Tuesday, 19 July 2022

Floral Viscose Jacquard Pauline Dress

I'm going to start this post with a confession. I didn't expect to like this dress as much as I do! I loved the style of the Closet Core Patterns Pauline Dress from the moment it was released but I wasn't 100% sure whether the design would suit my proportions. I'm so glad I pushed those doubts to the back of my mind though as I absolutely adore it! 

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Closet Core Patterns Pauline Dress in Viscose Jacquard Print from Selvedge and Bolts

The fabric is a beautiful printed viscose jacquard from Selvedge and Bolts which I picked up at The Stitch Festival earlier this year. If I'm honest I could have bought the whole stall! I have to stay off the website for the sake of my bank balance. I love the mottled effect of the print which I think makes the floral a bit less twee and a bit more me. The print is layered over a sort of tiger stripe jacquard weave which gives the print an added depth and lustre. I was drawn to the colours of this particular fabric as I thought it would sew up into a dress which could be worn in the summer but also layered up through the autumn and winter. I also bought a bit of the same fabric on the black base to sew up into a simple midi skirt.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Closet Core Patterns Pauline Dress in Viscose Jacquard Print from Selvedge and Bolts

The fabric has been lovely to sew, it presses and gathers really nicely and the fluid movement makes it airy and dreamy to wear. I usually detest gathering but in a fabric this fine it was quite quick and not too taxing to get the gathers even. As the fabric is so lightweight I definitely needed the interfacing on the facing pieces to keep both the front and back neckline crisp. I just used a lightweight fusible. I wondered if the fabric would be too flimsy for the sleeve style but actually it gives a lovely airy volume to the puff. As per usual I made the elastic in the cuff a bit too tight so will need to go back in and loosen that off at some point. 

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Closet Core Patterns Pauline Dress in Viscose Jacquard Print from Selvedge and Bolts

I cut a size 6 at the bust and graded out to an 8 at the waist and hips. I shortened the bodice by 1/2" at the lengthen/shorten line and used a fairly generous inch and a half in the hem. Other than that the only other change I made was to retrospectively go back in an sew the under bust pleats an inch longer. Sewn at the indicated length I was getting a bit of a pouch under the bust which didn't look right on me. I much prefer it now but actually sewing these pleats is optional, you can just leave them folded and secured at the waist seam; perhaps that would have been better. 

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Closet Core Patterns Pauline Dress in Viscose Jacquard Print from Selvedge and Bolts

I am over the moon with the fit. It fits closely without being snug across the bust, back, waist and hips. And then I love the drama of the skirt flaring out from that gathering below the hip point. I did deliberate for a while about whether I needed to adjust the position of that seam as I think that is crucial to getting this dress to look right on your body (along with where the waist seam hits). In the end I decided it was just about right. It doesn't cut me off at a weird point or emphasise the bum too much! In a thicker fabric the bulk of the gathering might be odd in this area so I think I'd stick to lighter weight fabrics if I made this again. 

The figure-skimming fit of this makes a welcome change to the loose fitting dresses I have been favouring recently. I have in fact been sewing so many smock style dresses that when I came to put in the invisible zip I realised I hadn't sewn one in a really long time and had completely lost confidence in my ability to do so! Luckily it went in beautifully first time. I'm really pleased with the finish of the back bodice in general as there are so many little pieces involved but everything matches up nicely.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Closet Core Patterns Pauline Dress in Viscose Jacquard Print from Selvedge and Bolts

As usual I found the Closet Core instructions really helpful in achieving that finish. They are really thorough and include lots of little tips along the way that I think help you learn and improve your sewing. Also as usual this design has lots of little interesting details to keep the sewing fresh and interesting. From the cut out back to the little darts at the corners of the neckline. While we are on the subject how lovely is this square neckline? I love how flat it sits. The whole dress is incredibly comfortable to wear and doesn't feel like anything is shifting about or twisting while you wear it.

If I made this again I'd be inclined to use ribbon or tape for the ties at the back nape. Making them out of this fine viscose was fiddly. Plus I'm not convinced of their durability as this fabric frays quite easily and the seam allowance has to be trimmed down quite aggressively to turn them through.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Closet Core Patterns Pauline Dress in Viscose Jacquard Print from Selvedge and Bolts

I love the pockets. I always love pockets in any project but these are particularly satisfying for some reason. I wouldn't want to put anything too bulky in to them as I think it would spoil the line of the dress but for little bits and pieces they are very useful. One thing I would recommend when sewing these is to definitely follow the extra instruction to close up the pocket opening slightly after they are constructed. I was initially confused by the need to do this and skipped that step but went back in and did it later as it makes the world of difference to the dress sitting smoothly around the hips. Without being closed up they were gaping open and ruining the line.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Closet Core Patterns Pauline Dress in Viscose Jacquard Print from Selvedge and Bolts

It is quite an involved and lengthy sew as the design of the bodice involves multiple pattern pieces and I opted to line my bodice too (as I wasn't lining the skirt I pressed the raw edge of the bodice lining under and hand stitched it in place along the waistline seam and centre back zip). Totally worth the time and effort in my opinion though, this is going to be a staple in my wardrobe!

3 comments:

  1. This is a lovely dress, and looks wonderful on you. Thanks for the tips.

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  2. This dress is a work of art and it looks amazing on you!

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  3. You look absolutely beautiful! This is one pattern that I looked at with envy but knew would be a 'no go' for my body type! I love how it looks vintage with the fabric you chose. Well done!

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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!