I was drawn to this pattern because it has a lot of things I look for in a dress and in a sewing pattern: easy cut-on sleeves, flattering v-neck, an underbust seam for easy fitting, shaping/definition immediately under the bust and through the waist, a full skirt for easy movement (I love a pencil skirt but they can be restrictive). When Steph (of Cake Patterns and 3 Hours Past) said that the pattern gave guidance for working with stripes and that she would be running a sewalong, I was in!
It was easy to create pretty stripe effects
A different approach to sizing: The pattern doesn't come in your usual sizes. You choose the bodice size by your high bust measurement, within each bodice size there are four options depending on your full bust size. You choose your skirt pieces by your waist measurement and the midriff pieces have an interesting "join the dots" thing going on where you select your bodice size and your waist size and draw in your own seam line between the two. It's kinda nice not to wonder "Am I a 10 in this range? Or a 12?" and to just rely on the numbers on your tape measure.
How did it work for me?: I made a muslin first as I usually find my narrow shoulders and full bust require some fitting. I was in between high bust sizes but chose the smaller of the two since this is a knit dress. The first muslin had a rather loose neckline but I made some small changes to tighten it all up. Basically I had to shorten the length of the "v" and wrap the two front pieces over an inch or so more. I think that the shape of your bust has as much impact on the fit as your size. Its a little like bra fitting - in that your shape can also affect your size in certain styles.
Sewing-wise, this is a pretty easy dress to sew. The construction steps are written to enable you to check the fit as you go. Once I got my head around that, I could stop worrying about making all my fitting adjustments before I cut my good fabric. For example, there is opportunity to tweak the position of the empire line as you sew the bodice, and the side seams are sewn last so you can tweak the overall fit a little more.
The end result fits so well, I can even do this...
... without the risk of flashing!
I really liked how the instructions were written and formatted. Being quite a visual person when it comes to sewing instructions, I liked how there were symbols under each step to remind you if you needed to baste, use a stretch stitch, finish a seam, press etc.
Letting the bias drop before hemming
What do I love about this dress?: it is easy to construct, it is flattering and comfy to wear. The sewalong taught me more about sewing with knits and they don't seem so intimidating anymore. Plus the sewalong was super helpful and friendly which was great fun.
Lots of sewalongers played with different fabric combinations such as contrast binding. But there are also tons of ways you could adapt and change the basic pattern. Imagine it with a full circle skirt or a maxi skirt, you could lengthen the sleeves or shorten the skirt to a peplum top. I have a couple more versions planned, so I guess I am going to be busy!
P.S I know it is freeeeeezing here right now and I am technically sewing summer dresses while it snows, but I have sewing mojo for this pattern, so I am going with it! And my motto for 2013 is simple: "Life is short, sew what you love." And this, I love.