Last month, I was lucky enough to get to test out the newest release from Closet Case Patterns - the Fiona Sundress! I had my doubts about whether or not I would like this style on me, but I've worn it multiple times since finishing it and already have pattern hacks going on in my head...so I guess it's a winner!
Now, if you know me, or follow me, or have ever seen a photo of me, you know that I am NOT a fitted dress person. You can find me in boxy dresses all day long, but rarely anything that shows my shape. Like, to the point where it's become a running joke with my husband. So when Heather e-mailed that the newest pattern was a fitted dress, I had some concerns. Fitted? Woven fabric? No stretch? I don't know about all that...
But I'm sold. I feel so sexy and confident in this dress, which are two things I never thought I would say about my handmades. The fit is amazing and so unbelievably flattering! Heather and her team did change a few things after all of the testers gave their feedback, and I'll try to note that where it applies.
After my Jenny Overalls experience when I decided not to grade at my waist, I blended between two sizes for the Fiona Sundress. The top and waist are a size 12 and I graded to a size 14 at the hips (my hip measurement fell right in the middle of size 12 and 14).
If you are in between sizes like me, I would recommend going up to the larger size. It will give you a little bit more room to move around and I find that I don't worry about the snaps busting open with that extra space.
I did end up bringing in the waist after I finished sewing the whole thing together. It probably ended up closer to a size 12 in the bust, 10 in the waist, and 14 in the hips. #curves.
Based on my measurements, I would have been super hesitant to cut this sizing in the beginning, as I would have thought it woudl be too tight in the waist. But the ease is somewhat generous and again, you can definitely play around with the fit as you try it on!
I really like the construction of this dress. It leaves a lot of room for adjustments if needed, especially in the bust and the waist. I would definitely recommend trying it on a lot as you go.
It was a little tricky to get the fit of the straps right and I ended up needing to shorten them afterwards to get the bust to sit correctly. However, the order of construction changed during the testing phase, so I think it will be even better in this final version.
I do feel like the underarms sit a little high for my liking and rub my armpits a bit too much for comfort. I think this is totally my fault though. Part of my decision to shorten the straps and raise up the dress was to get my waist to fall at the right point (and fit a little better through the bust). But I should have known to shorten the bodice a bit, as I always need to do this for any pattern with a waistline. I doubt this will be a problem for anyone else!
I love that you don't need to make any massive fit changes that can feel really overwhelming to get the right fit on the Fiona Sundress. Just take it in a little here and there to get the fit just right.
I used a Robert Kaufman Chambray that I've had in my stash for ages. It's a midweight apparel cotton and it feels like great fit for this dress - not so heavy that it's stiff, but substantial enough to feel like it's holding me in a bit. I haven't seen this color in a really long time, but you can find something similar on Fabric.com. And you wouldn't know it from looking at these pictures, but I definitely ironed this dress before putting it on for photos. Apparently chambray and sitting in cars don't mix well. Who knew?
While reading comments on Instagram about the new pattern, I saw a few people mention that they want to sew this dress after they learn how to tackle buttonholes. I have two words for those people: button snaps. I had never used snaps before and I am 100% a convert. I love them and want everything to snap from here on out.
Not only do you kind of get to feel like a male stripper when getting undressed at the end of the day (score!), but they are so much easier to install than I thought they would be! Much easier than buttonholes, that's for sure. I bought this set from Amazon.
I do sometimes worry that my snaps will pop open when I don't want them to, but so far it hasn't been a problem. The bottom two popped open when I squatted down to grab something off the floor, but otherwise they've stayed shut all long! I will now install snaps on everything.
I'm already planning another version of this dress with the fitted bodice and more of a circle skirt out of something flowy. Or maybe the Esplanade Bra from Orange Lingerie with this skirt for something super sexy.
Yet again, Closet Case Patterns makes such a great basic that can truly be customized into whatever you can imagine.
The paper pattern is still being printed, but we've got our copies on order and will get them in the shop for you as soon as they arrive! Keep an eye out on Instagram for the update.