Before and after: from house dress to cute dress!
The pattern is the Jasper dress from Paprika Patterns. Lisa offered me a copy for free since she thought it was my style, on the understanding that I’d only blog about it if I wanted to. How could I turn down that chance, when just before, I’d blogged the following:
“What do you think might be the next trend in 2015? What would you like it to be? (Me, I’d like it to be cosy sweater dresses, like the Lola. I’m also into knit princess seams, in theory, but I don’t have a pattern that I love.)”
(Not a set-up, I swear!) A princess-seamed knit dress with interesting collar, hood, and welt pocket details? Yes please!
So where did it all go wrong? I got scared of a snug fit, and ended up with a baggy mess.
I mean, it is wearable.. but the front princess seams were so wide on my bust that it made me feel flat and frumpy. I did try to take it on the sleeves, front and back, but as soon as I looked at the photos it was clear that it needed total reworking!
I cut the whole thing apart, leaving only the collar and centre panels attached at the shoulders. I slimed down the sleeves, narrowed the skirt at the bottom, cut more waist shaping, and made the bust much more fitted. (At the bust, I narrowed the centre panel so it would cross over the apex, and essentially took out a dart at the armscye.) Because I cut everything apart and reserged it, that made all the bands slightly narrower, and brought in all 4 princess seams. The result is that it’s shorter, trimmer, and the sleeves border on too short – but I feel better in it!
Now, I did actually make a wearable muslin of the pattern…
…which also turned out too big. I used a super-stable sweatshirt material, and dutifully tried my first ever welt pockets… which didn’t turn out perfectly, but were fun to try! It’s a good cosy outfit for lounging around the house, but not likely to see the outside world.
I guess I should talk a bit about the fabric and the pattern… For my second version I used three double knits that I found on the remnants table locally. They are more stretchy than the pattern recommends, but not by too much. I chose to skip the welt pockets because I
didn’t want them to distort the shape of the dress was scared. I went with the collar instead of the hood to save fabric, but the shape of the hood pieces is really unique, and I’d love to try it at some point!
The most similar pattern on the indie market is definitely Victory Patterns Lola dress, which I’ve made a few times and loved. Thinking back though, it required at least as much fitting work as the Jasper. When a dress is made in a stable knit, it does make sense to expect as many fitting changes as you would for a woven.
The Jasper comes in a B-cup draft for smaller sizes, and a C-cup draft for the bigger sizes. I wear an F, so B or C doesn’t make much difference to me… but then again, I have this theory about cup size being rather irrelevant in sewing patterns, unless they fit snug underneath like a bra band! In practical terms, my waist and bust are only about 4″ different, so that’s what I think about when I fit things.
Looking back at the pattern pieces and sizing chart, I ended up making about 2 sizes smaller than the size chart recommended. That’s definitely something to consider if you are making your own!
Truth: I’m really glad and relieved that I like this dress so much more after reworking it! I like Lisa from our interactions online, and I love the idea of this pattern… and I wasn’t sure how to blog about it when I didn’t love the finished product. I’m glad to say I’m now totally confident sharing about this pattern.
Good thing too – because I’ve got a copy to give away! If you are interested in throwing your name in the hat to win, just mention it in a comment. “I like free stuff!” works fine, or “Me, me, me!” If you don’t mention the pattern I won’t enter you in the draw, because I’d like to hear from you even if you aren’t hoping to win!
My do-over is inspiring me to rework some other finished clothes – how about you?
***Bonus: Both Paprika patterns, Jasper and the Jade skirt, are 15% off until Feb. 24th.