I struggle to turn off my self-criticizing and self-doubting brain, all the time. Why would it be any different when I’m trying to choose a pattern to sew. Such was my dilemma when I wanted to make up a simple dress that I could pair with tights or without. Easy, right? No, not when my brain gets in the way. What should have been a 5-minute decision took me days to decide. Days, when I trolled various sights like PatternReview, Tessuti and Mood to find the ‘perfect’ simple dress, could have been spent making a couple dresses. But in the end, I finally settled on the one I thought would suit and fit me best: Farrow from Grainline
The feature of this dress that appealed to me was the unique diagonal hip pockets. It was a new technique that I had not used before, and the inseamed pockets create a flattering detail to the simple A-line silhouette. I also knew, from having already made another Grainline dress, that her patterns were well drafted and well explained. In hindsight, my decision should have been made in 5-minutes, but it isn’t always so easy in the moment.
Of course, the convenience of an instant PDF download is inconvenienced by the time-consuming effort of printing out pages of A4 sheets to be taped together meticulously. But as I do not live currently in the U.S., I decided PDF was my best friend. Several hours of uninterrupted cutting and taping resulted in four large pattern pieces for the front and back and four smaller interior pieces for facing. I chose the sleeveless option because I wanted to wear my dress in the warmer months or in the colder months layered with a knitted cardigan, like the Mayhem cardigan from Åsa Tricosa, and merino tights. Usually, I would do a toile, especially if I were using a commercial pattern, but because I had already used Grainline patterns before, I decided to risk it. Would I be sorry later?
The challenges of this project were cutting and sewing up the linen fabric that I picked. Because I chose a medium weight linen, its drape danced a bit whilst I was trying to cut it. Perhaps I would have been better served had I used a rotary cutter but my cutter blade was dull so I had no choice but to use my shears. During this process, I also realized that linen frays. Arghhh! Without the aid of a serger, I usually prefer french seams, but given the bulk of the fabric, I didn’t want the seams to be too thick so I opted for light-weight cotton bias binding and, when I ran out of bias binding (poor planning on my part), I used the zigzag stitch to finish the edges.
Wearing this dress in the summer with sandals, I loved its drape, it’s coolness and it’s comfort. Equally, when I wore it in the cooler months over my merino tights, merino shirt, with a knitted cardigan over it, it provided a warm outfit for travel and for play. Having finished one Farrow dress, I can easily see myself making another. Hopefully, next time, I won’t wait so long to decide.
My Farrow Notes:
- Well-drafted pattern- used armhole and shoulder to modify other patterns
- Graceful silhouette
- This dress would be great in different fabrics-denim, cotton, silk, wool, etc…
- Instead of hook/eye for back, used a fun pirate button purchased in Paris
- No toile needed. Yeah!