Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Pattern review: The Wilder Gown by Friday Pattern Company in Natural 100% Linen

Sometimes a sewing pattern seduces you, despite it being outside your usual comfort zone. The new Wilder Gown by California-based Friday Pattern Company lured me in with its siren song. The magic of sewing would instantly transform me into the amazing model in the photographs, right? I mean, swoon. Just add a floral headpiece.
Back in the real world... I made a sketch of the Wilder on the 'My Body Model' fashion sketching croquis, based on my own dimensions. (I highly recommend this as a sewing project tool.)
Hey, this could work!

I bought the pattern (pdf only at present) and had it printed in large format at Aish on Glen Osmond Road. I have a 'fancy' evening version of the Wilder in mind for later on, but as a first run I thought I'd try it in our favourite all-occasions standby, Lithuanian Natural Linen. The earthiness of this fabric helps dress the design down a bit. With all that volume and gathering, I want this dress to feel either super-relaxed or super-dressy.

So, excellent news - the Wilder sews up in a very short space of time. The line drawings show you just how beautifully simple this dress is:
Raglan sleeves, neckline gathered with a long tie and those skirt tiers are simple gathered rectangles.
The hardest part is pinning the layers together and I confess I went with 'rustic' gathers rather than trying for perfectly spaced and evenly sewn. The shirt version is very appealing and avoids sewn gathers altogether.

The instructions are great and you're encouraged along the way by adorable little images of happy sewing tools with positive advice. I love touches like this which keep you motivated through some of the duller parts of sewing like cutting out.

I measured a Size L and made a small FBA (simplest FBA ever) as per the instructions, adding 1/2" to the width of the front bodice pattern piece. The other adjustment I made was to take 10cm out of the length, to account for my height, by reducing each tier by 5cm.

When I first tried the finished dress on I could absolutely feel the unapologetic 'nightgown' references made in the pattern. There's so much volume and length. However, the whole point of this gown is to be loose and flowy and swingy. After I wore it a bit, and the linen softened up, its voluminous glory really grew on me. Can you imagine how comfy it is? And, twirly? (Check out the pattern hashtag on Instagram for many sewists swishing and twirling!)

As the pattern helpfully suggests, I played about with the neckline gathers, since this can make quite a difference in how the dress sits. After a bit of wear, I stitched the ties in place with a few hand-stitches on the wrong side at the channel opening. This means the gathers stay in place even if I knot the tie a bit more loosely.
There is hand stitching in there somewhere I promise.
For daytime wear I still feel the need to dress the Wilder down. I like it with leggings and boots, or neutral, sensible shoes like my trusty Duckfeet Mols. It works well with a denim jacket. Basically, something that declares I am not off to bed in a four-poster or to picnic at Hanging Rock. A fancy evening version? Well, something with a touch of translucency, layered over a slip is twirling in my mind's eye.

Has the Wilder Gown captured your imagination?

In summary

PATTERN: The Wilder Gown by Friday Pattern Company (pdf available direct from designer)

FABRIC: 100% Linen, Natural, 160gsm. Pattern asked for 3.5m of 150cm wide fabric. I used about 2.9m, part of which is accounted for by my shortening the skirt tier piece, which would have used another 25cm at full size. My advice would be to buy the full amount suggested for your size and fabric width, unless you know you will shorten it.


ALTERATIONS: 1/2" FBA and shortened each skirt tier by 5cm.

COMMENTS: Fast and simple construction and almost no fitting issues meant a low-risk adventure into unknown style territory. The only drawback is the considerable fabric consumption if you're not sure whether the Wilder will be for you.

The sleeves are a bit wider and meet the bodice at a lower point than I anticipated from the product photographs. Finished garment measurements are given, and accurate; it turns out I really couldn't imagine how super-roomy six inches of bust ease would be! I am in two minds about narrowing down through this area, or simply sizing down, in any subsequent versions. It might be best to leave well enough alone.

For me the Wilder is the right meeting of volume and drama with pared back simplicity. It's great to try a different style now and then!

- Jane xx

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