Testing testing: Arielle and Southport

Southport dress

I’m not asked to pattern test that often, but I have happily done so for a couple of my indie designer buddies. Two recent patterns which I tested have just been released – the True Bias Southport dress and the Tilly Arielle skirt – so I thought I’d share my takes on the┬áresults. I find pattern testing a really interesting process, which is why I’m happy to give┬ámy time to do it. Firstly it often lets me try out patterns that I wouldn’t necessarily choose or buy for myself, and secondly I’m quite interested in the whole process of pattern development and how best to optimise instructions for maximum usability. I love submitting my feedback and seeing it applied to the final product.

Arielle skirt

First up Tilly’s Arielle skirt, which comes in mini or knee lengths and offers a wiggle fit with lovely offset buttons – no zip, hoorah!

Arielle skirt
Arielle skirt

I used a brown twill for my skirt and it’s lined in black silk. Slight changes were made to the hip ease due to the testing feedback, but I actually graded up at the hip anyway because I’m between sizes – it’s an easy one to blend sizes and get a good fit. Pencil skirts aren’t a typical choice for me, but I’m pretty fond of this and it’s so easy to wear with tights and a little tee and feel a bit dressed up.

Arielle skirt

I really enjoyed testing this because it was quite a challenging sew for me – I think it’s the first faced-and-lined skirt I’ve ever put together so I really relished trying a new skill. For an easier sew the lining is totally optional and wouldn’t really be necessary in many fabrics.

Southport dress
Southport dress

Next up – I’m a big fan of Kelli of True Bias’s pattern line, so was really pleased to be asked to test her latest. The Southport is a casual summer tank dress with a half-buttoned front (YASSS, sew all the buttons) and drawstring waist. It’s got above-knee and maxi length options and is recommended for any breezy, drapey fabric. I used a fairly nutty archive Liberty print called Clara – Roisin has used it in another colourway and I scooped this 1.3m piece on eBay for pretty cheap.

Southport dress
Southport dress

Welp, this dress is pretty adorable, right? I love the overall shape and style. Tank dresses are super hard to fit on my body due to my narrow shoulders and hollow chest, but this is pretty darn close. I graded from 4 at the top to 8 at the hips, and Kelli has altered the armsyce/bodice fit a bit based on feedback (so don’t use this as a final fit guide). If we get more of a sniff of summer weather or I book a nice warm holiday I’ll definitely be making a couple more of these.

You can get hold of Arielle here and Southport here. Obvious disclaimer than I sewed up test versions so my review doesn’t apply to the finished fit or instructions, and I got the patterns for free in exchange for testing. Will you be adding either to your S/S sew plans?

27 thoughts on “Testing testing: Arielle and Southport

  1. Lizzy

    I really like your fabric choice for the Arielle, it’s such a beautiful vivid colour (at least in the photos!). I’m still not sure whether I’ll spring for Arielle or not, as pencil skirts aren’t really my thing, but I’m enjoying seeing everyone else’s versions appear in blog land!

    1. Katie Post author

      It’s a nice rich chocolate. I don’t do pencil skirts either but I think the buttons help this one feel a bit more casual.

  2. Katie Emma

    Love the Southport dress! Were you really able to make it out of 1.3 meters of fabric? I have a little less than 2 yards of Cotton + Steele double gauze that I think would be awesome for this dress, but I wasn’t sure if I’d have enough fabric.

    1. Katie Post author

      Yup, with a lot of squishing and I didn’t have enough for the self-drawstring. Just under 2 yards should be plenty though!

      1. Katie Emma

        Woo hoo! I’m going to cut out the pattern and make a muslin tonight. Hoping I can finish the dress for my trip to New Orleans, LA in 2 weeks. (PS I noticed my “steele” vs “steel” spelling error, d’oh!)

  3. Heather

    Both of these are great, but I am especially in love with the Southport dress. It suits you perfectly and the fabric you chose is really lovely. Plus I love the shoes you chose to wear with it too!

  4. Ginger

    These are both really lovely, but the dress is particularly so! I adore that print and the style looks so lovely on you! I can’t wait to sew up the Southport! I like the Arielle, too, but I’ve found that for some reason I just don’t wear skirts!

    1. Katie Post author

      It’s weird, whenever I wear one I wonder why i don’t wear them more! Shame as they’re quick and fun to sew.

  5. Pingback: Southport Dress! « Ginger Makes…

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