The tent dress trials continue! This summer I tried a bunch of different patterns for swingy knit dresses, but I’ve yet to sew any for winter… until Closet Case Patterns released their the Ebony tee/dress this week!
Heather had been hinting on IG that the new pattern would be like her New Years dress, so while I was fabric shopping on Saturday I picked up these knits hoping they’d work. Sunday evening the sneak peak went out to email subscribers, and Monday I sewed the first one up! Tuesday morning I took pictures before work, then came home and quickly finished the second before the light faded. And voila! Two awesome dresses in record time!
(Real talk: This past weekend was emotional for a lot of people worldwide, and this pattern provided an excellent escape at just the right time!)
I don’t often sew and blog patterns right away – I’ve usually got plenty of posts lined up, and I dole them out slowly. I wanted to blog this quickly though because we had a good discussion about the pattern on the Curvy Sewing Collective Facebook group, centring around if it’s “flattering” on certain body types. I’m here to say: yes, no, and I don’t care!
Yes: It’s fitted at the shoulder, and has a pretty neckline. (There’s also a more scooped option.) I don’t think it makes me look bigger, or (which I am trying to stop using as a pejorative) makes me look pregnant.
No: It doesn’t make me look skinner, which is generally the goal of “flattering”.
I don’t care: It’s fun to wear, and I feel cute in it! It fills my occasional need for a dramatic dress that no one else will be wearing. It’s got a great high-low hem that is sassy in front but still perfectly decent. Flattering doesn’t matter when you feel good in your clothes!
A few construction notes:
- I have a 43″ bust, which put me right between the size 16 and 18. I sized up, but I should have sized down. I ended up taking in the first version (this black and white) at the shoulders. Bonus: If you are outside the size range by a few inches, you should still be able to make it!
- I shortened the dress 1″ at the hem, and 1.5″ at the shorten/lengthen line. I also did quite a big hem.
- I cropped the sleeves because I didn’t have enough fabric!
- The sleeves and hem are coverstitched. With such a curved hem, I did my favourite trick of gathering the edge slightly with a serger to make it turn up easier.
With sizing nailed down, it was on to my next version!
This is a size 16, sewn up in a lovely textured velvet from my local chain store, Fabricland. Why did no one tell me that sewing with stretch poly velvet could be so easy? I’ll add this to my list of polyester fabrics that I love! (The black and white version is a poly Liverpool knit, which is fast becoming a favourite fabric too.)
The velvet pressed without being crushed (although I did iron using a piece of scrap velvet, which is one of those tips I always read that seemed too fun to miss trying!). I love the heavy drape and swishiness of it, and because it’s slippery on the inside, there is no clinginess or need for a slip. Win-win! I’m debating making a road trip to go buy more in a lovely peacock blue.
So, I have a few overall thoughts on the pattern for those considering it. It’s a super fast sew, not much slower than a tee, with several cute variations. It is a very forgiving fit, and if you like tent dresses, I think it would look good on a wide variety of figures. Personally, I found it has a more pronounced trapeze-shape than the Groove dress, but that may also be because I shortened that one at the hem.
After I finished my dresses, I realised I’d inadvertently pre-bought fabrics that match Heather’s samples surprisingly well! Jinx!
I love both my versions – which one would you be more likely to wear yourself? And how do you feel about that thorny issue of “flattering”?