The Sorrel Dress Tester Makes - Part 3

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

I can't believe that we're nearly halfway through November already... and just in case you missed it, now that we've hit the $8000 mark on my Kickstarter campaign, the Juniper Cardigan will now go into print along with Sorrel & Pippi! You can pick up a paper copy for just $20NZD + postage if you pledge through the campaign (it will retail for approx $26NZD or $18USD), and it means you'll get your paper copy earlier than it's retail release in mid-2019. 

Let's check out some more Sorrel Dress Tester makes shall we? You can see Part 1 here & Part 2 here.


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Size 12  





1.  What is your current favourite sewing technique and your current favourite fabric to work with?

Ooh! Right now I am loving full, gathered skirts! I went the longest time without using gathered skirts because I thought they didn't look flattering on me, but I realised that I just hadn't been using enough gathers. So, now I've been making several dresses with super full, puffy, gathered skirts.

My all time favourite fabric is cotton poplin/quilting cottons. There is a fair amount of debate on whether quilting cottons are appropriate for garment sewing, but for the style of the dresses I make and wear on a daily basis, it's the perfect fabric. I almost exclusively work with cottons. It's an added bonus that the finished dresses can usually just be tossed into the washer/dryer. No faffing about with the line or flat drying.

2. What features do you like about Sorrel?

Open ended darts and grown on sleeves! They are two of my favourite details when it comes to handmade dresses and they made sewing up Sorrel a breeze.

3. What pattern changes did you make to your particular dress?

The only true adjustment I made was to grade from a size 12 to a size 22 at the hips. I dislike woven fabric dresses that are snug around the hips since it feels like they restrict my mobility. I probably could have gone with a size 18/20 but I wanted to make sure the dress would fit.

I did reduce the bodice side seams to 1/4" because I needed just the tiniest bit more room across the bust to leave room for the overlap. I also increased the back bodice waist seam to about 1 inch instead of doing a proper sway back adjustment.

4. Who would you recommend Sorrel too?

As far as dresses go, Sorrel is very simple. Yes, there are buttons/buttonholes, but that is literally the only semi-complicated section. And if you use snaps/snap buttons, you don't even have to worry about that! The open ended darts/pleats at the waist mean you don't have to worry about issues with pointy darts. There are not set in sleeves and cutting out the pattern/fabric is quite quick due to the small number of pieces and the dress only took me 3 hours to stitch up.


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Size 16





1.  What is your current favourite sewing technique and your current favourite fabric to work with?

I have always had a fear of darts, and then matching them up, but having completed a number here, I got into a good rhythm and am really pleased. They really do make a dress look so flattering. 

Fabric wise, I have been enjoying using floaty viscose for my first Sorrel and lots of people have commented on how lovely it is. It can be a bit slippery, but the results are worth it.

2. What features do you like about Sorrel?

On my Sorrel I love the button down front. Many button down RTW dresses I find gape at the chest or middle, but this fitted me well. I haven't had a well fitting button down dress for a long time. I also love the collar, it is so easy to do but looks more complicated.

3. What pattern changes did you make to your particular dress?

I used snaps in my dress rather than buttonholes, which is an option. I like the way they look and they were pretty straightforward to fit. I didn't need to make any other changes to the dress. It has pockets, which is another feature I look for in a dress.

4. Who would you recommend Sorrel too?

I would recommend Sorrel to a confident beginner. The steps are clearly laid out and straightforward to follow. With a bit of practice with buttonholes, you will be away laughing. Sorrel is a classic dress with a lovely feature collar - it can be dressed up for a lovely summers day or worn with tights and a cardigan on a chilly autumn day.


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Size 10





1.  What is your current favourite sewing technique and your current favourite fabric to work with?

My love is incredibly busy, so making time for sewing and learning new techniques is tough. I try to stick to tried-and-true silhouettes and batch my process out to more efficiently tackle multiple garments at the same time - cut all fabric in one day, finish seams the next, and a few days of sewing/assembly as appropriate for the pieces. I fortunately don't find the structured process takes any of the enjoyment out of sewing.

My favourite fabric to work with is usually rayon or viscose blend, though with winter coming up in California, I'm excited to start sewing some warmer pieces with wools - I have a pink coat inspired but the Marvellous Mrs. Maisel on my sewing table next.

2. What features do you like about Sorrel?

The Sorrel Dress is a vintage-looking silhouette that's incredibly easy and flattering to wear. The button/snap closure eliminates the fuss of putting in a zipper but also adds to the more casual look of the dress. 

Today I threw mine over a bathing suit and headed down to the beach as we're on vacation in Hawaii (and I received lots of compliments!). I like to always be polished, and this dress gives me the flexibility to do that while still being comfortable in more casual settings.

3. What pattern changes did you make to your particular dress?

I have a very short torso, so I shortened the bodice and lengthened the skirt hem - these are pretty common adjustments I make to all patterns though. 

I also chose to use snaps rather than buttons. Though I prefer the classic look of buttons, I knew I wanted this dress to function well pool or beach-side and the snaps aided in that both functionally and visually. I also put them a bit closer together than the pattern indicates since I'm on the bustier side and wanted to wear this to the office on casual days without risking accidental flash.

4. Who would you recommend Sorrel too?

Sorrel is a very approachable skill-wise but with a big payoff - I would recommend this to anyone wanting to try a retro silhouette but who may be intimidated by some of the seemingly more complicated vintage techniques (such as princess seams, extensive pleating, or funky corner seams - all manageable though, I promise!).  It also still has a more contemporary feel for someone who likes a classic/retro look but doesn't always want to wear a full circle skirt to the office on casual days - like me!


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Size 14



1.  What is your current favourite sewing technique and your current favourite fabric to work with?

My favourite sewing technique at the moment is top-stitching, it gives a really nice effect. My favourite fabrics are denim and viscose.

2. What features do you like about Sorrel?

I love the darts, I think they give a really lovely detail to the dress. They can be a bit time consuming but they are a great feature! The sleeves are very flattering too.

3. What pattern changes did you make to your particular dress?

I made Version 2 this time and went down a cup size for a more fitted bodice. Other than that, I didn't make any changes to the pattern. Now that I've made both versions, I really like Version 2.

4. Who would you recommend Sorrel too?

I would recommend Sorrel to beginners. The instructions are really clear and thorough, there is nothing a beginner couldn't handle, especially as you have the option of snaps rather than buttonholes. The dress is a very flattering shape that can be made out of various fabric types.


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Size 8





1.  What is your current favourite sewing technique and your current favourite fabric to work with?

I sewed the dress in a linen fabric and I LOVE it. It manages to look both crisp and relaxed. In terms of my current favourite sewing technique, I think the answer changes on a daily basis depending upon what I'm working on and what is working for me. I really enjoyed sewing with the linen, as I mostly sew with knits or stretch fabrics.

2. What features do you like about Sorrel?

My favourite thing about the Sorrel dress is the pockets!! I also really like the open-ended darts, they are simple and look really good. The curved back hemline is very attractive and elevates the dress to look and feel more luxurious. I also loved that there were cup size options - as a small A cup, I find many patterns (and clothes) much too roomy for me, and I end up wearing t-shirts way too often.

3. What pattern changes did you make to your particular dress?

I only graded the waist to a size 12 after my test dress was just a little tight in the waist-only.

4. Who would you recommend Sorrel too?

I think this dress could be a great project for a patient beginner, but a little experience would make the process easier of course. I am an experienced seamstress and enjoyed the time I spent with this pattern. It goes together fairly quickly but has fitting details that go beyond the average pattern.


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Another lovely bunch of Sorrel's - I love how different they all look depending on fabric choice and how they're styled.  Be sure to check back at the end of the week for the final instalment :)



xx
J
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Jen

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