dress
  • Pros: I love this dress. The pattern went together well and the instructions were good.
  • Cons: The bust fit could be better. With HH cups, it’s difficult to get a perfect fit even with cup sizes. Next time I will lengthen the front bodice by about 2.5 inches and shorten the waistband by half.
  • Make again?: Absolutely.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md5/5 stars

So done with Healthcliff’s shit.

Lace Party Dress

 

Talk about a slow sewing dress and slow to post blog (hahah), I started my lace party dress beginning of October and finished it just in time for my friends’ wedding on October 20th. And yes, it’s February and I am finally writing about it.

I love slow sewing projects. I mean don’t get me wrong, I can complete tons of fast sewing in no time, but I love being able to focus on details like handpicking a zipper, hand-basting lace to underlining, or hand stitching the lining to the skirt. My goal for this year is to focus on similar projects. I have a few planned that will be tons of fun.

Carefully pressing seams over hams with a presscloth become like meditation…

The dress uses the bodice from Simplicity 8096 and a gathered skirt plus self-drafted pockets. I draft most of my own pockets, which is not a huge skill to brag about, but I can’t stand a small pocket. I don’t have large hands (actually super tiny…like I buy kid’s size gloves to get them to fit right) but I like using pockets for my phone, kleenex, keys, key fobs, protein bars for when my food restrictions/allergies/intolerances make grabbing something to eat impossible, my kindle, a brick, etc. You know, normal things. The whole idea of tiny pockets on women’s clothing is weird and stupid and misogynistic since men’s clothing gets huge pockets all the time.

I had limited fabric for this project. I only had 2 yards of the dusty rose lace. The lace was bought many years ago through fabric.com at the same time as other orders for my wedding dress. I originally had plans to use the dusty rose lace on the bodice of my dress instead of the ivory lace and use the ivory lace instead for lingerie. My plans changed and I had this lace leftover.

With only 2 yards, there had to be some pretty good pattern tetris. I also had even less than 2 yards for the beige satin I used for the underlining AND lining…. eeep. Luckily the skirt underlining was able to get cut out using the satin, but I did need to use some other cotton pieces for the pockets and parts of the lining of the bodice. As you can see, I also needed to cut the beige skirt lining much shorter than the lace. It actually made for a lovely tiered hem look. I also used the beige satin for the straps.

The fit on this dress is similar to the fit on my crop top version. It is a bit tight at the front unlike the crop top, where I added in some inches for the overlap there and didn’t have 3 layers of fabric. I think I could benefit from adding an inch to the center panel for comfort. The back fits okay. Although the strap could be brought in on left by an inch (hello, asymmetry!).

 

As part of this outfit, I also wanted to wear a short crinoline under the dress for the wedding. I did leave it off for the pictures to show you the tiered hem. I originally thought of using tulle in my stash and making it from scratch. However, I had a crinoline from my wedding dress that was simply sitting around in a garment bag; the crinoline was longer than most of my skirts and dresses. I decided to be smart and just shorten that crinoline instead to be able to use it for other outfits. I removed the bottom panels of the two skirts of crinoline and then finished the hem with ivory hug snug.

The new shorter crinoline looks great. I have enough crinoline left from the panels I took off the bottom of both skirts to make another crinoline!

I think that some fabric dye would work great on it and then I would have 2 crinolines in different colours. I’m thinking maybe hot pink for the other one.

The result is a great party dress which I wore with some brown Doc Martens and a lovely floral shawl for the wedding. I felt pretty stylish. It was a really lovely night. I didn’t actually take any pictures, though. As a result, it took me forever to actually take blog pictures for this post.

 

Here I am accepting my fake award for being incredible.

 

To say I love this dress is an understatement.