Gather Round, folks

When I started the Wanderstitch blog a couple of years ago, I decided that whatever the situation I would bring not only the whole story but the damn honest truth too. Because that’s what people in real life get from me. (‘Blunt’ is often a word that gets used to describe me 😂) I saw several blogs that focussed only on the finished item and said nothing at all regarding the hours of construction that went in. No mention of any pitfalls, tricky bits, or crappy fabrics. And it bugged me. What also bugs me is online forums where someone posts that they’re feeling a ‘meh’ about their latest make for legitimate reasons – fabric doesn’t suit/style doesn’t suit/fit issues… whatever – and you get a hundred people going ‘I think it looks really lovely!’ when really they’re thinking ‘yes maybe that’s not your colour love’ or ‘it makes your hair colour look dull’ or ‘you perhaps need to refit it around the bust’. Tell the truth, people. Because the sugar-coated lies do more damage than good. I’d MUCH rather one of you guys said to me ‘ooh I think that colour clashes a bit with your hair’ or ‘put a belt around that sack of a dress you’ve just made, it’ll look better on you’ than just say YAY IT’S AWESOME, because I can then step back and maybe go ‘oh yeah, I do look pregnant in that dress, pass me the belt pronto’. I think that honesty is genuinely always the best policy. Even if it hurts.

Which is why you’ll always get the truth from me 😎

And there are some hard truths here for Trend Patterns, who produced the dress pattern I used for this weeks make. But if nobody ever says these things, how will they know? Who benefits if I keep quiet? No one, that’s who. They will go on producing terrible patterns and even more sewists will attempt the dress and fall at the same hurdles.

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I don’t even know where to start with this dress.

Let’s start with the best bit – the finished dress. And even that’s a bit meh. **Full disclosure that I actually made this dress at the end of last year, but it never made it to the blog – and given that I have SO MUCH TO SAY on it, I felt it needed its moment**

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I looked at this dress on the Trend Patterns website many times. and I just couldn’t make my mind up on it. Did I like it? The black lace version – yes. The flowery number with metallic pink frills? Absolutely not. The worst thing I’ve seen in my life.

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I sat on the fence for a LONG time. Would it suit me? Dunno. Did it have the potential to look absolutely hideous? Hell yes, based on that awful sample that was displayed on their website. This is very unlike ANYTHING I have in my wardrobe. The shiny pink ruffles are totally awful. I did NOT want to spend all that time making this dress only to have it look like a 6-year-old girls dress-that-her-grandma-made-her-wear. I felt this unsure about the Republique Du Chiffon Suzon Blouse that I made a while back – something really drew me to that ruffle, but I was totally nervous about whether it would suit me. In the end, it kinda did, so surely there was potential for this dress to turn out okay…?

Republique Du Chiffon Suzon shirt and Deer and Doe Chardon Skirt in Alexander Henry Zen Charmer fabric

Then I saw Catherine / Threadsnips had made it, and hers looked pretty good. I think I needed to see it in plain fabric.

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I went for it.

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I actually really love the style of the dress – it’s not finished particularly great (for reasons I’ll come on to – at length – later) so I’m not sure whether it’s going to be refashioned somehow or donated, but I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out. I like the boho vibe it’s got going on. Way out of my comfort zone on so many levels, but I like it.

 

So that’s the good bit.

Now, let me share with you the rocky, bumpy, turbulent journey that I had to take in order to get to the finish line.

The first step was to choose the fabric. Whilst I was tempted with a 70s style floral (and still am, a bit), I kept in my mind the vision of the hideous dress on the pattern website. So I decided to make a plain one. I figured that there was enough going on with all those gathers already, without over complicating things and potentially ending up with what was essentially a baggy, gathered curtain. After all, you know me and florals walk a very thin line.

Minerva Crafts supplied 3 metres of my choice of Art Gallery rayon, in tile blue (this one, if anyone’s interested!). Now blue isn’t a colour I wear very much of at all – I prefer warmer colours – but from what I could find online it looked like the title was a bit misleading and it was actually a turquoise, rather than a blue… so I took a punt on it, figuring that if it WAS blue then I’d just dye it. The pitfalls of online shopping, hey. Thankfully, the colour is turquoise and it’s actually really pretty.

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As for the actual dress pattern, I paid £25 for the printed paper pattern. TWENTY-FIVE POUNDS. I could have had a pdf for slightly cheaper, but there was NO WAY I was going to stick together A4 pages for a dress that can take over four metres of fabric for the maxi version. Nuh uh, no way, big fat nope. (This was before I’d discovered Patternsy, but Threadsnips bought the pdf only to find that there was no copyshop/A0 version, so she was left with taping 55 pages together. Not cool). So I rather grudgingly shelled out the £25 for the printed pattern. This is the most I have EVER spent on a single pattern (bar a couple of vintage ones, but they don’t count right? They’re investments 🤣). The price *almost* made me not want to make the dress. I’ve not sewn a Trend Patterns garment before, so I didn’t really know what to expect, and this made me even more nervous. Would it be worth the £25?

Turns out it wasn’t. Not at all.

So the packaging isn’t bad… you get everything folded up inside a black bubble envelope – much sturdier than a paper envelope. The pattern itself is printed on white paper, slightly thicker than tissue but thinner than regular printer paper. Physically, it’s winning.

But the instruction booklet is horrific – there are misprints which have been corrected WITH TIPPEX. I mean, I’ve just paid £25 for this pattern, I expect it to be damn perfect. Also, One of the pattern pieces tells you to cut two of them, when actually you only need one. And apart from the fact that there are steps missing from the instructions for the sleeveless version, these kinds of things definitely should NOT be happening with something you’ve just paid £25 for. I mean, was this dress ever pattern tested or proofread? Based on all of the above I’m tempted to say NOPE.

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So with regards to the actual instructions, I was not a happy bunny. In fact, I was a red sweary bunny with steam coming out of its ears. It was an absolute shambles. I’m not sure I even would have expected this level of sloppiness from a pattern I was a first-round tester for.

But, I wanted to make the dress, so I (foolishly?) persevered.

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In the same way that I couldn’t bring myself to stick the pdfs, I also couldn’t bring myself to trace all the massive (and many) rectangles of the pattern pieces. So I went straight in with the scissors and cut up my £25 pattern, hoping that I’d chosen the right size. Because I was sure as hell not paying out another £25 to make a different size. I mean, look at the size of the pattern paper…

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Viscose might have been the right fabric choice drape-wise, but sanity-wise it was definitely the WRONG choice. It shifted all over the place while I cut it out, and gathering it up was painful. The pattern instructs you to gather each piece to a certain length, before attaching it to another piece. This to me seemed like the longest method in the world – I mean, who wants to keep shuffling gathers about until your panel measures 78cm across? Not me.

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So I went with my usual method of attaching the piece to its partner and just gathering it down to the same width. If there’s a reason that they don’t tell you to do it this way, I didn’t find out what it was. I used a gathering foot for the first time – whilst this is faster than doing it manually, you’ve no control over the size it gathers down to, so you have to then do some rejigging and manoeuvring about to get the panel the correct width. Was the gathering foot worth it? Undecided.

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The amount of gathering in this dress is really intense. I mean, if you’re thinking of making it, don’t underestimate the amount of work involved. IT IS A GATHER-FEST. You have been warned.

The instructions have you sew the dress together mostly on an overlocker, with 1cm seam allowance on the majority of pieces. Seam allowance is at least included… which I guess is something. There would be absolutely zero chance of me tracing all those pattern pieces to add seam allowance.

(Yes, I regret not buying turquoise threads for the overlocker)

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I made the sleeveless version of the dress, and it all went sort-of well (if slow, due to gathering. Did I mention there was loads of it?) up until it came to finishing the armholes. I’d already attached the shoulder ruffle and was literally just putting the finishing touches when I realised I’d hit a bit of a wall. My armhole consisted of the raw edge of the bodice sides, at the underarm, and the overlocked edge of the shoulder ruffle. The armhole doesn’t form a circle going up and over your shoulder, in the same way that a sleeveless top would – the underarm bit is the same, but the ruffle is then turning that armhole 90 degrees to go out and round your arm rather than up and over your shoulder. So my planned method of bias tape wasn’t going to work, because I couldn’t work it around those angles. I stood and looked at it for a while, wondering what the best approach was. I couldn’t really come up with one, because whatever method I chose clashed with the fact that I was unable to turn in the raw edge of the bodice because I’d attached the already-finished edge of the shoulder ruffle. This was the gaping hole in the pattern instructions – they didn’t tell you how (or when) to finish the armholes for the sleeveless version. I mean, that’s a pretty big omission. In the end, I went with the bias tape, but its a bit of shambles.

The zip needs to go further down the side seam as well, because they have you place it right at the top but it would give a better finish if it was moved down a couple of inches and the side seam was sewn above the zip and up until the armhole, rather than the armhole being at the very top of the zip. That probably makes more sense with a picture:

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You can see in the photo above that I managed to get the bias tape on the bodice section of the armhole, but couldn’t continue it around the gathered shoulder ruffle 👀 Yep, I just left it as it was.

You’re meant to put a hook-and-eye at the front neckline to hold it shut – the bodice is actually in two pieces, with a seam down the centre front:

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But I thought a hook and eye might be a little uncomfortable against the skin. So for these photos, I sewed it shut 🤣 A small decorative button on the outside might be a better option.

Although the rayon gives a lovely drape to the dress, it creases like an absolute bastard. I really don’t know whether I spent more time doing the many, MANY gathers, or ironing the bloody thing. I swear it creases if you so much as breathe on it. The dress hasn’t been through the wash yet, and to be honest I’m not sure I can face ironing it after it’s been washed. I mean, it’s basically going to come out of the machine as a massive crumpled mess, and I hate ironing. This is not a good combo.

This, for me, is a massive downside to the fabric – the laundry maintenance. It really (really) pains me to say it, but I think the best fabric choice for this dress is a drapey poly. Something that won’t come out of the washing machine all creased – because believe me, you do NOT want to be ironing this dress. You want to take it out of the wash and put it straight on.

Despite all the dramas with the construction, I actually really like the dress and I could see myself making a long-sleeved autumn version, perhaps in a corduroy (would that crease less, though, or be just as bad?!). It’s quite a mammoth project, so I’d have to build myself up to make it… and I need to figure out what to do with that armhole. Perhaps the problem goes away if you make the sleeved version. I’m still not happy about the quality of the pattern for the money though – I might even email Trend Patterns now and tell them about my experience, to see what they say. Because honesty is the best policy, guys.

But here’s all the photos for you to enjoy… the day we took these it was super windy (not ideal for a lightweight dress), and the sun flicked between so-bright-you’re-gonna-go-blind and winter-has-arrived. Joys.

Here’s me with my Marilyn Monroe tribute ✌🏻🤣

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Next week on the blog is round two of the Boxer Short adventure – after making the Comox Trunks last year, I’m back with some amendments and (hopefully!) improvements! 💪🏻

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53 Comments

  1. August 11, 2019 / 8:07 am

    I really like the look of this dress, but your bad experience with the pattern and the sheer cost of it, well – I’m totally put off. Perhaps I can find a vintage one that’s similar. Anyhow, I’ve made a lot of tiered skirts with the same gathering. I find they work really well in a pure cotton fabric. To my eye (or it might just be my preference), this looks like the fabric is much too lightweight. If you choose corduroy, then make sure it’s a really fine needlecord so it’s not too heavy. The problem with these types of items, is there’s so much meterage of fabric to make the gathers that the finished item ends up quite weighty. I vastly prefer my liberty tana cotton lawn, then the ones I’ve made in bog standard cotton fabric. The Liberty is just so much more lightweight and it doesn’t crease at all. It’s just like a dream to work with and wear – in fact, it’s going to be my fabric of choice from now on. I suggest keeping an eye out for vintage Laura Ashley patterns. Her styles are a dream, the patterns are great and many are just this style. I have a literally library I’m trying to work through. I’m biased though – I simply adore her original clothing 🙂

    • Sarah
      Author
      August 15, 2019 / 3:17 pm

      Ooh I don’t even think I’ve actually seen any Laura Ashley vintage patterns… though perhaps I’m not really searching for them (my usual search in vintage patterns is ‘coats’). I think you’re right, a Liberty Lawn would be *just* the perfect fabric for something like this, and I can totally imagine a corduroy one being reallllly heavy. The rayon I used for this is pretty lightweight – it certainly blew about a lot in the wind! I’ll admit I’m. not totally convinced on the style of this dress on me, and I think the fact that I haven’t actually worn it says a lot (although that could be due to the sloppy finishing!), so… I might pass on making another. Maybe 😂🤷🏻‍♀️

  2. Bren Holmes
    August 11, 2019 / 8:50 am

    I won’t be buying any patterns from Trend Patterns, based on your experience. I agree, the black lace version looks the best, but the style reminds me of a Victorian nightdress. Not for me. The style looks good on you, with your small waist, and I love the turquoise. I have a couple of lengths of viscose to make summer dresses, although it’s getting a bit late now for this year. I pre-washed them and they didn’t seems to crease much at all. So I’m hoping once made up the dresses won’t need to see too much of the iron. Ironing is not one of my favourite activities, either. I’ve purchased the pattern, but it was in a sale and the fabric was £2.50 per metre. Bit of a cheapskate, aren’t I? lol

    • Sarah
      Author
      August 15, 2019 / 3:29 pm

      Hi Bren! Cheapskate? Absolutely not… money-savvy, I’d say – because now you can use the savings to buy MORE fabric and patterns 🤑😂 Viscose for £2.50pm is an absolute bargain! I like it because it’s not a synthetic fabric, and it flows and drapes SO well. You’re lucky that you got a non-creasy one too 🙌🏻 Which pattern did you buy for it?
      Now that you’ve said ‘nightdress’, I see that. A patterned fabric might just make it worse on me. That lace one IS pretty though, isn’t it! Should have made that 😂

  3. August 11, 2019 / 9:13 am

    Wow, just wow, can’t believe they tippexed out the instructions! How can you do that?! Thanks for the warning. I would quite frankly want my money back on that pattern given that it was missing something essential (the sleeveless armhole finish).

    • Sarah
      Author
      August 15, 2019 / 3:32 pm

      I know! I couldn’t believe it when I got to that bit in the instructions and saw the tippex 👀 I mean, I guess *thanks* for making it more understandable, and it’s good they don’t just chuck out and waste the paper and all, but maybe a better approach would be don’t charge people £25 for those copies?! 🤷🏻‍♀️

  4. Cindy
    August 11, 2019 / 9:55 am

    Hello guys.

    Well , im sorry but…I love your little frilly black top, it’s so sweet and girlie in a you way. But this green nightie is not for me. You always look like “you” no one else but you…with your tattoos, which when my 27 year old daughter had one I cried for a whole week, and still get upset if I see it, luckily at 27, I dont need to see her bum cheek very often, but after last years spinal cancer huge op I saw it a lot and it was horrid, I made her a beautiful body and she did this…I go off…so back to you,your tattoos i love on you, your pink hair your I’m me attitude I love your strength of character. So a frilly nightie for me is not you. But what a bloody mess of a pattern for 25gbp, I would never of managed that make. Did they rate it as beginners Intermediate etc.?

    Well I went to a party last tuesday all in my me made dress and fell down my 6 stone steps of my daughters house in france. Even the concrete horses at the gate didnt help me..they just hurt when I hit them..result…no cake, no dress and a big hole in it, and 3 stitches in my leg and a broken knee cap…I have bone cancer so not great day so I now have a huge leg iron come brace on while my fate is decided. So no pedal sewing, infact pain to bad to do much at all. But I’m not dead and I’m here to moan, so all is working ok.

    Lots of love look forward to a “you make” next week
    Cindy

    • Sarah
      Author
      August 15, 2019 / 5:22 pm

      Hi Cindy!
      I’m so sorry to hear you took a fall 😨 Your poor dress, your poor knee and leg too. And you didn’t even get any cake. I hope you’re already starting to mend? Lots of love being sent from us and the doggos to you 💜 (and I do really love the ‘I’m not dead and here to moan’ attitude! 🤣 I always try to be positive and sometimes you just have to look at it that way!)
      You’re the second person to mention that it looks like a nightie, and now I totally see it. Frilly and girly isn’t really my thing, I like bold prints, sharp collars, and bright colours. I think I’ll stick to those.
      I think tattoos can be a very hit and miss – on the one hand, there’s using your body as a canvas to express yourself through art (which is what I did – everything in my sleeve has a meaning and represents some part of my life) and then there’s rocking up to a dodgy tattoo studio and getting whichever flash card on the wall takes your fancy… (which I’ll admit to have done – it was covered up by my sleeve though!).
      Much love 💜

  5. August 11, 2019 / 10:33 am

    I am not sure how I feel about this make 🤔 I like the skirt, I like the colour, but the ruffley bit on the shoulders I am not a fan of. It reminds me of super hero capes, which is exactly what you deserve after sewing this pattern 😊

    • Sarah
      Author
      August 15, 2019 / 5:24 pm

      Hi Lise! Yeah… I’m not sure either. I like the colour, but I feel that maybe SO MUCH of that one colour is a little overwhelming. Perhaps I would like turquoise more if it was part of a patterned fabric 🤔 Super hero cape…. YES! 🤣🤣🤣 I think if I don’t 100% love the dress, that’s a sign it’s not really for me. 🤷🏻‍♀️

  6. August 11, 2019 / 11:02 am

    I actually like the Pocahontas vibe and the color combination with your hair. But I don’t think you’ll be wearing it often right?
    I’m just wondering why you bought it if it’s that expensive and you had your doubts about it? Not saying that I haven’t done similar things though, lol 😀

    • Sarah
      Author
      August 15, 2019 / 5:28 pm

      Hey Karin! Yeah, you’re right… I haven’t worn this dress ONCE since I made it 🙈 though, that could be because I never really finished that neckline closure, and I was never happy with that side zip 👀 Why did I buy it? I actually don’t know 🤔 something drew me to the gathers and ruffles, even though that’s normally not my thing. I guess I thought it looked kind of… bohemian, which is *totally* my vibe but perhaps it’s one of those looks that I enjoy on other people rather than actually suiting me (there seems to be a lot of those lol, made that mistake with the Hinterland Dress! 🙈) I’m not head over heels in love with it, which I think says a lot – off to the charity shop it goes, to hopefully find a new owner. Learning the hard way is the best way to learn isn’t it… at least I will stay away from this sort of thing in the future 🙄

  7. August 11, 2019 / 11:39 am

    I was gobsmacked when I saw this pattern you were going to make and thought it was a joke! But I kinda like the dress on you except for the shoulder wrap thing, , but I like the drop shoulder look. So for me drop the top ruffle and add a wide belt.

    • Sarah
      Author
      August 15, 2019 / 5:31 pm

      Hey Chris! Ahaaaaa unfortunately not a joke lol 🤣 The husbeast isn’t keen on the pattern either – and usually he does like my choices, so perhaps I should listen to his sensible voice of reason! 🤪 Yeah the dropped shoulder (coupled with that HUGE ruffle) is really somethin’ isn’t it. I don’t know why, but I feel like a wide belt is only one step away from a cowboy hat and boots and complete western outfit! 🤷🏻‍♀️

  8. August 11, 2019 / 12:21 pm

    Great colour, horrible pattern. That AIN’T 70s guys, it’s just fugly. I’m 100% with you on giving true, honest feedback, some of these ‘new’ companies are diabolical- unskilled, untrained ‘patternmakers’ turning out absolute messy garbage [Hot Patterns, Hot Mess is all I’m saying] And paying so much to print off RECTANGLES? THey are taking the piss. I mean, where’s the difficulty in TEARING rectangles off? [never cut, especially with shifty fabric] Nah love, back to your more usual style, and trust your itchy feelings when you think something won’t work for you- it usually won’t!

    • Sarah
      Author
      August 15, 2019 / 5:37 pm

      I do love your honest feedback 🙌🏻 It’s really not 70s, is it 🤔 I wonder what inspirational path led to the designer naming it that 🤷🏻‍♀️ I usually do listen to my spidey sense, but I think it was particularly fragile at the time of choosing this pattern. The husbeast hates it as well – and he’s normally a sound voice of reason (but not ALL the time, so sometimes when I think I’m right and he’s wrong, I don’t listen 😂) and this is one of the times I should have listened to him 😞 I made a Hot Patterns skirt, WAY back in the day right at the very early start of my sewing journey, and I don’t remember it ending well. I put it down to me being a beginner but perhaps it was just a rubbish pattern!
      From now on, spidey sense will be listened to wholeheartedly 🕸🕷

  9. Victoria Saunders
    August 11, 2019 / 12:56 pm

    I bought a bundle of Trend Patterns at the last Knitting and Stitching show. The lady who drafts the patterns was there and doing offers. I really like many of her designs because they are catwalk inspired and, well… on trend. I bought a couple of tops patterns and a jacket pattern. All 3 are basically a pattern version of RTW garments I already own from Zara. So I was really chuffed as you don’t get that with many other companies (I like Named patterns for the same reason although Named are less well suited to my hourglass shape).

    Anyway – despite being pumped about the designs, when I actually got them home to look at, I had the same reaction as you. Instructions and photos are poor for the home desist. Whole steps missed out, or just taken for granted that you’ll be able to work it out yourself. Plus I found the CAD cutting layouts really confusing.

    So I haven’t actually made any of them yet.

    Your article makes me think I should have a go – just to see, but certainly, I’m not going to use any decent fabric until I know it works! Thank you for sharing your experience.

    Such a shame as the concept is a good one – it’s a gap in the market she’s filling.

    • Sarah
      Author
      August 15, 2019 / 5:41 pm

      Hi Victoria! Yes! I saw the Trend Patterns stand there also! (Well, I’m talking about the Spring show in Olympia, but I realise you may actually be talking about a completely different one 🤔😂). That’s the thing – they are really on trend aren’t they, much more modern than some other pattern companies. Named are also on my favourites list!
      Ah, that’s such a shame that the quality issues seem to extend into their other patterns as well. I wonder if they just don’t pattern test, or proof read? 🤷🏻‍♀️
      I would definitely give your patterns a try (non-precious fabric though!!) but be on high alert for potential pitfalls. Which designs did you buy?

  10. Amanda Ostermann
    August 11, 2019 / 1:36 pm

    Just no. I’m sorry but i cant understand what you saw in this. And as for the crappy pattern, I’d be asking for my money back from that. £25 is an outrageous price for that quality.

    • Sarah
      Author
      August 15, 2019 / 5:43 pm

      😂 Love that – ‘just no’ 😂😂😂 Straight to the point – exactly how I would say it! 🙌🏻
      I have actually emailed the designer to tell her all about my troubles and tippex – as yet, no response! I’ll keep you updated…

  11. Janet
    August 11, 2019 / 2:52 pm

    I love this dress on you! I think it is, indeed your style. Most unfortunate that your fabric was difficult to work with. Give it a go with more suitable material. You have ironed out most of the quirks (mistakes) of the pattern. With a belt, you will be thrilled with the results. Cheers.

    • Sarah
      Author
      August 15, 2019 / 5:46 pm

      Ahh thanks Janet! I have thought about a belt, but I feel like a belt leads on to a cowboy hat and boots 🤔🤠😂 I’m just not sure the vibe is ‘me’. I really like the colour, but I’m not sure I like it as much as a *solid* colour… I feel like I’m more comfortable in patterns!

  12. Caroline
    August 11, 2019 / 3:51 pm

    Like this on you especially the back view. But I’d definitely be emailing Trend for detailed instructions for the sleeveless arm hole instructions at that price. And maybe some fabric suggestions! Kudos for seeing it through to the finished garment…

    • Sarah
      Author
      August 15, 2019 / 5:58 pm

      Hi Caroline! I think the back view is actually better than the front view – probably because there’s that dodgy neckline on the front! 👀 I’ve emailed the designer, but as yet no response 🤷🏻‍♀️ I don’t like to be beaten by things… it pains me to give up! Even if I have to sew the neckline shut for the photos 😂😂😂

  13. August 11, 2019 / 3:54 pm

    I really appreciate your “blunt” honesty Sara! I did buy a couple of Trend patterns (one was a blouse that I did TRY to make – operative word of course being TRY) but I became discouraged too. The booklet that came with the pattern was odd… the steps she explained I didn’t need explaining and the things I could have used some detailed instructions on, she completely omitted. But Trend isn’t the only outrageously overpriced indie pattern company 🙂 Many of these indie companies will fold over the next few years as the market becomes over saturated – even the big 4 had to amalgamate to survive.

    • Sarah
      Author
      August 15, 2019 / 6:01 pm

      Hi Kathleen! Yes, I think I remember you saying about the blouse 🤔 It’s just weird, isn’t it. I think the pattern designer used to work in the garment industry, which makes it even harder to understand why the instructions are so lacking! 🤷🏻‍♀️ I won’t be buying another one of their patterns, that’s for SURE. Especially not at £25 – I know some indie patterns can be expensive but I’ve never seen ones this pricey! I’m not really sure what they think justifies the price, either – if its the bubble envelope they put the pattern in, they should scrap that and spend the money on a proof reader instead! 🤷🏻‍♀️💜

  14. Rebecca
    August 11, 2019 / 4:19 pm

    I was surprised to see you in a ruffle dress & in a solid aqua/teal/blue(?). I didn’t know you were a ruffles, flounces sort of woman.
    This prairie ruffle style just doesn’t seem to go with your straight edge brilliant colors & patterns style.
    Just my 2 cents worth
    Baa

    • Sarah
      Author
      August 15, 2019 / 6:04 pm

      Hi Rebecca! Yeah, I think I had a bit of a moment with this one… 🙈 Something just lured me in… especially that black lace version they have on the website (which is probably what I SHOULD have made 🤔). I really like the colour turquoise, but it’s quite overwhelming in a solid fabric – especially in a dress with SO MUCH fabric going on. I think I should have used a patterned fabric to be honest (or just left this dress pattern well alone 😂). You’re right, it’s not my style (even the husbeast hates it) and I’m gonna for sure listen to my spidey sense 100% in future!

  15. August 11, 2019 / 5:50 pm

    I second the recommendation for Laura Ashley patterns! I have a ton of them, even though it’s not a style I could ever wear – I just love the look of them; flirty, floral, feminine, and all the other happy F adjectives 😉

    • Sarah
      Author
      August 15, 2019 / 6:06 pm

      Haha… I don’t think I’ve actually ever seen one of these patterns! Gonna google image them now to check out the style 👀 I feel like if I’m a bit unsure about this pattern though, I probably shouldn’t go further down the rabbit hole 🤣

  16. August 11, 2019 / 5:53 pm

    That was my thought, too. I don’t remember seeing anything like that in all of the 70s patterns I own, or in pictures from that period (I’m an 80s child, so I missed out on the in-person experience).

    • Sarah
      Author
      August 15, 2019 / 6:07 pm

      I’m 80’s too! 🙌🏻 The designer hasn’t responded to my email yet, but perhaps that’s another thing I should have asked – ‘how did you come up with the pattern name?’ 🤔😂

  17. Jen J
    August 11, 2019 / 7:53 pm

    Actually I think this suits you. And the colour is very flattering. I would not make this as it’s just so not me. But on you it rocks. Will not even look at those patterns though so thanks for the review. Dreadful and so expensive. I made the I Am Hermes shirt and found the instructions rather lacking – more assuming I know what I’m doing. Figured it out though. Love your makes and comedy blog.

    • Sarah
      Author
      August 15, 2019 / 6:10 pm

      Ahh thanks Jen! Glad you enjoy the blog 😁 I’ve looked at a few of the I Am patterns, but I’m kind of a bit put off now. I made my DP Studio coat last year which had a few head-scratching parts – it seems some indie companies are really just incapable of giving a complete, full set of instructions! 🤷🏻‍♀️ I’m not sure that the dress is really my style… I think gathers and floaty ruffles are more things that I like to look at on *other people* rather than putting on my own body. My head just needs to remember that 😂🙈🤦🏻‍♀️

  18. Nancy Pennington
    August 11, 2019 / 8:16 pm

    Fun read. Your comment on the sample dress being a bad “grandma” made dress slightly hacked me off as I sew for my granddaughter, and nothing looks grandma made. I have seen them though, so I know they exist. Usually involving florals and lace.
    The dress is awful, the back looks ok, the front slope of ruffle, bad. It’s almost costume. Glad it wasn’t maxi, then it would have screamed Little House on the Prairie. The black lace number was ok. Personally, this grandma thinks you should donate it. And 25 pounds, outrageous.
    I do have an 80’s shirt pattern with curved yoke and lots of ruffle. You could make it and wear with jeans.

    • Sarah
      Author
      August 15, 2019 / 6:15 pm

      Ahh Nancy – will you be my grandma? ☺️ You sound like a cool grandma, your granddaughter is very lucky! 💜 Mine, sadly, was not cool, and those floral and lace atrocities that you mention would have likely featured in my wardrobe if she didn’t spend all her time knitting us not-at-all-fashionable sweaters 😨
      The dress isn’t great, is it 😂 The husbeast hates it, I should have listened to his voice of reason. There was a maxi option – I just couldn’t face another row of gathers! I think the turquoise is a beautiful colour, but as a solid it’s quite overbearing 👀 That black lace one IS okay, isn’t it! That’s what I should have made!!
      I’m really in to 80’s stuff at the moment – what’s the pattern number, I’m gonna look it up!

  19. artcoopsville
    August 11, 2019 / 10:58 pm

    The colour really suits you. I’m not sure this type of dress would appeal to me. Not really a gathering fan.

    • Sarah
      Author
      August 15, 2019 / 6:16 pm

      The gathering was INTENSE. There was just so much of it! Never again 😂 I really like the colour, but I think it’s quite overpowering as a solid – perhaps as part of a patterned fabric it would be better 🤔

  20. fifona
    August 11, 2019 / 11:03 pm

    Yee hah! I can definitely see you wearing an autumnal coloured version of that in baby cord, though I don’t fancy trying to ruffle that much medium-heavy weight fabric. For me, I’d definitely halve the depth of the ruffle as I’m small (aka short-arsed), but I DID wear “peasant / prairie style” dresses and skirts when I was 8-10 years old which makes me officially old enough not to have to wear them this time around.
    I feel that £8.99 is about right for a pattern (which is why I am currently just going through my stash and using ones which are ‘free’ while I refresh my skills) so for £25 I’d be wanting a video tutorial, a 24 hr hotline and maybe the designer sitting on my couch offering me cups of tea and advice. You was robbed.

    Having said that I have just made an apron as a gift, and followed a very sparse set of (free) instructions, “juzzhhing” it up as I went to make something sturdier and fancier and more decorative. I decided to write my own set of instructions to ensure that I can repeat the process when some asks for another one just like it. I had already spotted some omissions when I gave it to an enthusiastic newbie-crafter to proofread and discovered that there were terms I had used which were not clear to a beginner… and if I had to charge money for this I would be getting it proofread in great detail and tested by two or three people.

    Definitely not your usual style, but I can see it going well with the western-style shirts in the handsome husbeast’s wardrobe. Also, it was interesting to know you can gather on the machine in that fashion, I had no idea. I will investigate this more!

    • Sarah
      Author
      August 19, 2019 / 8:37 pm

      Hi Fiona!
      I think I’m gonna forget about the cord version – I reckon it would be too heavy in cord, and that’s even if it *doesn’t* look like a nightgown on me 😂
      OMG I had to laugh at your description at what you’d want for £25 – SO right! £25 for some incomplete (and tippex-ed) instructions is soooooo not cool. Totally agree that these things should be proof-read, espesh when you’re actually charging people for them 😒
      Yeah I read about that gathering method somewhere…. I forget where now! But I saved it in my head because I knew that this dress was the mother of all gathered dresses 😨 I hope it’s useful to you!

  21. August 12, 2019 / 7:25 am

    Thank you for being honest. I tend to go with my gut when deciding what patterns to make, but when it’s a company I don’t know yet it’s other bloggers I turn to for thoughts and experiences, and I sometimes feel things have to be REALLY bad before anyone says anything. I’ve seen other people have issues with these patterns, and probably won’t buy them… Because what the hell is that price??

    So far I’ve been quite lucky with things I made, and rarely end up with failures or unwearable things… And if it does happen it is usually actually my fault (picking the wrong fabric and being too stubborn to admit it and stop) and those don’t make it to the blog. But if I find a mistake in the instructions or the sizing is off or I have a bad experience with a fabric shop… Hell yeah it’ll be mentioned.

    • Sarah
      Author
      August 19, 2019 / 8:43 pm

      Ooh, you’ve seen others had problems with this pattern company as well? That’s interesting, looks like the problems aren’t just limited to this one dress pattern then. I don’t know whether that’s better or worse lol. And for £25 too… you’re having a laugh!
      That’s so good that your makes have been successful – you must be awesome at choosing fabrics and patterns! I’ve got better as time has gone on, but there’s still the odd clanger lol. I do try to put them on the blog, even just for me so that I can look back and think WTF 😂
      It’s good that we can (hopefully) rely on other bloggers for honest opinions, which is why I’m slightly surprised that my email to the designer has been ignored – I mean, she knows I’m gonna tell everyone, surely?! 🤷🏻‍♀️

  22. August 12, 2019 / 1:51 pm

    Wow, had this been me I probably would have chucked my half-dress in the recycling bag without finishing–you’re clearly made of stronger stuff! 😉 I’m sorry you had such trouble with this dress, between the pattern wonkiness and the fabric being temperamental.

    I have made one TP pattern, but it was a much simpler style than this. My impression was that the instructions were sparse but I didn’t really rely on them since it was a simple pair of trousers. I’ve seen other sewers have similar difficulties to yours with the instructions for more complex TP designs though, so it’s definitely not just you. I did find an error in the labeling of one of my pattern pieces and upon emailing the designer, she fixed it right away on the PDF (and put the fix in for the next print run, since you can’t really fix that immediately!); I definitely recommend reaching out to her about the piece that said “Cut 2” when it should have said “Cut 1,” as well as your general feedback. Based on my experience, she takes things on board (especially when there is a clear error in labeling on a piece) and is likely to respond to you.

    • Sarah
      Author
      August 19, 2019 / 8:45 pm

      Haha, I actually don’t like to be beaten by a pattern 😂 Even if I complete it with questionable finishes (like sewing the neck closed on this dress) I’m determined that it will be made and damn well photographed and paraded on the blog for the shambles that it is 😂
      I have this love/hate thing with viscose… love the feel of it and to wear it, but hate the ironing and the shiftiness of it 🤷🏻‍♀️
      I’m glad it’s not just me with these patterns! I emailed the designer… it’s been over a week and as yet, no response 😞

  23. Samantha Molloy
    August 13, 2019 / 7:50 am

    I got sucked into the same offer at The Knitting and Stitching show. Talked to the designer / owner, who I have to say was lovely and chose 3 patterns. I’ve made one of them and was appalled by the instructions. I’m experienced enough that I was able to do my own thing and achieve a reasonable result but I hate the finished coat and have absolutely no desire to sew up the other 2 patterns.

    • Sarah
      Author
      August 19, 2019 / 8:46 pm

      Hey Samantha! Yep, I’ve seen her stall at the Knitting and Stitching show… I wonder if she will be there the next time I go 🤔 I’m glad it wasn’t just me that thought the instructions were terrible! Sad that you don’t want to sew up the other patterns, because they most definitely ain’t cheap – perhaps ask for a refund!

  24. PoundCake
    August 13, 2019 / 2:18 pm

    I secretly not-so-secretly love bad reviews. I’m basically the food critic from Ratatouille but chubby. £25 is TOO MUCH for what amounts to an unfinished pattern!

    • Sarah
      Author
      August 19, 2019 / 8:56 pm

      Loooool to the food critic comparison 🤣🤣🤣 You’ve got to be honest, I think – otherwise crappy businesses get away with even more crappy service. They gotta be called out sometimes (and I’m more than happy to do that!) In a way, I kinda think that £25 is too much for even a finished pattern – I’d be wanting like cool little sew-in labels or some shiz for that price – NOT tippex-ed out words lol 🙈

  25. August 17, 2019 / 11:55 am

    £25 for a pattern is outrageous & a badly written one, more so. Thanks for your honest review, although having seen the hideous floral version, there is no way I would have been drawn to this. Ask for your money back if you feel that it was so badly written but it is one of the reasons I make a tole in cheaper fabric 1st, not just to get the fit right, (which incidentally you seem to have got spot on in this make) but also so that I know what I’m doing with the ‘good fabric’. I know that you don’t like toiling but one day you might listen!! (Sorry, I sound like my mum, she always says this when I’m being headstrong!) Top tip if you do go down the corduroy route – cut a piece of elastic to the length that you want the finished gathered piece to be secure at both ends & in the middle & zig zag sew while stretching the elastic along the length. It should give you a nice evenly gathered piece without the fight! Good luck

    • Sarah
      Author
      August 24, 2019 / 7:03 pm

      Hey Sam!
      That floral version really is hideous isn’t it 😨😂 I did reach out to the designer and explained all of my dramas… but I never got a response 🤷🏻‍♀️
      Ahhhh yep you know me, never bother with a toile 😂😂😂 OMG – that elastic tip is THE BEST! I can’t believe I’ve never done that before – it would have made this dress so much easier 🤦🏻‍♀️😂 I am definitely going to bank that one for future use 💕💕

  26. August 20, 2019 / 12:07 am

    Holy mother of god, £25 for a pattern that isn’t a vintage Schiaparelli!!! Never in a million years would I pay that, and if I had temporarily lost my mind and did, my head would likely have exploded if there were errors in instructions. The designer has something to answer for, for this screw up.

    Having said all that, I was a teenager in the 70’s and there were no dresses that looked like this, thank goodness. The eighties, maybe,

    Great review, and I love the colour on you, but I hate the dress. Sorry, but I agree with the husbeast. But what do I know anyway?

    • Sarah
      Author
      September 1, 2019 / 3:18 pm

      Hi Elle!
      Ah man I know right, £25! 😨😨😨 And the designer never responded to my email so… nope not buying from them again!!
      The colours is beautiful isn’t it 💜 But the dress is going to be donated. The husbeast (and you!) are right, it’s just a bit of a horrible dress really 😂

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