Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Pattern Review: The Hoodie Dress by The Assembly Line, in Deep Navy Twill Linen

The new pattern range by Swedish company The Assembly Line has been selling like hotcakes, and we've been hearing many positive reports back from customers about their garments. We like to be able to advise our customers from our own experience and The Hoodie Dress looked more and more appealing as the wintry weather set in here in Adelaide.

The pattern says: "The Hoodie Dress slips over the head, there are elastic cuffs at sleeve and skirt bottom. It features large front pockets and a hood. If you prefer the dress without the hood, this pattern includes a pattern part for neck facing to be used instead."

To help choose your size, the pattern includes body measurements plus comprehensive finished garment measurements. This showed that there's a decent amount of ease built in, but I made a muslin of the bodice and sleeves to check whether I should do a full bust adjustment (which I often require). The deeply angled 'French' style bust darts actually provide plenty of shaping and I made no adjustments to the pattern. The sleeve head and armscye are a shape I know works well for me and indeed, the shoulder and sleeve sat nicely.

The Deep Navy Twill linen I chose is a great partner for this cosy pattern: quite a good weight and very soft. However, in my head the song from the old Alice in Wonderland animated film was nagging at me: "I give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it". I knew I should have pre-washed the linen to give it back a bit of crispness for the cutting and construction. But did I? Nope. So the lovely linen was a bit shifty and fray-prone to work with (typical of a twill weave, softened linen). I staystitched all over the place, and pinned, pinned, pinned, and breathed a sigh of relief when the final seam was neatly overlocked!

The only part where I strayed a little from the (excellent) instructions was in binding the seams inside the hood, rather than overlocking, because they are sometimes visible. I made some bias tape from Liberty Tana Lawn in 'Autumn Trip',  and it's amazing how far a fat quarter can go. Not only did it bind this and part of my Sierra Jumpsuit, but I still squeezed out a dog bandanna from the leftovers!

The cuffs call for 5cm wide elastic for the cuffs. Since I didn't have this, I joined two strips of narrower elastic side-by-side with a zigzag stitch. I saw this tip online somewhere recently - I'm sorry I don't recall where so I can't credit - but it works perfectly! I used a soft knitted elastic for comfort. It's sewn into the seams as per the instructions so the elastic won't twist in its casing, hurrah.

When I first tried on the almost-finished garment I was a bit overwhelmed by its... monastic vibe. There's no getting away from the hood which contributes a lot to this, but it's also a large part of the pattern's charm. I ended up chopping 16cm off the bottom of the dress, which was tremendously long on me, and then when I added the elastic cuffs the true essence of the design came through and it felt a lot less 'costumey'. In fact I really love it.

If I put the hood up it also has a Jedi feel, but I'm okay with that. As you can probably imagine it's all kinds of comfy. Those monks and Jedi are no fools.

I carefully tried this on before I set in the sleeves and was rather taken with the look of it sleeveless. It would be great on its own and with fitted layers underneath. I'd take the time to make a sleeve facing pattern piece, interface it and have a stitched down finish like the hood facing.

Other fabrics I'd recommend for this pattern include:

Hemp & Organic Cotton Indigo Chambray

Cotton/linen Japanese Textured Twill

Any of our 100% linens

Japanese Tencel/Cotton Light Denim

Japanese Utility Cloth

Japanese Wool Blends

In summary:

PATTERN: The Hoodie Dress by The Assembly Line

FABRIC: 100% linen Deep Navy Twill

SIZE: M, shortened by 16cm at bottom hem

COMMENTS: A very nicely designed and well-written pattern. Not complicated yet has nice small details like an elbow dart, shaped back seam and topstitching. The large pattern envelope makes it easy to store all the traced pattern pieces and the A4 instruction booklet is clear and thorough. I love it and can definitely imagine another of these in my wardrobe - probably sleeveless for layerable year-round wear.

EDIT: USING 110CM WIDE FABRIC? I made another and used 3.1m of 110cm wide fabric, which was with the skirt shortened by 10cm. So for full length you would want 3.3m of 110cm wide for size M. I hope that helps somebody!

- Jane xx

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