Hello there! Like my new dress? It’s the Natalie dress by Muse Patterns, which I’ve been eying since it was released a few years ago, wondering if those gathers would be friend or foe!
The answer? Both! Here’s a close-up, because I know the print it hiding ALL the detail.
Basically, there are seams in the shape of a capital A on the front bodice: a triangle inset, with gathers on all three sides. They give lovely shaping at the bust (no FBA needed!), but I think they accentuate the belly rather than hide it.
Boo. I know my body is the same shape no matter what I wear, but I don’t feel great in this. Fine if I stand up straight and smile, but I fear I’m a sloucher at heart!
That said, there are some lovely things about this pattern. It sewed together really easily, and there is a variation with no belly-gathers that I might like better. This was also my first ever v-neckline! (Verdict: Annoying and slow, but good know my theoretical understanding was acurate.) I found the sizing quite generous, and ended up cutting everything down at the side seams… the sleeves must be a slim fit, because they were perfect as-is.
Two minor quibbles with the pattern:
- The pattern suggests waist ties, attached at the side seams. To my mind, they’d be better attached at the inset, so the whole thing gets pulled snug… but I find waist ties annoying under sweaters, so I skipped them.
- The original back is cut in one piece and seems a little boring compared to the front! I’m sure the ties help with that, but I noticed fit issues with a lot of the versions I saw online. To avoid a shapeless sway-back mess, I cut the back into a bodice and skirt, and added some gathers at centre back for interest and fullness.
If I sew this pattern again, I’d either lengthen the inset and do less gathers below it, or sew the version without gathers instead. I’ve got a vintage-y knit that I wanted to use this pattern for, but since I don’t love my trial version, should I really continue? (I’m picturing a pussy-bow variation, with a slim skirt and a circular ruffle at the hem, inspired by this pin.) On the other hand, I’ve been thinking how I prefer modern styles to retro, so maybe I should steer away!
In the end, it’s a perfectly fine dress, and I’m sure I’ll wear it. I’ve been loving khaki green lately… feels like it’s high time to add another colour into my palette!
Have you tried this pattern? Do you think I should try it again with alterations, or just move on?
**UPDATE!** I wore this dress to work today, and felt fine but not fab in it. Came home and cut up the skirt to make a Santa Fe tank top. I predict it will get much more wear now!