I love getting to do pattern testing for Sarah of Cali Faye Collection...her patterns are always so easy and comfortable! I was a tester for her Rumi Pullover last year and still wear one of my versions at least once a week.
So of course, when the opportunity to test her new summer pattern, the Klein Dress, came along, I couldn't turn it down!
Klein is a simple summer dress with a gathered, (just below) empire waist. There is an option for either bias tape straps or adjustable straps, depending on your sewing expertise and preference. The pattern is written to fall just below your knees, but can easily be shortened.
Sarah offers tutorials for either a full bust adjustment or a small bust adjustment and makes it super easy by marking the slash point in the armsyce in the pattern! I am the first to admit that I try to avoid bust adjustments at all costs, but it wasn't bad at all.
I definitely recommend making a muslin of the bodice. There are a few variables with the bodice that can really depend on the person in this pattern - dart placement, strap length, waistline - and a muslin will help you figure all that out before cutting into your beloved fabric. I made 3 bodices of this pattern before finalizing my fit.
I did a full bust adjustment in my first version, but the Sarah made some changes to the second draft and I didn't end up needing any adjustments in my second draft. For reference, I made the size 6-8 and my bust measurements are on the higher side for this size (and it still fits!)
Keep in mind as you're trying on the bodice, that it will feel a little more voluminous and "poufy" than when you have the skirt attached, as the weight of the skirt pulls the whole thing down a little.
The only other change I made was to cut straight across the waist of the bodice on the front pattern piece. The pattern dips down a little in the center front and back front, by about an inch from the side seams. I wanted my version to fit a little bit more like a loose empire waist dress, so I removed the dip.
I used a cotton voile that was very lightweight and sheer. So that I didn't have to wear a slip with this dress, and to add a little more weight to the skirt, I fully lined the skirt as well (the pattern already calls for lining the bodice).
I want to love this pattern as written so badly...the other testers look so cute in their summer dresses! But I just can't fall in love with the boxy shape of the dress on me. I know - you're shocked. Jess doesn't love a boxy dress?! The world might come crashing down around me.
But I think it's the gathers in addition to the boxiness. The skirt just adds too much volume without any shape. For my more hourglass shape, that just doesn't do it for me. The pattern is so well written and a great starting point...I just think I need to keep playing with it. I'm really tempted to add some elastic to the back waistline to pull it in a little bit and give me a little bit more shape. Or I might take the waistline in on my next version and install a zipper. I know this completely changes the look of the dress, but it also might make it more wearable for me.
That said, I highly recommend the Klein Dress for someone looking for an easy-breezy, loose summer dress! You can go from cutting to wearing it in an afternoon and it makes such a great warm-weather basic.