Updated: Sep 22, 2020
This dress came across my feed on Pinterest or Instagram, I can't remember which, but I instantly went to the website to get the pattern. As I read the pattern instructions, it mentioned having instructions for doing in seam pockets with French seams so I really got excited because I've had a couple patterns with French seams + pockets but the instructions were not good at all and I had to resort to doing regular old in seam pockets.
The shape of this dress grabbed me because of the cocoon shape and it just looked cute, classic and comfortable and I had a feeling it would be one of my go-to patterns. So I grabbed some red polyester fabric from my stash and got to work on my muslin. The pattern sizes go from XXS to 5XL and it states to choose the size based on your bust measurements. I'm about 37.5in in the bust so that put me at a size small. I'm not usually a size small but every pattern is different. The pattern does have finished measurements for the bust and waist but not hips, which are my greatest assets. Since this had a cocoon shape, I thought I would be good. My hips are about 44in, by the way so I'm a pear shape.
As I started sewing where the instructions say "Step 1", I noticed that the instructions weren't explaining how to do French seams. The pattern has instructions if you want to just sew the dress with regular seams but you have to go down a couple paragraphs to when the numbering starts or "1.1". The main part that I wanted to do the French Seams on was the side seams so not a problem.
The dress has a little split in the back, which is another cute detail and the hem has a high-low affect. I did the shoulders no problem. I did not do the optional neck binding or facing because I prefer bias tape. I believe the neck binding instructions are the bias tape method but I didn't use the pattern instructions for installing it. Then I got to the pockets. I've done French seams before and I love them. I took my time and read the instructions for doing the pockets using a French seam. It was a struggle. And on top of the struggle I realized that I had chosen the wrong type of fabric. The fabric just would not lay flat. There was just no way this was going to work.
With one side seam "done" I slipped it on to check the fit. It wouldn't close properly. On to the next muslin.
A couple things to note, the pattern is supposed to be beginner-friendly. It has 3 length options, top, mid-thigh, and above the knee. The pattern does not include a pattern layout but fine. I made the mid-thigh length for the front piece and the above the knee length for the back piece by mistake. The lines on the pattern for the different lengths are pretty close together.
I retraced the pattern to do a small at the top and medium at the bottom and used a grey and white striped seersucker. I took another stab at the French seam pockets, but they still didn't seem right and I realized that the pockets would gap, which is not a good look. It did fit, but I bailed on muslin #2 and didn't finish it. I may finish it later though (removing the pockets).
On to my next muslin.. I loved the way the dress looked on me so I wanted to keep working with the fit. I couldn't decide if I should grade to a large in the hips since I didn't know if removing the pockets would make it tighter. So I had some black stretch woven fabric that I decided to use to make muslin #3. I did not do French seams but I kept the pockets. We have a winner!! The fit was great. But.. the pockets stuck out too much. Off went the pockets. I only serged the hem of the dress, so yeah it's short.
Then after all that it hit me. This dress is pretty short! I should've made the above the knee length (palm to forehead emoji). So I'm about 5'3" and this pattern is supposed to be made for someone around 5'6". I usually have to shorten my dresses/tunics by about 2-3inches. And even after two muslins did I think, "wow, this dress is way short". Back to the tracing board.
I still wanted to see if the large at the bottom would be the best fit because I used a stretchy woven fabric for muslin #3. I was STILL apprehensive about the medium fitting me in a plain woven - no pockets. So I traced a small at the top and graded out to a large at the bottom and did the above the knee length. I made it in a 100% cotton from Walmart and I absolutely loved it!! I used bias tape at the hem and it was still just as short as the mid-thigh length. It was very roomy in the hips, which was fine.
I don't know if I would call the fourth make a muslin but for my next make, I needed to lengthen the length.. ha! I could go with either medium or large at the bottom. I haven't decided what my sweet spot is. I haven't worn either make out as they kinda feel dressier to just wear to the grocery store and most events are still cancelled for the remainder of the year. But I've had a ball dancing around the house in them!
Overall, I give this pattern a 7 out of 10. The pattern stated to use your bust measurement to determine your size and that clearly didn't work for me. It would've been nice to have finished measurements for the hips. I also was not expecting to have to add length to the hem. The instructions included a lot of info, which is great but it didn't have pattern layout pictures and while it didn't handicap me, it's nice to have a suggested pattern layout. It also would've been nice to have a note to specify the French seam instructions. And the French seam pockets still elude me. But I love the way this dress looks on me. I love the cocoon shape, the rounded-square neckline, the high-low hem, the split in the back, it doesn't have a lot of pattern pieces and it's cute in just about any fabric!
Check out my YouTube video to see my review https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5RYQtk6Pgio.