Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Finished Project: Blank Slate - Marigold Dress

You may or may not have heard, but here in the Pacific Northwest, we're off to our hottest, driest summer on record so far. We're just finally exiting a heat wave here where we've had temperatures in the 90's for over two weeks. (BTW--Hardly anyone up here has central A/C.) During this heatwave, I made the painful realization that many of my summer clothes from the past couple of summers are either really beat up from wearing and washing or currently fit more snugly than I'd like.

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
Outside of the fact that I wished that Melly's drafts included more sleeve cap ease, I've been very happy with her children's patterns that I've sewn for Eva. The patterns are true-to-size, and the instructions are well-written and clearly photographed. I bought a few of her women's patterns as a bundle last year, but I hadn't made any of them yet. I've been seeing a few cute versions of the Marigold popping up around the SBC in recent weeks, so I decided to give this pattern a shot.

 

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.

Sewaholic Nicola
 Here are the key differences between the patterns, based on my observation:
  • 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
Overall, I'm pretty happy with the fit. I could use a smidge more room across the back, so I'll probably up my broad back adjustment to 1.5" and incorporate it as an ease pleat on my next version.

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 Assembly

I 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.

 

Pattern Instructions

 

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.

 

Final Thoughts

 

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.

41 comments:

  1. Oh that's a winner! I would totally buy that pattern now that I've seen it on you, but I checked and no copy shop option.

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  2. This is gorgeous. I love seeing dresses on you because it helps me imagine what they'd look on me, and your pic of the post-FBA pattern piece really helps me understand the idea of the dart rotation.
    Thank you, thank you for all the work you do blogging!

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    1. Thanks! Dart rotation really isn't any more difficult than doing a princess seam FBA--it definitely opens up a lot of style possibilities once you're comfortable with it.

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  3. Great review, I've been wondering about this pattern, I might give it a go now. Thanks!

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  4. Fantastically detailed review! I think this dress, the style and the color look beautiful on you, it's a great shape, and love the print.

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  5. Michelle this is so perfect!!! I really love this dress on you! It looks great and pulled together but in that super effortless way.

    Very nicely done. And the fabric is pretty too!

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    1. Thanks! I'm really happy with how it turned out.

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  6. Awesome dress. You look beautiful.

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  7. Hi Michelle, Your dress looks really great. I was wondering what classes and/or books you have learned your adjustments from. I need to get a list of my adjustments down pat along with the order. Every garment is a huge challenge to fit. I would love to find a great class.

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    1. Most of my alterations use the methods in Fit for Real People. I did also take a couple of fitting classes a while back, based on those methods.

      Some of it, I had to figure out on my own via Google, piecing things together, and trial and error (e.g. preferred locations for dart rotation).

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  8. Love this! I have been looking for a shirtwaist type pattern and I think this is it. Beautiful fabric. This looks wonderful on you and I appreciate your detailed review, I love reading the details of your construction. Oh man, yes it was hot here in Western Washington. My CA and TX friends are saying "finally some decent weather" while the rest of us are melting. No AC here either, lol.

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    1. Nope, no AC in our house, either. We did bite the bullet, though, and just had ceiling fans installed in our living room, master bedroom, and daughter's room. That should help for this weekend's heatwave, right?

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  9. This looks great on you and the colour is lovely.

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  10. I love this dress on you! And that fabric! :D I've had the Marigold for a while now, but never thought about sewing it up. Thanks for the visual on the bust alterations. That gives me an idea of how to do it. :) I also bought the Nicola recently, too, because I like the differences in the pattern. Or I am just a pattern hoarder. ;) Hehe.

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    1. Thanks! As a fellow pattern hoarder, I can relate. ;)

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    2. Hi, I hope you don't mind me asking but interested in what you did, you list your adjustments, but did you also scale up the pattern for waist and hips or did you just go with XL? Bought the pattern today and hoping to do a first wearable muslin tomorrow! Would love to hear the details, if you don't mind sharing. Alison x

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    3. For the waist and hips, I just kept the extra width added from my FBA, so I carried that down through the pattern. (It did mean adjusting a lot of pattern pieces, but that's how it goes...) HTH. Good luck, I love my dress!

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  11. This looks lovely on you! The fabric is fantastic, and the shape of the dress emphasizes your curves. You also look super happy, which adds to the effect! :D

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  12. This looks great on you! The color is so good on you, and that is a fun print.
    This is a great review and thank you for the details and comparison to Sewaholic.

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  13. I absolutely love this on you. I wasn't considering this pattern until I saw it on you, and now it's going on the top of my list!

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    1. I think it would be really cute on you!

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  14. What a gorgeous dress and the colour is fantastic! This pattern is going on my wish list! I think it's my favourite over the Sewaholic pattern with the buttons stopping at the waist and the pockets..... a girl NEEDS pockets! :D

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  15. Lovely dress! I appreciate the comparison between Marigold and Nicola, too. I won Marigold recently but haven't sewn it up yet...

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  16. Very nice indeed. Loving your fabric choice too. Great summer dress. Funny we are experiencing our coldest winter in years down under - quirky world. You have a lovely dress for your hot summer days.

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    1. Thank you! Yes, I've been reading online about the crazy winter you've been having down there. I miss normal weather.

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  17. This looks really good on you! I will say it was hard for me to get a vision of what it would be from the line drawing......I love dresses in the summer, lots cooler than pants.

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    1. Thanks! I feel like the line drawing really doesn't do the pattern justice.

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  18. L. O. V. E. this on you!!! Awesomely detailed review too. I think you'd better get a second one started cuz you're going to wear this one down to the threads if your heatwave continues. So perfect for work and for play.

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  19. L. O. V. E. this on you!!! Awesomely detailed review too. I think you'd better get a second one started cuz you're going to wear this one down to the threads if your heatwave continues. So perfect for work and for play.

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  20. L. O. V. E. this on you!!! Awesomely detailed review too. I think you'd better get a second one started cuz you're going to wear this one down to the threads if your heatwave continues. So perfect for work and for play.

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    1. Thank you! Yes, it's perfect for both the office and the weekend. And it's really comfortable, too! There will be more of these--I'm just trying to decide on which of my many fabrics I want to use for the next version.

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  21. Michelle, you do such a great job with your FBA and other alterations. The fit is amazing and you look fantastic in this pretty dress.

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  22. This is such a beautiful dress! I never thought that pattern would look so good, I don't know why. At least for me anyway! Thank you for the inspiration! I gotta say, I followed your link and procured some of that rayon.It's lovely! Thanks for the shoutout and your lovely creations!

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  23. Totally in love with this dress--it looks great on you!

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