Taking on Claudia

This is the face of someone who had a whale of a time getting the fit right on this dress but is in love it now it’s done. It’s a Tessuti Patterns Claudia dress in a dreamy printed rayon from Blackbird Fabrics.

If you follow me on Instagram you’ll have seen I went through a heck of a process to fit this pattern – which I found a little surprising as during my research/browsing of the pattern it looks so lovely and effortless on everyone, and no one especially mentioned fit issues. Luckily I toiled first as I knew I wanted to get this difficult-to-fit style right before cutting into my eventual fabric.

I cut a Small originally according to my exact current measurements, but this first toile was way too baggy all over. You can check out the entire fitting process I went through on my saved Instagram story, but to summarise, my eventual adjustments totalled: graded to smaller than the XXS size at the underarm (?!); cut as XS through the rest of the bodice grading back out to a Small below the waist; pivoted some gaping out of the neckline and armsyce into the dart; moved the dart point significantly inwards and upwards; reduced the strap length by about a third.

In short: I recommend that you toile this pattern and size down!

I tackled the adjustments over several sessions + three toiles and while it all sounds quite crazy I rather enjoyed the process, especially as the resulting fit through the upper chest and armsyce is really pretty perfect (however much it’s exposing my awkward armpit tan line).

Luckily the fitting of the bottom half was issue-free, I love the skimming fit and especially enjoy the clean-finished mitres of the bottom hem and side splits. The length is as patterned which comes to mid calf on me. I omitted the Useless Inseam Pockets which saved some additional stress: on a future one I might consider a more practical patch pocket or even a matching belt bag.

I constructed the top half my own way ie in the flat as much as possible, and redrafted the facings off my altered bodice pieces. I’ve got to say, I am not a fan in general of the usability of Tessuti’s patterns; I find the strange Vilene-shield-based instructions and extraneous pattern pieces hard to justify when so few people will be familiar with or able to get hold of it, and I find the print at home PDFs very wasteful – I printed 48 sheets and the pattern pieces themselves are quite small so this seemed excessive and down to an inefficient layout.

But anyway, I do loooove this dress. I wore it all evening after I finished it, and it was a match made in heaven for this fabric with its floaty Matisse-cutouts vibes. Nb. the pattern explicitly recommends structured over lightweight fabrics, but it seems totally fine in this very fluid voile.

I am already planning a second one in a solid dusky purple linen as this one is so glorious to wear in our lovely warm spring weather – even if it’s still mainly around the house for now – and I expect they will layer well with a T-shirt for slightly cooler weather too.

9 thoughts on “Taking on Claudia

  1. Avataremily

    This dress is on my to-make list. Yours looks amazing!!

    I agree about the vilene shields. I usually staystich instead and it always has been fine for me.

    Excited to see your purple version!

  2. AvatarKathy

    Great dress. I have admired this dress for a long time. Do you think it’s possible to lower the front neckline or create a V neck?



  3. AvatarNatalie

    Looks lovely, that fabric is fab! I bought this not long ago and thought it would be a good one to try and knock out for summer. Good to know about the sizing as I would have probably jumped straight in without a toile. Got to agree about the vilene shields too, they have them in the Sadie Slip Dress which I can kind of understand as it’s bias and usually silky, but even then it felt a bit of a faff.

  4. AvatarSewpergirl

    Love the dress. Would you mind touching on the opacity of the fabric? It looks a little see through in the photo with the hanger by the window, but looks great and totally opaque on you. Do you think it is opaque enough, or did you choose to make a lining/slip? Thanks :)

  5. AvatarEmily

    I had the exact same problem, made a small, found it huge, and donated to my Mum, who also found it huge! We did some adjustments and it was ok, so then I set about trying to make the dress fit me! Lots of adjustments and very happy with the end result, which I made in linen, and colour blocked to make it more interesting! It’s a great summer dress.

  6. AvatarLia

    It’s a stunner. I definitely have similar reservations about Tessuti patterns (which is why I’ve only bought one, where I got the reservations in the first place – I think they were also snitty about extended sizing?), but the finished dress is beautiful.

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