Basically, I need hot-weather clothing NOW, and I decided that the best way to get the most bang-for-my-buck as far as my sewing time goes would be to sew some work-appropriate dresses. For the interested, I've got a handful of recent-ish McCall's patterns, a Lekala, the Colette Hawthorn (of course), and two Blank Slate patterns pulled as candidates for my summer dress sewing marathon. First up is the Blank Slate Marigold dress.
|Blank Slate - Marigold Dress|
I saw a lot of potential in the Blank Slate Marigold dress when it was released last summer. I liked the yoke/shoulder gathers, which is a good design combo for dealing with a large FBA/dart rotation, the lightly gathered elastic waist, pockets, and the full-but-not-too-full skirt. Oh yes, and it has jeans-style pockets in front, as opposed to having pockets in the side seam. This is a nice feature because you get the benefits of pockets without worrying about gape or bulk at the side seams/on your hips.
The line drawing is kind of blah, but it does show you the pattern's design features and options. Note that it includes options for long or cap sleeves, a band or traditional stand/shirt colllar, a blouse option, and a skirt option:
|Blank Slate - Marigold dress|
Blank Slate Marigold vs. Sewaholic Nicola
I was almost finished with my Marigold when Tasia from Sewaholic released the Nicola. The Nicola's release amused me because it's awfully similar to the Marigold.
- The Nicola is drafted for pears. I'm not sure that Blank Slate drafts for a particular body type, but based on my experience, I'd say that it's for a proportionate hourglass. Granted, in a flared, full skirt like this, you only really need to worry about fitting the bodice.
- The Nicola's neckline is more open.
- The Nicola has a faced neckline and button closure. The Blank Slate has a more traditional collar and button band closure.
- The Nicola's buttons extend down the skirt. The Blank Slate's skirt is cut on the fold.
- Nicola: no pockets. Blank Slate: No-gape pockets at skirt front.
Fabric and Notions Used
I used the following fabric and notions for this version of this pattern:
- "Frock" rayon in the cobalt "Hana" colorway by Cotton + Steel. Purchased on sale from Craftsy.
Wow, did I love working with this fabric. It has the hand and drape of a rayon challis, but is beefier and as opaque. It also pressed beautifully. I wouldn't hesitate to buy more of this stuff in other colorways.
- Lightweight fusible interfacing (on button bands and band collar) from Fashion Sewing Supply.
- 1/2" elastic purchased from Fashion Sewing Supply.
- White shirt buttons from JoAnn's.
Pattern Drafting, Sizing, and Alterations
This pattern is available in Blank Slate women's sizes XXS-XL. (30" bust/33" hip - 44" bust/44" hip) and (76cm bust/84cm hip - 112/cm bust/112cm bust).
Before I get into my alterations, I want to point out that Melly included finished garment measurements on nearly every pattern piece AND also included lengthen/shorten lines on many of them, as well. I really appreciated these inclusions, and I, uh, was a bad girl and skipped the muslin because I felt pretty confident knowing how much I'd need to add and where.
So, let's cover my pattern alterations. They were all pretty standard alterations for me, based on the size chart and finished garment measurements. (I'll be making a few additional changes when I make this again.) I started with a size XL (44" bust), which was the closest option to my 43" high bust measurement.
- 3" FBA with dart rotated to the shoulder and waist gathers
- 1" broad back adjustment
- 1" full arm adjustment
- Lengthened cap sleeve by 1" for more coverage
- Did NOT shorten the skirt, but cut skirt on "above knee" length cutting line, which ended up being *just* below the knee cap on me (I'm 5'2"). Since I have to shorten most patterns, I figured that the "above knee" cutting line would give me the length that I was looking for, and it did.
|Marigold bodice with 3" FBA and rotated dart|
The shoulder seam does extend slightly out past my shoulder joint, which is a little unusual for me when picking a pattern size by high bust. (My shoulders aren't particularly narrow.) As is typically the case with Blank Slate's kids' patterns, I also found that I wished that the pattern had a higher sleeve cap. I suspect that the shoulder length/sleeve cap drafting issues are related.
A few more drafting notes:
- The armscye on this pattern is nice and high and tight. I suspect that many of us could go sleeveless with this pattern (which isn't included as a standard view) without worrying about bra coverage a whole lot.
- The pockets on this dress are nice and deep. They're actually big enough to comfortably hold my OtterBox-protected iPhone 6. I will likely use these pockets in other dress/skirt patterns.
|Marigold - back view|
PDF AssemblyI didn't run into any issues assembling the PDF for this pattern. I've consistently found Blank Slate's PDF patterns to be clearly formatted and to not have any issues with the pattern lines lining up correctly.
I found the pattern instructions and accompanying photos to be very clear. There was one bit where the instructions for attaching the waistband to the skirt view was partially mislabeled to make it seem like you had to attach a waistband to the dress, but this was easy to figure out--the dress instructions are on the next page.
A few fitting quirks aside, I love the final dress. I've already worn it twice, and I finished it less than a week ago. I will definitely be making more of these. This is a nice, basic shirtdress pattern that's easier to fit than some shirtdress styles and should lend itself well to a lot of the fun, lightweight cotton prints that seem to have exploded on the garment sewing fabric scene in recent months.
|Marigold Dress - full length|
Additionally, if you're interested in this pattern you'd like to open the neckline or would like the blouse view without the elastic waist peplum, blogger Melissa from A Happy Stitch wrote a post explaining how she made these alterations:
Marigold Blouse/Dress Hack
I like the waist definition that the elastic waist gives me in the dress view, but I do want to try making a blouse version with a simple shirttail hem like Melissa did. I'm also tempted to give one of the long-sleeved views a try (either dress or blouse) when the weather starts to cool a bit.
Overall, I'm quite happy with this pattern, and I am looking forward to having more dresses and a few blouses made from it in my closet.