Hi-lo there, meet Simone

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.

Meet Simone, from Victory Patterns.

Simone the First dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

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.)

Simone the First dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

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.

Simone the First dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

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?)

Simone the First dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

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.

Simone from Victory Patterns

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.

Simone the First dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

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.

Simone the First dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

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.

Simone the First dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

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. πŸ™‚ 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.)

Simone the First dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

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.

Simone the First dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

And, you know, it’s got purple on it. πŸ˜‰

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! πŸ™‚

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!!!

Simone the First dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Nah, we’re friends really, I promise. πŸ˜‰

Simone the First dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

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17 responses to “Hi-lo there, meet Simone

  1. Pingback: Hi-lo there, meet Simone! | The Monthly Stitch

  2. I definitely stared at your first picture for a full minute trying to figure out how you added sleeves before I figured out it was a top underneath! I love the purple contrast, and I think this looks super cute! Bummer about the bust issues though…definitely makes this a no-no for me.

    • Haha yeah I probably should have worn a different coloured top underneath! Whoops! πŸ˜›

      I’m hoping if I make it in a bigger size it’ll fix the bust issues…. Watch this space, coz I am determined to make this pattern fit me properly, as it’s rather awesome!! πŸ˜‰

  3. I haven’t found a pattern company yet that I don’t have to make pattern alterations for, whether sewing for me or my girls. So now I just take the pattern as a guide only and make a muslin for everything. This dress looks fantastic – I agree the fitted upper body is great but there will be plenty of room for the baby belly to grow. I’m glad you didn’t use the black for the contast, the purple looks fab πŸ™‚

    • Thanks. πŸ™‚ Despite the fitting issues, I’m not too unhappy with how it turned out, and will definitely be trying it again! (Just two sizes bigger than what it tells me to cut out…..!)

      I’m used to having to do some fitting (usually lengthening and lowering bust points and SBAs) but for something to be this far off fitting is kinda unusual….

  4. I love the Victory patterns look too and the Simone is gorgeous, they’re definitely on my wish list after I’ve finished making up a few more of my new favorites – Papercut patterns. It’s great to hear about your fitting issues so I can avoid them when I get around to making one up. This dress really does look fantastic on you.

    • Thanks! πŸ™‚ I must admit to feeling somewhat bad about writing about the issues I had, but I figure it would have helped me if I had read about them before making my one, so, you know…. (Not that that’ll stop me from feeling a bit guilty/mean for a while. Erk)

      Simone is a lovely pattern, I reckon it’ll look great on you! πŸ™‚

  5. Fun photos! Negative ease in a woven bodice? That is so bananas! I’m glad you’ll make this up again though as it’s a really cool style. Nice job with the fixes and you’re right, that fabric is perfect for hiding them!

    • Thanks! πŸ™‚

      Yes, I am determined to make this pattern work for me! I’m already thinking about what to make it in next, haha!

  6. This looks so different than victory’s pictures. But that’s probably down to the sleeves underneath! I am hoping this doesn’t sound too creepy but I have thought for a little while that you look slightly similar to my ‘research for marketing, advertising, retail and sales’ lecturer (like you could be sisters or cousins) – how spooky to read that you do customer research for a job!

    • Haha, it doesn’t sound creepy at all! We all have dopplegangers out there, in some form or another! πŸ˜‰

      I was tempted to do the photos without the long sleeved top underneath but, well, just too darn cold! (It was cold enough taking off my jersey and coat to get these ones, haha! Crazy photos time – four of us taking turns stripping off our coats hurriedly and jumping in front of the camera before running to put coats back on, we must have looked insane to everyone walking by! πŸ˜‰

  7. Well I think the results look cool! I quite like Victory Patterns πŸ™‚

  8. Pingback: Circling around and around | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

  9. I’ve always loved a hi-low hem, it’s the Westie in me. A lot of Westie. And it looks fantastic in this dress. The contrast is brilliant, it looks lovely.

  10. Pingback: 34/52 Go with the flow with Simone | Flossie FT

  11. Pingback: Looking back, looking forwards (aka a brief review of 2014) | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

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