Monday, 30 August 2021

Smoke Linen Hallon Dress

Summer has been very damp and a little chilly here in the UK so I tried to inspire the weather into making one last late attempt to get hot and sunny by making a very summery dress! The Hallon Dress from Paradise Patterns caught my attention on Instagram when it was first released (under a different name to begin with). I love this easy breezy style of dress but really loved that this particularly style retained a bit of shape (rather than hanging like a tent) and a whole lot of drama because of that low back! I think the volume of the lower portion of the dress is balanced out really nicely by the strappy top and exposed skin up top. Although perhaps after the last 18 months of on and off lockdown and restrictions I was just sucked in by the sunny product photos and the idea of wafting around on a beach in such style! 

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Paradise Patterns Hallon Dress in smoke green linen from The Fabric Store

I enjoyed working with and wearing the gingham linen I used for my Aura Dress so much that I pretty much straight away added more linen to this month's ambassador order from The Fabric Store! It washes up so beautifully and has this exquisitely soft hand and drape. I think linen is a great choice for this dress as when combined with all the gathers it gives the style real body and movement. Although I do think a fluid viscose or silk would be so gorgeous used for the other variation of this pattern, which has a straighter cut and no gathering. 

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Paradise Patterns Hallon Dress in smoke green linen from The Fabric Store

There are so many different choices of colours and weights of linen on The Fabric Store now I had a hard time choosing but I eventually plumped for the vintage finish linen in the green smoke colour. The beauty of the vintage finish range is that it arrives with the slightly worn in look and softness that line garments usually get over the course of a number of wears and washes. Perfect for this dress as I didn't want the fabric to be too 'pokey' or stiff. The colour is a little more grey in reality than I was expecting but it is one of those that seems to change quite a lot in different lights! It is actually the complete opposite of the vibrant tropical fabric that sprang to mind when I first saw this pattern but actually now it is sewn up it feels so much more 'me'. And probably more indicative of a British summertime haha!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Paradise Patterns Hallon Dress in smoke green linen from The Fabric Store

This is the first design I have sewn from Paradise Patterns and must say it is a really well drafted pattern with good instructions. I followed the instructions to the letter and am really pleased with the finish. You are instructed to use french seams for the side seams which makes the inside as beautiful as the outside. The way the binding is applied to finish the neckline and create the straps is lovely and clean too. A very satisfying sew...well unless like me you dislike gathering as there is a bit of that involved! I actually didn't find the gathering too painful as it is just the hem ruffle and the small section at the back which you can adjust the tightness of your gathers of to make the back dip lower or higher.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Paradise Patterns Hallon Dress in smoke green linen from The Fabric Store

The pattern includes B and D cup options and a good amount of information to help you chose the right size and achieve a good fit. I find it so helpful when this information is specific to the pattern (as in this case) as the adjustments needed can vary so much from style to style. You choose your size based on both your high and full bust measurements, although lots of other measurements including depth on the back neckline are included.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Paradise Patterns Hallon Dress in smoke green linen from The Fabric Store

The back of my dress doesn't dip quite as low as the sample images which was a deliberate choice I made for my own personal comfort. I'm really pleased with how the back of the dress is sitting as it feels reasonably snug to my back so no one will be able to see down or around the gaps as I move around! To achieve this I shortened the dress following the pattern instructions. The pattern is drafted for someone who is 5ft 7" and if you are shorter than that the instructions advise you to take 1/3 of the difference out across the chest and the rest from the hem. I'm 5ft 3" and often have to shorten patterns through the body  so I opted to take out 2" at the lengthen/shorten line across the chest and then take a look at the hem length once I'd got the dress mostly sewn up. I then (as instructed) took those 2" I'd removed away from the length of the back neckline as I gathered it up. This all worked perfectly for me and I ended up keeping the hem length as drafted.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Paradise Patterns Hallon Dress in smoke green linen from The Fabric Store

The one thing that help me back from making this pattern earlier was not being able to wear a bra with that low back. However, as I'm so happy with the fit and I've chosen a reasonably substantial fabric I feel very comfortable in it sans bra! I think the style of this dress makes it mostly suited to super hot weather but I might experiment a little with layering it up so I can get more use out of it here in the UK. I can't wait to finally get on a hot weather beach holiday though as I think is is the perfect dress for wearing over halter neck bikinis. Now I've made this one I really want to make up the other view too. Perhaps in a slightly more luxe evening fabric.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Paradise Patterns Hallon Dress in smoke green linen from The Fabric Store


2 comments:

  1. it's a fabulous dress, the scoop back and high neck look fabulous. Oh for some amazing weather to wear it!

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  2. It looks so lovely!
    Concerning the bra - Bella Serrano(@whatbellamade on Instagram) has made a tutorial on how to add a built-in 'bra' to this exact pattern, so that might be helpful! I think it's on youtube, but there is probably also a link to it in her insta bio.

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