Friday, 28 April 2017

Pattern Testing: Eve Dress from Sew Over It

I am pattern testing much less nowadays as it can be really time consuming when you do it throughly and to be brutally honest my sewing queue is so long that I'm never short of things that I'd rather be sewing! However there are some things that I just can't resist and will squeeze in no matter how busy I am and the new Eve Dress from Sew Over It was one of them! I always enjoy testing for Lisa and the ladies on the Sew Over It team as they really do value and incorporate the feedback from their testers. It's not just a last minute 'quick let's get a few other people to sew this up so they'll blog about it' they use it as a key part of the process to iron out every tiny mistake and make the final release the best it can be. Blogging about what I've made is never a requirement and sometimes I don't but I've been dying to share this one with you.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Sew Over It Eve Dress in Maroon Floral Viscose

The Eve Dress has been one of the most requested garments from their classes to be released as a separate pattern and is now available in both PDF and paper form. It's a wrap style, designed for woven fabrics and there are two variations included in the pattern. Version 1 has statement flutter sleeves and a dramatic dipped hem and version 2 has more of a contemporary feel with slim elbow length sleeves and a straight hem. Of course I totally succumbed to the the seventies drama of those flutter sleeves and the high-low hem!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Sew Over It Eve Dress in Maroon Floral Viscose

Sew Over It supplied the fabric for testing and I decided to choose mine in person at the Knitting & Stitching Show as I felt it was really important to get the right weight and drape for this flowing style. I actually really struggled with choosing fabric as version 1 is a very feminine style for me. My wardrobe does get a bit girly but when the style is so pretty I tend to favour darker, richer colours in solids or larger scale prints to balance it out. A lot of the fabric on their stand with the movement I was after was in pastels and small florals which would make a gorgeous Eve but wasn't for me. But when I returned to the stand when things had quietened down at the end of the day a bolt of just what I was looking for leapt out at me and my decision was made. It's a very fine viscose with the cool, smooth hand I love to wear and it flows and moves beautifully.  It is a little sheer in direct light so I will probably have to wear it with a slip on a sunny day which is a shame as I like how the viscose feels against the skin. Perhaps I should have considered a lining or underling but that would have been quite a huge job and it's a little late now!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Sew Over It Eve Dress in Maroon Floral Viscose

I had 3m of the fabric (the final pattern recommends slightly more) and the only reason I needed all of it was the length of the waist ties! I will point out that I never follow layout charts and prefer to jiggle the pattern pieces around to use as little fabric as possible. I had about 3/4m of fabric left over with only a slither missing from the side where I had cut the ties. If you're short on fabric and cutting one of the smaller sizes you might want to consider slimming down the skirt panels slightly so you can fit the ties alongside them across the width of your fabric. I personally wouldn't want the make the ties any shorter as I love the way the wrap around the waist rather than just tying at the back where they first meet. Turning through that length of tube will test your patience as they are quite slim but I love the width as anything wider would feel a bit clunky on this romantic style.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Sew Over It Eve Dress in Maroon Floral Viscose

As much as I love the movement of the fabric now it's sewn up it did give me some trouble during cutting and construction! The shiftiness of it, particularly against itself made keeping things on grain when cutting a real challenge and the construction required a lot of pins to keep everything in place. Sewing the ties on with nice neat rectangles of stitching was exceptionally difficult and I haven't done a brilliant job but fortunately the print hides it! Luckily the viscose holds a nice crisp crease when pressed which made all the turning under and stitching required around the front edge and hems a doddle. You don't want to use a fabric which frays badly as the front edge plus hem of the skirt and sleeves are achieved by simply finishing the edges either with an overlocker or zig zag/over-edge stitch on your regular machine, turning them under and stitching.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Sew Over It Eve Dress in Maroon Floral Viscose

Sew Over It do recommend using a cotton lawn or voile if you are new to sewing and I would heartily agree after my shifty viscose experience! Fine and drapey fabrics can be very shifty and with all the little details going on in this design I think that could make it tricky for anyone without a bit of sewing experience under their belt. I'm actually not a huge fan of lawn for dressmaking as although lightweight it does have a fairly crisp hand and doesn't drape or flow anything like as well as a viscose crepe or silk georgette. I think it's more suited to shirts and styles with a bit of structure. However with this design it could add some really interesting body to the skirt whilst the weight would retain the breezy feel and the wrap portion of the bodice is quite close fitting so you don't need to be worried about how it will drape in this area.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Sew Over It Eve Dress in Maroon Floral Viscose

I cut between the size 8-10 as I always do with Sew Over It patterns as that pretty much exactly matches my measurements and am really happy with the fit. One of the things that I love about their designs is that they really understand what is flattering and comfortable on a woman's body and this is no exception. The wrap bodice has just the right amount of fabric in it and fits closely at the shoulders thanks to the yoke pieces. The patterns fit true to size as well without too much ease. As it is designed with a relaxed fit there is some ease in the back of the bodice but the shaped centre back seam means it still fits well rather than pooling strangely. The waist size on this is spot on as it doesn't do that annoying thing that I've had with wrap dresses before when the dress starts to come through the hole you thread the tie through when tied as tight as you want.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Sew Over It Eve Dress in Maroon Floral Viscose

As usual it did come up very long on me! I can see from the pictures of Lisa modelling it that version 1 is designed to be more of a midi length but on 5ft 3" me with the dipped hem that looked a bit overwhelming. When I first tried it on the front hem was hitting 5" below my knee so I chopped off 4.5" all round. I thought those wide curved skirt panels would mean my shifty viscose would drop all kinds of wonky so I left it to hang for 24 hours before hemming but it actually didn't do much.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Sew Over It Eve Dress in Maroon Floral Viscose

The height of the neckline and placement of the wrap is great but as my fabric is so slippery I do feel a little bit at risk of exposure as the dress shifts about so have chosen to add a tiny popper at the centre of the neckline to keep things in place. The overlap of the wrap on the skirt is a generous amount and I don't at all feel concerned about this blowing open. The only other thing I did differently to the instructions was to attach my ties before hemming the dress so I could put it on properly and asses the length. I did pick up a handful of other little niggles with the instructions e.t.c while testing but I imagine if you make up the final pattern it will look very similar to mine here as they were only very small and no major changes were made to the drafting.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Sew Over It Eve Dress in Maroon Floral Viscose

I think the trickiest part of sewing a wrap dress is probably not stretching out the front edges of the bodice. That edge is on the bias so it's very easy to do but it's really important to keep a close fit in that area as you want it to hug the body and not gape open. The Eve instructions have you reinforce this edge with stay tape to stop it stretching out over time and my favourite part of the pattern is that the instructions include a chart explaining the length of stay tape you will need. It breaks it down into what length you need for the front bodice, yoke, and back neckline for each size so you can mark these points on your tape and check that nothing has stretch out to longer than it should be during construction. If it has you can ease the edges of your dress onto the tape to ensure a closer fit. Such  great idea.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Sew Over It Eve Dress in Maroon Floral Viscose

Now I've finished it of course I'm seeing viscose prints all over the place and I want to make more! But I'm really happy I trusted my instincts with the maroon as although the flutter sleeves and breezy wrap skirt lend themselves to more of a summer style I reckon I could get away with styling this with dark tights and smart ankle boots in autumn and winter too. This dress plus strappy sandals would be the perfect summer wedding guest outfit; it's a shame I haven't got any to go to this year but I have got a few press nights for work which I reckon it could be just the ticket for too!

15 comments:

  1. I totally agree with you on this fabric choice and the reasons behind its choice. It's a great way to balance a project and your dress is boho chic! Love it!

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    1. Thanks Sarah! After worrying it would turn into something I wouldn't get a lot of wear out of I'm really delighted with how it's turned out. Boho chic is much more me!

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  2. This is beautiful seriously tempted by the pattern now!
    Frankie
    Www.knitwits-owls.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. Thanks Frankie! It's a great pattern, and the other view would be a real wardrobe staple

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  3. Thank you so much for writing this up! I have learnt so much and I love your tips and love reading your rationale for the fabric you choose. I am of similar height and size to you, hence why I love reading your blogs! :) The dress looks gorgeous on you! I am not into pastels and flowers either and struggled to find the right fabric but managed to find a rayon which I am hoping is not as hard to sew as your viscose. :)

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    1. Thanks Sharon! That's a such a lovely comment to read! I feel like I go on too much in my blog posts sometimes so it's great to hear that my ramblings are useful!
      This viscose was particularly slippery and fine so I'm sure your rayon will be fine to work with. It just takes patience and lots of pins!

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  4. Beautiful version, certainly very tempted by this pattern! xo

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    1. Thank you! I'd love to see your version of this! Bet it would look great on you

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  5. As soon as I saw this pattern released I fell in love with it and it will be my first Sew Over It purchase. I thought I had decided on sewing up an Anna dress for my brother's wedding later this year but now I'm thinking of swapping to and Eve dress. The only thing is the fabric I have needs underlining because it is quite sheer and I'm sure how that would look with the finished hems of this dress.

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    1. I can totally understand the love! It would make a really beautiful wedding guest dress but the Anna is a great pattern too so what a dilemma you have on your hands!
      Underlining would be absolutely fine, just make sure you pick a colour you don't mind seeing a bit of as you probably will get flashes of it at the hem and sleeves. The way the edges are turned in a stitch would look lovely with a contrasting colour inside. Enjoy!

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  6. Love it! While I am not usually a fan of those types of uneven hem lines, this is quite attractive in your version.

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    1. I feel exactly the same as you! I'm not usually a fan of a dramatic high low hem but I think this gets the proportions just right. I think it's all to do with the length at the front. Thank you!

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  7. Oh I love a wrap dress. Very feminine and wearable!

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    1. Everyone needs at least one wrap dress in their life don't they Catherine?! Thank you

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  8. I have bought the pdf version because I'm impatient. Silly really as the fabric won't till next week. I'm really excited but also very nervous as I've never seen with viscose before. I have a couple of dresses that have been sitting in my wardrobe for longer than I care to admit that I'll never wear again so I'm going to practice on them. Thank you for the useful tips, they mean a lot to people like me. If mine is half as beautiful as yours I will be happy.

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I love hearing from readers of my blog so please feel free to leave a comment letting me know what you thought about this post/make! Any hints or tips to improve my sewing are always much appreciated too!