The Purple Rain dress

Finally, here it is – my first creation as part of Indie pattern month! (Yes, right at the very end. Again. Oops!)

La Sylphide dress Papercut patterns

All month I’ve been talking about, and slowly but surely putting together, the La Sylphide dress from Papercut patterns. This is my first Papercut pattern, and can I just say – I absolutely love this company! The thought that has gone into it amazes me – Katie has put together a whole experience with a lot of care, and I found every part of it, from browsing her website to receiving the pattern, making up the instructions, and sewing up the dress, to be rather delightful. I suspect I am now a Papercut fangirl. Hah. (And I am also eagerly awaiting her next collection, so I can buy and make more pretties!!)

Anyway, enough gushing for the moment. And on to the dress!

La Sylphide dress Papercut patterns

La Sylphide is a short dress, with a quarter circle skirt, button-up front, and tie at the v-neckline. (There is also a peplum top and a skirt variation. I’m planning on making the peplum top sometime very soon. Coz that’s how much I enjoyed making up this pattern.)

Now, a little word of warning. When I say this is a short dress, I do mean short. I added 16cm to the length of the skirt, and it’s still a bit shorter than I’d like! (But that’s how wide my fabric was, so that’s how long it got to be.) The quarter circle skirt swirls beautifully, and I live in a very windy city, so I’ll have to be a bit careful about what I wear under this, just in case! (Too much information? Perhaps.)

La Sylphide dress Papercut patterns

I found working with this Papercut pattern quite interesting. Back when I was at university, I did a part-time evening pattern drafting course, where I got taught things like using 1cm seam allowances and assembling in the flat as much as possible. But, I’ve pretty much never come across that sort of thing in patterns. Until now. Papercut patterns have a 1cm seam allowance – which is fantastic! Less wastage, less bulk, and none of that cut-out-heaps-of-extra-seam-allowance-then-cut-it-all-off-again faffing around. The sleeves on this dress are also attached in the flat, then the side seam of both dress and sleeves sewn up all at once. Brilliant! So much faster, and easier, than attaching them in the round. (Yes, another reason why I am now in love with Papercut. *swoon*)

The use of interfacing with this pattern was quite interesting too. Strips of interfacing were attached at the end of the sleeves, and along the button placket, then the fabric was turned over and topstitched, which gives a great, clean finish both inside and out, adds a bit more durability for the lightweight/drapey fabrics recommended for this pattern, and in the case of the sleeves also gives a nice, crisp, almost-cuff-like finish.

Now, speaking of the button placket, I went with what seems to be my current ‘thing’, and used snap fasteners instead. Because I could. Sewing-with-a-hammer once more – gotta love that.

Snap fasteners

I decided to go with a turned-up hem, rather than the rolled hem the pattern called for. Not for any particular reason – I think just because I couldn’t be bothered doing a rolled hem that day. (Lazy seamstress, me? Um, yeah. Whoops.) I had some vintage seam binding in my stash, which added a bit of a contrast colour (I do like adding contrast colours when binding hems). Sadly, it ran out about 3/4 of the way around the skirt, so I finished the rest with some cream lace. (Note to self: next time, measure the lengths properly, rather than just holding the tape up to the skirt and thinking it looks about right, then heading straight into stitching it on.)

Hem tape

I found the fit of this pretty good – no modifications were made, although next time I will lower the bust dart points by about an inch and a half. Which is probably a modification I should just make to every pattern by default, since they’re always too high on me. (What’s that about?!?) Aside from adding the 16cm to the skirt length, the only other thing I did differently was construction order. Rather than stitching up the bodice and the skirt separately, then joining them at the waist, I attached the skirt pieces to the bodice pieces then stitched the entire way up the side seams all at once. For two reasons – I like working in the flat more than working in the round, and (the main reason) because it makes it a lot easier to take the dress in at the waist if I ever lose these last couple of post-baby inches. (But let’s face it – chocolate is more important to me than those last two inches, so chances are they’re not going to be coming off in a hurry!)

La Sylphide dress Papercut patterns

Had to go to Auckland for work last week, which made for a good opportunity for photos outside in daylight, without having to wait for the weekend. (Ironically, I then didn’t get a chance to post this until the end of the weekend, but whatever.) These were taken at Browns Bay, on the North Shore, right between the shopping centre and the beach. In the rain. That’s how dedicated I am to getting photos for you, people – I stood in the rain in winter, without my coat. I even twirled in the rain, on wet and muddy grass, in high heels, in order to show off the skirt’s twirl-factor. And people nearby looked at me like I was crazy. (And a big thanks to my lovely colleague Fiona, who very nicely took the photos for me and hopefully didn’t think I was too odd.)

La Sylphide dress Papercut patterns

So, there it is, folks – my Purple Rain La Sylphide. (Why Purple Rain? Well, the dress is dark purple and black, and it was raining in the photos. And I couldn’t think of anything better. Got any better suggestions? Let me know so I can rename this dress – my naming creativity is at an all-time low this evening!) Verdict? I love it! It’s fun to wear, swirls around while you walk, the necktie looks super cute over a buttoned-up cardigan, and it was fun and easy to make. More versions of this will be made, probably quite soon.

Here’s a last twirling-in-the-rain photo, just because I like it, blurry though it is.
La Sylphide dress twiriling

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55 responses to “The Purple Rain dress

  1. This is beautiful – well-done!

  2. nice one Kat – I love this. I’ve seen this pattern on the site and wondered what it was like on… it looks great on you.
    (And I was trying to work out the view in the back of the photos… knew it looked familiar!)

  3. Wow it is gorgeous! I confess I don’t much like the sample Sylphide, too washed out – I much prefer your version. And I love the name!

    • Why thank you! πŸ™‚

      Yes, her samples are very much fashion-magazine-spread styles. I had to think about it for a while as well, try and get an idea of what it would look like in real life…. (The length was the main thing that threw me with the samples.)

  4. I totally love this dress and think it really suits you. But I have to say the length is great on you and not too short at all. Looking good Kat

    • Aww, thank you! πŸ™‚

      (Although you may have changed your mind about the length when I was wearing it yesterday and a gust of wind caught it. I did a good Marilyn Munroe impression. Oops. Note to self – always wear with opaque tights! :-/ )

  5. Once more tempted by the indies- you cruel thing- I couldn’t fit a hip in that brand- but you look so lovely and I love the snaps- I’ve been making many baybay outfits and discovering the joys of hammering, too!

    • Oh sewing with hammers, it’s oh-so-fun!! πŸ˜€ You gonna show us any of the baby outfits you’ve been making? Would love to see them! πŸ™‚

  6. Love this, the tie is super cute! Great job on this one πŸ™‚

  7. It’s very pretty in its simplicity in this plain fabric. Great make. I’m warming to this pattern, the more I see other people’s makes.

    • Thank you. πŸ™‚ I really like this pattern. At first, I bought it because I’d heard good things about Papercut and wanted to see what it was all about, but admittedly wasn’t too sure about this pattern. But now – I’m completely sold! I highly recommend giving it a go. πŸ™‚

  8. Wow, looks fabulous. I was kind of put off the pattern by its shortness (and its peachiness). Both easily fixable I know, but I had difficulty seeing the potential.

    • I know what you mean – it took me a while to look past the shortness and give the pattern a go, too! But it’s super easy to add length to it, and totally worth it. πŸ™‚

  9. love your new dress.. and those shoes are awesome too πŸ™‚

    • Thanks! πŸ™‚ (They’re some of my favourite shoes. Ahhh, shoes…. I do love me some pretty shoes….)

  10. I feel a caps lock moment coming on…AMAZING! You know I was only liking the top version of this dress but now you have me wanting to make the dress version and now I am mentally looking through my stash for an appropriate fabric, hmm, hmmm, need more sewing time! Great photos too πŸ™‚ Yay for special locations xx

    • Thanks lovely lady! πŸ™‚

      Oh, you should so try making this up! I’m thinking I’m gonna start on the top version this weekend, once I decide what to make it in….

  11. Great job! Very cute dress.

  12. I love it! Especially the twirling pic at the end πŸ˜€ this dress is so beautiful. Thanks for the in depth review too. Good to know you at least get what you pay for eh! I’m itching to make the skirt. Positively itching!! You’ve given me la sylphide fever!

    • Thanks! πŸ™‚ Twirling photos are fun (although somewhat un-co. There was a great one of me stumbling out of the frame, haha!).

      The skirt’s gonna look lovely on you! Which fabric do you think you’ll make it with?

  13. I love that dress Kat – I’ve considered buying it in the past, but I wasn’t so sure. But I love your version so much. But I already have SO MANY patterns to make….first world sewist problems….

  14. Great Dress … LOVE the name! And I love your construction rationale – I so understand sewing the side seams in one long line, makes so much sense to me πŸ™‚

    • Thanks!

      I try to do all my side seams in one long line, it really does make life easier when/if alterations are needed. πŸ˜‰

  15. Kat, I love this dress on you! Very twirly which is a good thing. 16 cm! That will certainly be a short dress! And I like a small SA as well altho I guess when it’s larger, you have something to work with in case u have to let it out? There are so many Indie pattern companies I want to try.

    • I know, right?!? Can you even imagine this 16 cm shorter?!! Crazy. (Especially with it’s innate twirly properties. Walking outside in it would be somewhat risky in case of errant breezes….)

  16. This is adorable! I love it on you!

    • Thanks! πŸ™‚

      (You know, I can see you in this pattern as well, especially the top version…. πŸ˜‰

  17. I can not tell you how much I love this dress. It looks great on you and looks so proffessional, well done.x x x
    As for my indie efforts, June has easily run into July and I@m just stiil working on it, slowly!

  18. Very nice Kat, and such a pretty spot for photos! I always sew with a 1cm SA too – I guess the commercial companies allow for peoples vanity in making the patterns a little bit too big – so if they fudge their measurements the dress is still salvageable! And re the skirt blowing around – you could always put weights in the hem – like the Queen!!

    • I’ve considered putting weights in hems before (1950’s full skirts + Wellington wind = some interesting moments while walking down streets) but apparently you have to take them out to wash them. So I decided I was too lazy for that sort of thing. πŸ˜‰

      Must get around to making some witches britches to wear under them in summer, though, for decency’s sake….

  19. Love it love it love it. Oh and love the idea of snap fasteners. Buttons holes still scare me…

    • Snap fasteners are so much fun! (And so fast, and so easy…. I may never make a button hole again…. πŸ˜‰ )

  20. This is gorgeous! Yet another pattern to go on my wish list. I agree with you about sewing the side seams last – I do this a lot now that I am a bit more confident about what I am doing and it definitely makes it easier to get something that fits better.

  21. Ooh I really like this, I have been drooling over this pattern too, but wasn’t sure what it would look like on a normal sized person, that model online is super tiny! Now I’ll have to try it and see what it looks like on a super curvy person!!

  22. I really love this dress on you, it suits you so brilliantly – well done πŸ™‚

  23. I love that last photo too! Well done on the dress, very cute.

  24. “Note to self: next time, measure the lengths properly, rather than just holding the tape up to the skirt and thinking it looks about right, then heading straight into stitching it on.”

    Hahahaha!! The dress turned out supercute though!

  25. I love this dress so much. So flattering and classic πŸ™‚

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