Hey everyone, check it out! I made something that isn’t from Papercut!!
(Yeah, it’s been a while, I know. What can I say? Not many preggy-friendly indies out there, as it turns out.)
Although following on with my common winter trend, it does contain the colour purple.
My first ever Victory Patterns make, in fact. Since this week is the ‘New To Me’ theme for Indie Pattern Month over at The Monthly Stitch, it seemed like a good time to give a Victory pattern a try.
(Fair warning – it won’t be the last. Like Papercut, Victory are one of the very few indie labels that I’ve found that have styles that look like they’ll work with a bump as well as still being able to wear them post-bump. The Anouk is likely to happen sometime soon as well. And I am kinda tempted by Roxanne as well, although that one hasn’t made it into my pattern collection yet, so we’ll see.)
I made up the dress version of Simone, complete with it’s high-low hem. Now I must admit, this is miles from my usual style. I’m usually all about fitted waists, and high-low hems have never been on the list of things-I-like. If I wasn’t pregnant, I wouldn’t have given this pattern a go. But since it’s fitted at the top, and gets loose from just under the bust, it seemed like it might work well for the next couple of months, so it was worth a shot.
And you know what? I am now a convert to this style! I actually really like it – it’s fun to wear, there’s enough fit in it that the flare doesn’t make you look huge (always a bit of a fear of mine), and the high-low hem is kinda fun and catches the wind quite nicely when you move. Hi there Simone! You may well feature again in my wardrobe in the future.
I made this one up in a something-synthetic-probably-polyester length from the remnant bin at The Fabric Warehouse. No idea what it is, since their remnants don’t have composition labels on them, but it’s quite a firm weave and yet nice and floaty, so when I spotted it (for only $5! Score!) I grabbed it to make this dress in. (Oops. Fabric buying ban fail. To be fair, I couldn’t think of anything in my stash that would be suitable for this style, though!)
I wasn’t sure what to use for the contrasting bib front and racer back. I pulled three small leftover-from-other-projects lengths of lightweight cotton drill from my stash and turned to Instagram to get opinions. Most people preferred the black, with burgundy coming a close second. But the call of winter got to me, and I went with the purple. (Sorry, folks! Next time, ok?)
Now, let’s talk about this pattern.
I believe in being honest in my reviews. (Hopefully it doesn’t come back to bite me….)
I like Victory Patterns. I like their style – it’s unique, fun, and funky, and I haven’t seen anything even beginning to resemble it out there in pattern-land, which I appreciate.
I like that they put the finished measurements on their pattern envelopes, nice and clear.
However, I did have quite a few issues making up this pattern. Some may just be to do with my body shape vs what the pattern is designed for (and I have been a bit spoilt lately. It’s one of the key reasons I make so many Papercut patterns – they suit my body shape and usually fit me with little or no alterations, so I’m lucky with that), and some are to do with the pattern itself.
Let’s talk about the instructions first. At first glance, brilliant! A nice book, good paper, they’ve thought of things like a glossary, plenty of diagrams, all brilliant stuff.
But my gosh, I found them frustrating! Very, very frustrating, in fact. Part of this is due to what I do for a living – I work in Customer Experience research and design, so things like poor instructions really annoy me. Argh!!! (Again, another reason why I love Papercut patterns – Katie takes a huge amount of care with her instructions and actively asks for and takes on board feedback on how to improve them before she releases patterns.)
But yes, these instructions. First up, the key for what side fabric you’re looking at kept changing. For example, in the cutting layout the right side of the fabric is shaded dark grey. First page of instructions and oh, look, suddenly dark grey is for the wrong side of the fabric, without any mention of the key changing. And then, two pages later, oh look, we’re switching between grey and unshaded between diagrams.
There are also some rather odd things in the instructions (such as the statement that “the upper placket is the piece that has marker points transferred to the right side of fabric”. Now I don’t know about you, but I don’t transfer marker points to the right side of the fabric unless the pattern explicitly calls for it for some reason, which wasn’t done here. It’s just assumed you’ve done this, and heck knows why. Plus there are things missing (such as the stitching down of the tab). So yeah, I was kinda surprised and frustrated by the instructions – so good at first glance, so supremely irritating when you actually try using them.
And then there’s the sizing of the pattern. I’m not sure why, since this is meant to be made in a woven, but there’s half an inch of negative ease around the bust. Is it just me, or is this kinda crazy?? I thought, heck, they’ve done it intentionally, so I’ll give it a go and see how it works out. Yeah, should have gone with my gut with that one.
I cut out my usual size (34″ bust) but when it got to trying it on, there was no way at all that that zipper was gonna be getting done up over my bust! Now to be fair, I then re-measured myself and discovered that over the past couple of weeks (since I’d last measured myself) my rib cage has done the whole pregnancy-expansion thing (gotta make space for all those displaced internal organs, after all) and is now measuring at 36″, so that combined with a very fitted (half an inch of negative ease! bodice meant it wasn’t going to do up anyway.
So I added some wedges of fabric into the side seams to solve the problem. (Luckily they’re pretty hard to see unless you point them out – this fabric is rather good like that!) Wedges rather than stripes, as the pattern starts heading into a loose fit under the bust.
But those wedges? Yeah, I added an extra 10 centimetres of width around that bodice! While 5cm of that was for my rib cage expanding a size, the other 5cm was because this thing never would have fitted me anyway. Even if my rib cage hadn’t expanded, I would have had to widen this bodice by a full size just to be able to get the zip done up.
And even then, it’s a crazy tight fit. I probably need to go up another size again – even if I’d cut the right size for my current rib cage circumference, I actually need to go up two full sizes to make this fit me properly. Argh! As it is, this squishes my boobs (what little there is of them) flat. Heck knows what would happen for any larger-busted girls, as there’s no space for my AA cups in here!
I also can’t wear it with the hook-and-eye at the neckline front done up, because due to the crazy tight fit, it results in the bib front bulging out oddly and just looking hideous, hence why it’s worn open in these photos, and yet still has drag lines across that there bib front. Gah.
Oh, and I added a bunch to the length as well, coz this was far too short for me. Normally I just add 10cm in length (at least) to everything I make, since I’m tall (177cm), but I got distracted by the surprise of negative ease in the bodice while cutting this out and completely forgot to length it. Oops! Luckily, I managed to eek out a hem extension band from the scraps I had left, so it all worked out ok. 🙂 And like with the side insets, it’s kinda hard to tell that the extension is there, unless you’re looking for it. (It’s running between my two thumbs in the image below.)
I should say as well, that the pattern itself came together really nicely. The bib front is super easy to get neat edges on, and it would have been quite a fast make if I hadn’t had to mess around with the fit. It looks harder to sew this up than it actually is!
Even with the fitting dramas and the irritating-as-heck instructions, I still like this dress. I’m hoping that once my rib cage goes back to it’s usual size post-pregnancy, it’ll fit me well (since at that point it will be two sizes bigger than the pattern calls for in the bust, rather than the one size bigger it currently is at the moment). I’ll wear it in the meantime anyway because hey, it fits over the bump well, and it’s fun to wear, with the high-low hem floating as you walk.
And, you know, it’s got purple on it. 😉
Have any of you tried making this pattern? How did you find it? I’m very curious to know if my fitting issues are common or just due to my body shape not matching the shape this pattern is drafted for, so I’d love to hear about your experiences! 🙂
Now, despite those annoyances, I am planning on making this pattern up again. It’s a good style for bump-and-I at the moment, and I’m determined not to let the pattern beat me! So I’ll try it again, three sizes bigger than I normally would (two sizes to make up for it being too small, and an extra size for expanded rib cage) and we’ll see how that goes.
I caught up with some of the lovely WSBN (Wellington Sewing Bloggers Network) yesterday afternoon, and we wandered around outside Te Papa to get some photos. Nikki and I were getting our photo taken at the same time at one point. Indie pattern fight! Boo yah!!!
Nah, we’re friends really, I promise. 😉