All because of puffed sleeves, I decided to sign up for a pattern test a few weeks ago. The pattern in question was an Edwardian era inspired modern dress. Puffed sleeves and inspired by historical fashion? Clearly this pattern was right up my alley!
The pattern in question is the Vita Dress and Blouse by Bella Loves Patterns. With a high neckline and a rather straight skirt, this pattern was a bit outside my standard style, but there was just something so whimsical and sweet about it! I had to make it!
Honestly, as soon as I saw this design on instagram, I was following the link to sign up for the pattern test before I even thought about the fact I don't wear high necklines, and straight skirts and I do not get along.
No, I thought of these things a few days later, after I'd already been accepted as pattern tester and was preparing to make my dress. By this point it was too late. I was committed. A straight skirted, high necked dress, I was going to have.
With the designer's knowledge and "ok" I made one alteration to this pattern during testing, but it didn't affect the design of the dress, only the function. I added pockets - as I just can't "do" dresses without pockets. Dresses without pockets have no place in my wardrobe!
Now did a dress with a high neck and not full skirt have a place in my wardrobe? Well that remained to be seen!
This dress is made completely out of stashed materials. This is partially due to the pattern test happening during the Corona lock down (making fabric shopping. . . difficult. . .), and partially due to the fact I have an insane fabric stash I really need to work my way through.
The shape and ruffly-ness of this design is made by shirring with elastic thread at the cuffs, collar, and waistline. Shirring isn't difficult, I've done it before, but it does work best with a light weight, drapey, fabric. With this in mind, I picked a dark green textured rayon for my dress. I received this rayon in a tub of fabric from a friend of a friend who was de-stashing.
This fabric is incredibly soft and comfy to wear! Which is good, because I have several more yards of it to use up in the future.
The fabric took shirring without issue. I'd forgotten how fun this sewing technique is!
I made view A of the Vita dress, with puffed sleeves rather than bishop sleeves. View A is supposed to have a ruffle on the cuff, but I decided to make mine a completely shirred regular cuff instead.
The "puff" of these sleeves is supported by a gathered bit of silk organza (nylon tulle would also work) sewn into to sleeve head. I greatly appreciate the pattern including this detail - it definitely improves the overall look of the finished garment!
The back neckline of the dress can either fasten with a big bow or two small buttons and loops. I decided I didn't want to mess with tying the bow every time I wore the dress, so I opted for the button option, and picked a matching pair of shank buttons from my stash.
Once those buttons were sewn on and the dress was hemmed and done, I tried it on, not sure what I'd think. Would the high collar make it feel frumpy? Would the straight skirt make it feel restrictive?
Well, I tried it on and my first thought was I felt like Anne of Green Gables. Thus, I would call this make successful!
Yes, the skirt is on the straighter side, but it's not too straight. It restricts movement in no way at all, and I can still climb a tree in it - the test of every great dress.
As for the neckline, it's not bad. High necks still aren't my favorite, but on this dress it works.
I've worn my Vita Dress almost weekly since finishing it, and the neckline hasn't bothered me at all.
Everyone needs a dress in their closet that makes them feel like Anne of Green Gables!
If you are interested in the Vita Dress pattern it can be found here - and it's on sale for 20% off through May 11th, 2020!
I was given this pattern free of charge in exchange for providing the designer with my feedback on it. All thoughts and opinions here are my own. I was not required to write this blog post.