Monday, November 30, 2020

Pattern Review: By Hand London Hannah Wrap Dress in linen

I love it when a sewing pattern really challenges my idea of styles I like to wear. Wrap dresses were not something I'd considered for a long time. So I was surprised when the Hannah Wrap Dress from By Hand London caught my eye, and kept playing on my mind.


A search of the #bhlhannah hashtag on Instagram showed the Hannah looking pretty great on a real range of people. And they recently released extended sizing, which I found promising for fit.

And what do you know - I love it! Hannah pairs beautifully with our washed Lithuanian linens. I used rich teal-blue 'Atlantic', one of our new custom-dyed colours. In this fabric the Hannah makes me feel well-dressed but not overdressed for everyday wear.


NB: BHL patterns are only available as PDF, and I purchased this direct from their website. It's a large print job: four A0 pages mostly filled by the three skirt pieces, or a bunch different files for A4, because you can choose between three sleeve options. I printed the bodice and short sleeve at home to make a muslin before I committed to the full dress, then needed three A0 pages printed to complete the dress. It was worth it in the end though!

I made several fitting alterations to the bodice, through the course of two muslins and the finished dress, but they were exactly as I might expect given my personal shape. I think the pattern is very nicely drafted 'as is'. 

After the first muslin I lowered the bust dart and made a narrow shoulder adjustment. Then after constructing the final dress I could see another area for improvement, with an excess of fabric in the upper bust/armpit area. This sat much better when I pinched a bit out towards the shoulder point along the shoulder seam. So I did a bit of unpicking and took a wedge out of the back shoulder, an inch at the shoulder point tapering to nothing at the neckline - a bit of a dodgy sloping shoulder adjustment. I made a pleat at the top of the sleeve to take in the resulting excess there. If I was to be really picky, I could have gone a bit further with this shoulder adjustment. Don't mind the low quality mirror selfies and mid-reno room... you may find the fitting demo useful!



I also shortened the sleeve, which made it better proportioned for me. The skirt needs no adjustments since it's just three big rectangles with lots of gathers. For me, with many patterns it's a tossup whether to choose a smaller size based on shoulders/high bust and make a full bust adjustment, or choose a larger size and then adjust the shoulders. I'm happy with how this one worked out in the end!

The skirt wrapover is generous and has you covered unless it's super windy (Bunnings carpark I'm looking at you!). The bodice wrap also feels fairly secure and I don't feel the constant need to check and adjust for coverage. I love the weight and swishiness that our washed linen gives to the skirt. Pockets are excellent, although a little difficult to find sometimes within the gathers. Extra shaping is given to the bodice with darts coming from the waist at front and back.






Summary

PATTERN: Hannah Wrap Dress, By Hand London

FABRIC: 100% linen, washed/softened, made in Lithuania - Atlantic (145cm wide, 2.5m)

SIZE: 16 in the original B-cup range (I dithered over which range to purchase because the curvier sizing also started at a 16 but my measurements seemed to fit this quite well)

ADJUSTMENTS: lowered bust dart, narrow shoulder adjustment, sloping shoulder adjustment, shortened sleeve

COMMENTS: I'm a wrap dress convert! Love it.

- Jane xx

Monday, November 23, 2020

Pattern Review - True Bias Roscoe Blouse in washed linen

Sometimes a pattern can creep up on you, do you know what I mean? You’re making the things you need, sometimes getting distracted by shiny new patterns and fabric. Then, out of the blue, an old pattern that has never caught your eye before suddenly… does.

So it was for me with the Roscoe Blouse pattern. Released in 2015 and ahead of its time, probably, with its big sleeves and gathered volume. Great with jeans, good for work or not-work, pairs well with linen and other light, drapey cloth. Um, why hadn’t I sewn this before?



Sizing

The beauty of making an older pattern is the volume of information available about it - and the almost unanimous message about the Roscoe is that there is a lot of ease. Referring to finished garment sizes on the pattern, I went down 2 sizes from my measurements. Yes, it’s supposed to emanate that oversized puffy, pirate shirt vibe, but I prefer the fit of these things to have slightly less volume. And there is still buckets of comfortable ease in this.



Cutting

I cut 2.3m of this 145cm wide washed linen in Deepest Blue, but for the size 10 I used 25cm less - though you might need the full amount in a directional fabric. I also ended up taking 6cm off the hem for my 5’6” frame (more on that later), so could have got away with cutting just under 2m.


Construction

Nothing to report here, this came together with no dramas. The pattern is drafted beautifully and the instructions & diagrams plentiful and clear. If you don’t like making/distributing/pinning gathers - well, there’s a bit of that - but not excessively so.


While this weight of linen (170gsm) is lovely for a top or dress, I think this top could work well with something even lighter weight for super hot weather. A cotton seersucker, voile or Liberty Lawn would be peak light & floaty.



A couple of other things

After looking at these photos I’ve come to the conclusion that, in retrospect I’ve taken too much off the hem. Makes my choice of KATM label somewhat ironic, but I still think I’ll get plenty of wear out of this. Also, not with the blue jeans - too much blue! - but the opportunity to take a photo presented itself in a small window on a blue jean day. 


View C, dress with frill, also looks appealing in the same way that the Wilder Gown is - swishes aplenty!



We’ve just taken delivery of a bunch of True Bias patterns, so the Roscoe Top & Dress can be found here.


- Fiona xx