Sunday, 30 May 2021

Viscose Print Wilder Gown

I usually tend to start with the pattern when I'm planning sewing projects. I'm either inspired by the pattern itself or by a style of garment and then find a pattern to match or hack. However, on this occasion I started with the fabric and am so pleased I did as this has turned into one of the most joyous items of clothing in my wardrobe! A couple of months ago Polina from Good Fabric reached out to me to see I would be interested in reviewing a fabric from her online store. I was very happy to have the opportunity to work with her as all of the fabrics she stocks have a variety of sustainable and eco-friendly credentials and are drop dead gorgeous to boot!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Friday Pattern Company Wilder Gown in Cousette Viscose Print from Good Fabric

I had a hard time choosing from the beautifully curated selection but eventually settled on Magnolia Blossom which is one of the new viscose prints from Cousette (this particular fabric is OEKO-TEX Standard 100 which means the finished product has been tested for harmful substances but it doesn't speak to the effects of the manufacturing process). I had a few ideas about what I wanted to do with this fabric but left the final choice of pattern until I had it in my hands. I had expected it to be super fine and lightweight, meaning I would have to line it but was really delighted to discover that it has a bit of substance to it and was nice and opaque. The weave is still beautifully smooth and it retains a lovely diaphanous, fluid movement.


Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Friday Pattern Company Wilder Gown in Cousette Viscose Print from Good Fabric

For me the best thing about this fabric is the scale of the print. I think it is quite hard to find dressmaking fabrics with big prints like this, you get a lot of ditsy florals and smaller scale designs. I'm not usually drawn to such bold prints but there was something about this combination of colours and the contemporary vibe that I couldn't resist. As the print was so large I knew I wanted to choose a pattern with some nice big pattern pieces that would provide a big canvas to show it off. I've got a few patterns for big, voluminous summer dresses (buffet dresses if you've been watching Sewing Bee!) on my wish list but ended up going for a pattern I already own; the Wilder Gown from Friday Pattern Company.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Friday Pattern Company Wilder Gown in Cousette Viscose Print from Good Fabric

Since making my top version of this pattern last year I've been meaning to make the dress variation. I did try it out a while back in a really fine chiffon but it was a bit of a disaster. I think this dress needs a little more weight that chiffon can provide, to give it a really nice swing. Chiffon just billowed about everywhere uncontrollably but this works perfectly. I love the way it moves and despite effectively being a big gathered tent it doesn't feel overwhelming at all.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Friday Pattern Company Wilder Gown in Cousette Viscose Print from Good Fabric

My tiers are slightly narrower width-wise than the pattern directs due to the width of the fabric. I could have made them the right width by adding in more pieces but I didn't want to have too many seams and figured the gathering being ever so slightly less full wouldn't be a problem. The height of my tiers is exactly as the pattern intends but I chose to use 2" in the hem (two 1" turns) to make it a little shorter and also add a little weight to enhance that swing. One thing I really like about this pattern is that it gives you the option to print out the pattern pieces for the skirt tiers or the measurements to just cut them out yourself without pieces. As they are just rectangles it is really easy to measure these out and just rip across your fabric (another tip from the pattern!), saving paper, printer ink and your assembly time! Or you can have the reassurance of a pattern piece if you like.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Friday Pattern Company Wilder Gown in Cousette Viscose Print from Good Fabric

Speaking of those gathered tiers, does anyone else detest gathering as much as I do?! I just don't have the patience to stand there for hours fiddling around with it until it is completely even! Does anyone have any tips or tricks to make this process a bit easier? Aside from the gathering this gown is such a lovely straightforward a speedy sew. Lots of nice straight lines and not much to think about in the way of fitting. You just want to choose the right size across the shoulders and bust and think about the length really. I cut the size S which works for my bust size but is technically a bit small for my waist and hips, not that that really matters for this pattern. For reference my measurements are currently 34", 28", 38" and I'm 5ft 3".

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Friday Pattern Company Wilder Gown in Cousette Viscose Print from Good Fabric

I'd definitely recommend this pattern to beginners wanting to try something a bit different. Friday Pattern Company patterns always have such a fun vibe to them. They are really enjoyable to sew and wear and for me really celebrate the joy of getting dressed and wearing clothes that you love. 

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Friday Pattern Company Wilder Gown in Cousette Viscose Print from Good Fabric

I like wearing the top version of this pattern with the ties undone and a more open neckline but looking at these photos I really like the dress tied right up. I thought having it all tied up around my neck wouldn't suit me and I might feel overwhelmed in fabric but I think maybe the shorter sleeve balances it out and I love it! After taking these pictures I actually gathered the neckline up to a place I was happy with and stitched the ties in place so they can no longer slide through the channel and everything stays in place if I do want to wear it open. I can still tie it up but everything is more secure and controlled. 

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Friday Pattern Company Wilder Gown in Cousette Viscose Print from Good Fabric

I deliberated over how much effort to put into pattern matching this print. With big prints I would usually do a fair bit of pattern matching as there are some big shapes which you don't want to break up too much. However, I decided with this pattern as there is so much gathering (making pattern matching impossible) and the print is quite abstract and random I could get away without doing too much. In fact I only did the most obvious point; the centre front seam. I could have done the raglan sleeves at the front but it is impossible to do that at the back too so I opted to leave it. To be honest, unless it is really obvious stripes or checks I'm not that fussed about perfect pattern matching. I'd rather spend the time I've saved doing more of the enjoyable aspects of sewing. My sewing, my rules!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Friday Pattern Company Wilder Gown in Cousette Viscose Print from Good Fabric

Now I've made this I'd really like to make another top version of this pattern but with the bodice cropped and a gathered tier attached just like the dress. I think I also much prefer the shorter length sleeves. I've seen a few semi sheer textured gauze fabrics around recently which I think would be beautiful for it. Or a nice, soft crinkly linen. You can tell that the weather has finally turned towards summer here in the UK...all I want to sew is breezy garments in linen and cotton!

8 comments:

  1. This dress looks like it would be fun to wear! My "gathering trick" is pretty simple -- the more markings you give yourself the easier it is. WHen you inset sleeves you have six different marks, shoulder seam, front and back notches, and small dots between, and side seam. To set the sleeve ease, you run two rows of gathering stitches between the notches and then pin at all six marks. The sleeve almost eases its way in. Usually. My point is that the marks make it easier to adjust fullness of gathers. For this dress you could have center front and back and side seam marks, and then add marks halfway between centers and seams. THen when it's pinned to the bodice, it's easier to even out the gathers. It's taken me longer to describe than it actually takes to do, hoping you can figure out what I mean. Also, a small design suggestion: The sleeves would be pretty as cap sleeves with a loose but gathered edge.

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    1. Great reminders, but this pattern does not have gathers at the sleeves - they are raglan and so not inset. That said, for this dress I made points like you’re describing and it helps it go quickly but it’s still a whole lotta gathering and pinning!

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  2. Re: gathering. You could try zigzagging over a length of yarn or cord (make sure you don't catch it in the stitches) & then pull it to distribute the gathers. Even faster (at the front end), you could gather with elastic & then unpick the elastic after. If you use a slim elastic & keep it within the seam allowance, you won't have any stitching holes on the exterior of your finished garment. The unpicking would take some time, but if you're good at just pulling the bobbin thread out, it can go pretty fast. Either of those methods is faster & less fiddly than the usual basting stitch method...& the gathers are more consistent with less effort, as well.

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  3. Lovely dress. I made my first Wilder gown this year too. I do all my gathering on the overlocker - settings in manual - change dial wizz the seam , job done. Can’t understand why anyone would do it any other way!!

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    1. When you don’t own an over locker….. haha.

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  4. Hi Fiona - great make as always! I went through the SAME thought process re: fabric selection for this dress that you did and also went with an opaque viscose with some weight / body to it with large random designs. I came to this after looking at lots of other makes - not caring for the look of small prints or flowy fabrics (for me anyway). I’m equally delighted with the outcome. I’ve been sewing for 50 years and discovered a new skill I wanted to share (knowing a lot of readers may well think, “duh,” haha). I prefer to finish seams with French or flat fell. I googled how to make French seams with gathered seams… and was blown away with a 10 year old post on now to do it. For the first pass, you sew a 3/8” seam using a zig zag stitch (assumes 5/8” seam allowance), trimming to the edge of the stitch. Then press flat and sew the second pass with a straight stitch - perfectly encasing the zigged edge. I cannot believe I’ve never done this and will do it this way for all future French seaming, gathers or not. I love the clean finish and is perfect for this dress! LOVE your make!

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  5. I remember seeing and liking the Wilder top you made, but I have to confess I love the dress even more. I think it's the warm palette that's swaying me. If you choose a semi-sheer fabric for the next iteration, do you think you'd (partially) line it or wear a slip?

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  6. This is amazing thanks for sharing this blog I become fan of your blogs now. This blog is so interesting and informative.

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