Monday, February 23, 2015

Felicity Dress

In January I pattern tested Jennifer Lauren's newest pattern, the Felicity Dress. The timing was great, because I ended up with a lovely summer dress that's seen a reasonable amount of wear already.

The bodice is cleverly designed, with the shaping through the centre front seam and neckline gathers. The dress is unlined and the arm and neckholes are finished with bias binding. I made up a quick muslin of the bodice, and was very pleasantly surprised to discover that in general the bodice fit fantastically as drafted! I have since learnt that Jennifer drafts for a D cup, something I didn't know before. For reference, I made a size 12.

Now, I'm a rebel. I knew I wanted to make the 3/4 circle skirt view, but the pattern states that I need 150cm wide fabric tor this. However, I wanted to make the dress from fabric from my stash, and selected this lovely cotton lawn that I've had in my stash for aaaages (it was originally going to become a Jasmine blouse before I decided that Collette patterns aren't for me as they require too many alterations to fit me). The problem was that the fabric I selected was only 115cm wide. The limiting factor with the fabric width is the front skirt piece, so to make it work with my narrower fabric I added a seam down the centre front of the skirt.

Because of this I disregarded the cutting layout. I made two layers by folding the fabric lengthwise, cutting it in half and rotating to preserve the direction of the print. My fabric was 2.4m long, and was the perfect amount for View A in size 12.

With regards to the pdf pattern, I like how Jennifer has separated the pattern pieces for the different views, so you can easily print just one view. However I missed the existence of ‘markers’ to line up my pages while I was sticking them together.

The one thing I don’t like about my dress is the pockets. I find the functional part of the pockets too small/shallow and am concerned as to the security of the stuff in my pockets when wearing the dress (I’m a big pocket user), at minimum my phone lives in my pocket. I think that my issue with the pockets is primarily due to how low the top edge of the pocket scoops down, so if making this again I would raise the top edge of the pockets by at least 1-1.5” at the side seams, and potentially also add some extra depth to the bottom of the pocket. To check dimensions I think I would compare it against another pocket I know I like, for example the Hollyburn pockets, to check these alterations.

I made some small adjustments to the bodice, which I would do again for subsequent versions. I shortened the bodice by 2.5cm and raised the bottom of the armholes by 1cm. Jennifer has actually raised the front bodice at the shoulders by 1cm after the pattern testing was completed and by 0.5cm at the front waistline, so if I were to use the final version of the pattern I wouldn’t need to adjust the armholes, and would only need to shorten the bodice by 1cm. However, I would need to bear in mind that the neckline is 1cm higher than on my version.

I also took the bodice in by about 3cm total (8mm at each side seam) at the waist. I don’t know if this is an artefact of my fabric, because the maths on this don’t make sense, as there’s only 0.5" ease drafted for the waist, and my waist measurement is the same as that for the size I made. This alteration I wouldn’t make on the pattern, but would play it by ear during construction in case it was an artefact of my fabric.

I found the bias binding instructions confusing in the pattern testing version, however they've been rewritten and look much better now. One thing to note however is that I purchased 25mm binding as I couldn't find 20mm in the right colour so planned on cutting it down (I figured this would still be easier/cheaper than buying fabric the right colour and making my own). However, when I measured my 25mm binding flat it was the desired 40mm width, so just repressed it without cutting it down. So there’s a tip for you; always double check the flat binding measurement too, in this case you want 40mm binding.

Which brings me onto my next comment, the neckline and armhole have a 10mm seam allowance, which is marked on the pattern pieces. However, the finished edge isn't actually 10mm from the edge of the pattern piece, but is exactly the same as the pattern piece, as you stitch bias binding enclosing the edge of the fabric. That felt like a convoluted sentence, hopefully it made sense.

The instructions have you do a lapped zip. I tried following the instructions and my zip was a massive fail, somehow my seam allowance wasn't anywhere near wide enough for the lap to actually work. I'm not sure where I went wrong, but in the end I just unpicked the whole thing and did a hand-picked centred zip. While I’d always thought you should do a 2cm seam allowance for lapped zips, my failure is most likely due to me and shouldn't reflect badly on the pattern. I understand that Jennifer is going to be doing a detailed photo tutorial of the lapped zip insertion method as part of her sewalong for the dress, so I look forward to reading that to see where I went wrong.

I also made a change at the top of the zip at the centre back, changing the order that I folded the bias binding under as I think my order made it a bit neater. I also hemmed the dress differently to the instructions, just overlocking the edge and then folding it over once with a 1cm seam allowance and topstitching. This is my go-to hemming method on full curved hems on a lightweight dress like this. It made the dress 1.5cm longer than drafted, which I'm also happy with as I love the length I've ended up with.

Pattern: Felicity by Jennifer Lauren
Fabric:  Cotton Lawn from Spotlight
Notions: Thread, Bias binding, 24" dress zip


  1. It looks great and I appreciate the honest review you posted. Yours has the best neckline of all versions I've seen so far.

  2. Oh that is just gorgeous on you! I'm trying desperately to not click buy on all of Jennifer's patterns, but it's so tough! Your version is definitely my favourite so far. :)

  3. This is gorgeous, and I absolutely love the neckline.

  4. I love this dress. I didn't know Jennifer drafted for a D cup. Mmmh, that will been a FBA for me :(

  5. The neckline of your dress is great. I love the contrast binding bands.


Comments make me smile :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...