Monday, 21 September 2015

On the bandwagon with Xerea by Pauline Alice

I completely decided to do this because I couldn't resist a 60s style dress when I saw it on Sonja's blog.  She's like, my name twin, right, I have to follow her lead...

This version was a muslin for a few reasons: I am packing and don't have much fabric to choose from (every scrap I wanted to use was too small.)  Also, I wanted to try to mix up knits and wovens.  I've realised that is what I choose to wear and so if I want to make my wardrobe I need to start branching out a bit.  And the final reason - I am completely putting off making two dresses for friends and two dresses for me that seem overwhelming in the time left. So, with limited time and resources, naturally I decided to avoid everything and make another different dress.  (sigh.)

I cut a size 36.  The 38 matched me better on the size chart but the generous final garment size convinced me to go down. Size was ok but I need a shoulder widening, even on the knit it looks absurd.  So I should do a 38 in the shoulders. Also I cut it right below the pockets so it is much shorter than it's supposed to be, I think I didn't have enough fabric.

I found the pockets difficult to put together.  Sonja noted that the instructions were fleshed out for this part, but I think it does require doing it a few times to get because you create a kind of triangle and need to understand where the seam meets up.  I used the thick jersey for the pockets and that made everything worse because it was so thick, and the teal fabric is a poly blend (unusual for me, I know, but it was planned as just a decorative element for a dress that morphed into something else entirely.)  The teal fabric also has some stretch but is very drapey and relatively thin.  So the fabric discrepancy also made the pockets more difficult.

Overall I don't like this with the sleeves, possibly due to fit.
I did manage to also make view B. Still size 36.
I had the same problem with the pockets, realised why. The instuctions seem to have a discrepancy because they tell you to sew the pocket right side against the dress right side, and there is a corresponding picture. Then it says to sew the side piece to the pocket and front, right side to right, but the picture shows the back side of the dress. That is technically correct!  It just looks really strange.  You have an almost folded over seam allowance once you fold the pocket to the inside and that's why it works.

Version B, well, it had one other unexpected problem.  The center front piece?  Somehow I cut it about 2 inches too short at the top...I wondered why the side bits were longer.  I sewed it together like that to see how the pleat would look, at least, and then realised this dress had too much potential to waste.  I have no excess sewing supplies lying around, no bias tape, and the stress of getting these last projects done has half fried my brain, but I still soldiered on by cutting those side pieces even with the errant front, sewed it together with the yoke, and then nipped a bit out of the armpits.  I zigzagged all the raw edges, folded them over, and zigzagged again.  I am not sure how I could eventally salvage that as a finish (Just cover it with velvet tape and leave all the zigzags on the outside?), but for now it holds ok.  And it is very nice to have an unexpected last dress for me (the last two have been for friends).

I like this pattern, view B, quite a lot.  I am not sure how I feel about it's tenty characteristics, but I would make it in a drapier fabric like wool suiting. It definitely fits my work uniform of dress, tights, and a sweater.  (Oh, too bad I won't be working for the next three months!! So too bad!)


  1. I really like Pauline Alice patterns and now that I've seen a few versions of this one I might have to try it. I especially like the second one - that looks perfect for a hot summer day, with some cute flat sandals - very casual chic. And you lead an interesting life, modeling summer shift dresses with your ski boots in the background :)

    1. Haha yes, the ski boots. I never pick the right season to move and sell things so they are waiting for friends to fetch them and sell them in a few months...but as for the dress I am pleasantly surprised, I think as long as you get a very precise fit at the bust, the rest of the dress doesn't overwhelm. I think that Sonja's marimekko version is way more amazing than mine but it does tempt me to eventually make another.