Summer has passed, but I still made a summer dress for my mom
One of the few times I actually didn’t hack anything when using a pattern: I just lengthened the top by 1,5 cm because the waist fell a bit high on me (and I inherited the exact body shape from my mom).
Pattern is by Nh patterns - the marina dress
Polyester crêpe (2 m)
Lined with turquoise viscose
#sewing #Made a dress for my mom #I’ll say that the one I made for myself was the mock up #the mock up deserves that title #nh patterns#marina dress #didn’t take too long actually to actually sew this together
Pattern Review: CUT/SEW 016 Lolita Victorian One Piece Sewing Pattern
CUT/SEW is a very small patternmaking company that released a few lolita patterns. I bought one, and here's my review. I've rewritten this review several times because I keep having issues staying neutral, so we're going to start out with the questions that patternreview.com asks, and then I'll add my main personal issues with this at the end.
A lolita fashion staple, this one piece dress (OP) is meant to be customized with fabric choice and trim to fit your favorite style or subculture. It includes a pleated yoke, no closures, and an extremely gathered skirt for a full babydoll silhouette. Mix and match fabrics like chiffons and charmeuse on the sleeves and bodice for an extra elegant look. For maximum fullness, we recommend a petticoat with this dress.
From the CUT/SEW website.
So, there's two descriptors of this garment, and "lolita" and "victorian" are both things that don't describe this garment. CUT/SEW has more than once said that they're an American company making J-Fashion inspired patterns, but slapping a couple of "inspired" into this descriptor could really go a long way. Someone buying your product should have that information available to them on the item page, not deep in the brand's official instagram stories from 18 months ago.
The sizing of this pattern confuses me. The instructions do not provide any finished garment measurements. The envelope itself does not provide any sizing guidelines; that has to be downloaded off their site. Once you go through the "size calculator" on their site, which isn't a calculator as much as a list of sizing options, you'll see that there's no vertical measurements listed at all. Maybe I'm just too tall for this pattern? We won't know, because no one has posted that information.
In addition, this pattern calculator includes a waist and hip measurement, but the waist and hip measurements of the actual garment are about as free-size as you can get. It doesn't matter if my waist measurement is larger than my hip or bust measurement, because it doesn't matter on the garment at all. Why are they listed there, when the only measure that matters in this list of measurements is the bust? That just serves to confuse new sewers and help them make bad decisions.
Does it look like the photo/drawing on the envelope once you were done sewing it?
Yeah, here's my beef: based on the CUT/SEW website, there is no way to tell what this pattern is actually supposed to look like. Their model is obscuring the details of the dress with the pose. Someone decided that only one picture of the sample garment was needed, instead of posting a front and back image in addition to their model pose. The fashion illustration shows the yoke to be going down below the bustline, but the actual pattern has it fall above the bustline (which is in line with the site description calling it a yoke). Their technical illustration is nice-looking, but it's not a proper fashion flat. I really cannot fault a company for not making a technically correct fashion flat when they're this size, but the fact is that this flat does not communicate the proper proportioning of the finished garment. This would be completely acceptable if there were three more pictures of the test garment.
I've measured the pattern and I've measured my garment, and it's the length that the pattern dictates that it should be. My garment does not look like the pattern.
We're not going to complain that the model isn't styled in a lolita way. They're just there to show the garment, not to enter a coordinate contest. However, we are going to complain that the only image they have of this garment does not actually show you the garment.
Were the instructions easy to follow?
The instructions were an ABSOLUTE DREAM to follow. I'm not joking. They are the best newbie-friendly instructions that I've read from any pattern in my life. Everything is worded clearly. The diagrams are useful. It has helpful advice for new sewers. They were, undeniably, fantastic. No only is a new sewer going to be able to follow these instructions, but they will finish the project with more information about how to sew than they had when they started the project.
There is one part where the instructions say to press the tucks towards the center of the yoke, and the pattern is made for them to be pointed away from the center (the proper way, btw). Since the instructions are DLC and don't actually ship with the pattern, this would be an easy fix on CUT/SEW's part if they would like to correct that.
Also, one of the pattern pieces has completely incorrect instructions on it. You can tell, both by the fact that the place on fold symbol is lined up with the resizing lines (which is a patterning no no) and by the fact that it's upside-down relative to the rest of the pieces, that this was a change that was made after the pattern was already completed. It's also also incorrect instructions. If you cut the collar like this, you will not be able to complete the collar. You will be two front pieces short and have a collar 8" too long for the neck hole. All that is required is to label this "cut 4" instead of "cut 2 on fold" and the whole thing would be perfect. Also, since the instructions are an additional download, again, it would be easy for them to modify the PDF to warn people that a piece might be misprinted. When your goal is to make something for new sewers, you owe it to them to make sure your pattern will not stop them from making the garment. That needs to be part of your dedication to helping your client base, especially when your client base is paying money for your product.
Also, there are NO NOTCHES at all, except to mark the yoke. There are no sleeve notches. There is no center back notch. There are NO SLEEVE NOTCHES. Notches don't make a pattern more complex; they're guidelines that make things a lot easier. Please slap on like 1 per seam. It makes things better for everyone.
Also, there are many steps where a very simplified instruction is given. There's a lot of better ways to construct this garment, but there were a lot of times where ease of assembly was chosen over a fully professional finish. I completely support this decision, as their customer base is largely new sewers who don't want to be overwhelmed by complex steps.
I used some heavy matte satin from the Joann Fabrics Casa Collection for the bodice, and some thin halloween satin from Joann Fabrics for the skirt. The white lace was from Dharma Trading and the black lace was stash that I think I bought at Joann back when I had 30% off the 20% off the clearance price on trims. My original goal was to also add a chiffon overskirt, but I scrapped that when I realized that the bustline/waistline on this doesn't actually go below the bust.
I want to describe my dress as "I can't believe I used the good satin for this".
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I did some alterations on the front yoke because I wanted to put in some lace. I did ensure that the piece was the proper size and shape after the alterations. I also changed the neck bow and the waist ties into a wide ribbon, because I ran out of fabric to do them of the main body.
Would you sew it again?
No, I would not. First of all, this pattern has 1/4" seam allowance included, which is just frustratingly small. I don't know how any kind of company that makes garments can find that it's enough seam allowance for this.
Second, while this was pretty easy to complete, once I figured out the misprinted collar bit, it just doesn't make a garment that I would ever want to wear. It's not a bad garment, but it's not lolita.
Because this has no closures, the neck has to be big enough to fit over my head, and that ruins the lolita silhouette. If I was going to make this again, I'd pattern in a back keyhole and make it out of a fabric with a slight stretch, and then go down a size or two.
Would you recommend it to other?
This is a case where I really can't tell if I recommend these. The pattern literally only needs to expand their seam allowance to 5/8" and they'd have some of the easiest patterns out there. That's a really big deal. However, the fact that you have to go into this pattern completely blind is something that's ruined it for me. I'd recommend this company again if they have very clear photos of what the garment actually looks like. If you know what you're making, and you think that is what you want to be making, and they fix any misprints in their pattern, then it's a really good company.
But, as it currently stands, there's just a couple of things that are so confusing to me (1/4" seam allowance?? really?? on a garment???) that I'm hesitant to recommend them as a blanket term.
I definitely do not recommend this garment for lolita, but if I had a nickle for every pattern sold as lolita that isn't remotely lolita, I'd have an original release of Honey Cake in my closet. As a handmade lolita community, we have to know that checking to see if the pattern is actually lolita is our responsibility. However, to be able to check that, we need to actually know what the garment the pattern makes will look like.
I have said it before: I really, REALLY want to like CUT/SEW as a company. They're a small number of people who work really hard and have a company mindset that really sits well with my own mindset.
A lot of work went into patterning and then making instructions for a beginner-friendly garment. I want to recognize that.
However, there's just a ton of very small things about these patterns that confuse me so much. Why the tiny seam allowance? Why no notches? Why no vertical measurements? Why no physical instructions? Why no good picture of the sample garment?
Why are there size differences on the skirt between sizes when the skirt is so large? The 1" between sizes doesn't really matter on a piece that is 180" wide. That's less than a 1% difference between sizes. Why are the sides of the skirt cut at an angle when the skirt is 180" wide?
I think it's possible that this pattern, which was one of CUT/SEW's first patterns, doesn't reflect recent changes that they've made as to how they make their finished patterns. However, since this was like $26 with shipping, I'm not going to review another of their patterns unless someone sends it to me for review.
BTW, if anyone from CUT/SEW wants to use pictures of this dress as promotional images, contact me (pink @t pinkandthekeytarcat dot com). I worked hard on this dress and someone might as well benefit from that work. I'm happy to help a small company be better able to communicate to their customer what item they're buying. If y'all want more than just those pictures up there, though, contact me pretty soon, because I'm going to disassemble the dress pretty soon to reclaim that cool skull fabric.
Pattern: 7/10. The lack of notches, the absurd seam allowance, and the one part with the bad instructions are the negatives. The very clear instructions and simple construction are the positives.
Overall Experience: 4/10. The instructions and sizing being not included (seriously just print them out and shove them in the envelope; it's an easy fix), and the really poor representation of the pattern on the website are the negatives.
I do want to point out that there were two other negative things, but they're side-effects of CUT/SEW being a very small business, and I can't hold it against them. First, I hate patterns printed on bond paper. It requires you to cut out the pattern out first, and then cut the fabric, or else it requires you to wreck your sewing scissors. However, they're a small company and probably don't have access to have their patterns printed onto tissue paper on an as needed basis. The second is that this pattern was about $26 with shipping. Again, they're a small company printing patterns on an as-needed basis, and they're probably barely breaking even on a lot of these designs. They operate with a smaller profit-margin than the big 4 patternhouses and it's not reasonable to ask a company that small to put out patterns of this quality for $5. These are things that negatively impacted my experience, but the fact that I was supporting a small indie business that I really like the concept of made it so that I won't hold it against them, so they're not part of this review.
They can easily change the pattern misprint, the 1/4" seam allowances, the bad pictures of the sample garments. I don't think they can easily change their prices.
Anyway, that's my experience with this pattern. The company has a ton of potential and I'd love to see them improve on a few small things.