Yayy, I’ve made something that isn’t jeans! I’ve hardly made any dresses so far this year which is unusual for me, so decided to get back into it by using up a pretty stash fabric and trying a new pattern, the Papercut Sigma.
I bought the pattern on a whim from Ray Stitch – a bit of an expensive whim at £15. I could/should have self-drafted this rather simple style from my blocks – this frock from December is pretty similar – but fancied some instant gratification without fiddling with dot and cross paper and French curves. The fabric is delicious Atelier Brunette ‘Halo’ viscose bought from M is for Make a while ago. It’s a really nice slightly heavier weight fabric that’s just perfect for dressmaking, and is in my current favourite colours to wear. I cut it all on the cross-grain – the little pebble shapes actually run vertically but I preferred them horizontal.
I made the size small exactly as patterned and I’m pretty pleased with the fit. I did view 2 with the cute side gathers on the skirt and the sleeves shortened a couple of inches. It’s a bit blousier on the bodice than intended due to my drapey fabric choice, but I like that effect.
It’s just a bit loose through the shoulders and upper back, but at least that makes it comfortable to move in. Be warned that the skirt is pretty short – I’m shortish and like short skirts and needed to do a baby hem to keep it decent.
It’s got two elements I’ve tended to avoid for a while – a neck facing and a centre-back invisible zip. I’m slowly warming to both of these things: a facing is admittedly less likely to pucker than a bias finish, and since I’ve actually learned and practiced how to do invisible zips I like them much more than I used to. Always be learnin’.
I’m really happy with this dress -it was a fun Sunday afternoon sew and the result is a perfect work or dinner-out kind of frock, the kind of which will get a lot of use. To be honest, if I were to make this style again I probably would be less lazy and use my blocks to knock-off the shape in order to address the minor fit issues around the shoulders. Oh well, it was worth buying anyway to fire up my dressmaking desires again and it’s a sweet little one to have in the pile.
This charming earworm wouldn’t leave my head the entire time I was sewing this dress, so I had to don some appropriately-hued accessories it photograph it with. I’m sure you recognise by the distinct bodice detail peeking out that it’s a Papercut Clover dress.
I didn’t buy this pattern right after it came out, but was slowly persuaded by so many pretty ones popping up: see Fiona, Rachel, Devon and Hazel. I bought a hard copy directly from Papercut in New Zealand as I really like their packaging and pattern paper, and sewed it up in the evenings this week.
This was a test run to check fit and construction, but I finished it pretty much as final and it turned out perfectly wearable, hurrah. The fabric’s a cheap poly crepe from an Abakhan dash, with the bodice detail and sleeves in a random black silk from my stash. I haven’t seen anyone do a contrast sleeve version yet but personally I think they help to balance the bust detail rather nicely. Fitting is pretty easy with such a relaxed shape and it seems true to the size chart for a slightly oversized fit. I cut a small with zero modifications and don’t think I would change anything next time.
You’ll notice I did give the dress a permanent waistline, simply by sewing a line of elastic on the inside right around where my waist hits. There’s no chance I’d wear this style loose and I don’t really like wearing belts, so adding a perma-cinched waist seemed a good idea. I like how it blouses out a bit but beware it makes the skirt ride up and appear shorter: I didn’t shorten it from the pattern at all which is rare for me.
It’s easiest to try the dress on, cinch with a belt and mark where it sits at the side seams and CF/CB, then connect the marks with a straight line to sew over with the elastic. You could also still wear a belt over the elastic and it’d stay nicely in place – I hate when belts shift around.
Overall the dress was a quick and easy sew; the hardest bits are the curved hem and getting a nice joined-up seam on the bust detail. Just one thing to nit-pick with the pattern: the bust detail pieces end in a sharp point rather than having a bevelled-off seam allowance (like the D&D Centauree’s do) so it’s kind of hard to gauge where to position it against the bodice edge to sew at the 1cm seam allowance. It seems like the point should run off the edge of the centre front, so I’ll probably just square it off on the pattern piece.
That aside, I’m pretty sure I’ll be making more Clovers sooner rather than later. It’s a great one to chuck on and feel instantly dressed as well as super comfortable. I love the blouse length option too and I’m interested to try lengthening the sleeves a bit. You could maybe say I’ll be going ‘into the Clover, over and over…’
Another new sewing challenge surmounted: tailored trousers, with a proper zip fly-front and everything: Papercut Patterns’ pleated pants to be precise. I made them in a slightly tweedy charcoal wool from my shopathon at Mood.
The pattern is great, although it’s definitely one to toile first to check fit and techniques. Lots of bloggers say the sizes come up very big but I didn’t find that was the case. I graded between the S and M which fitted about right. The construction went pretty smoothly and was a good level of challenge. The pieces all slotted together very nicely and the instructions – in a little fold-it-yourself booklet – are good. I messed up the fly front a couple of times and managed to set the pleats the wrong way, but no major disasters. I’m quite proud that these are labelled for ‘skilled’ sewists and I didn’t struggle much, actually!
The front didn’t quite want to stay flat so I used two hook and bars instead of the suggested one, and also slipstitched the bottom two inches of the zip opening closed. I decided to add belt loops right at the end, mostly inspired by Jolies Bobines’ fabulous pants using a similar new République du Chiffon pattern. They’re quite functional at keeping them in place, as well as adding a bit of detail to the wide waistband.
Nice and tidy inside. I slipstitched down the waistband before topstitching for accuracy, and all the raw edges are overlocked.
The fit overall is good: I like the mid-rise and slim legs, and the cleverly shaped waistband has no gaping at all. For some reason though, I’m feeling a bit ‘meh’ about the finished garment. I’m just not sure the mannish silhouette with hip pleats is the best shape on me, and I’ve been struggling to think of ways to wear them in an outfit. I usually tend to like a slouchy top half but then the look just gets baggy all over, so I think more fitted tops are the way to go.
I had a little trawl for styling ideas – I like the patterned knit and asymmetric blouse ideas. Any other thoughts on styling them? We’ll see if I pick them up to wear very often. I poured a lot of love into them so I hope so!
I’m pretty sure I’ll make these again, but next time I’d pick a solid coloured twill or denim for a more casual look. I have another Burda trouser pattern that I want to try first. The mission to sew perfect pants starts here…