After completion of the Joy Jacket pattern test last year, Gabriella, owner of Chalk and Notch Patterns, gave all the testers their choice of one free pattern from the Chalk and Notch collection. After some consideration, I pick the Wren Dress and Blouse. The dress is very different from my usual silhouette, but the balloon sleeves and all the fabulous examples I’d seen on Instagram drew me in. Shortly after Christmas I printed the pattern out, taped it together, and began my own version.
As this was not a pre-planned project, I was limited to what little fabric I had at the apartment, as most of my stash still resides in my parents basement. (Now that I am the proud owner of my own basement - ok technically I do have to share it with my husband - my fabric stash will soon be relocated and I will have constant access to it once more!!) Looking through my options, I picked a red and blue cotton print, obtained from a Goodwill outlet, where you buy stuff by the pound, several months earlier.
The fabric was definitely a bit stiffer than is recommended for the Wren Dress, but for a first draft of the pattern, I figured it would work.
I made the pattern as directed, no fit alterations or anything, with only one minor change. I added large patch pockets to the skirt. One must have pockets!
Upon completion, I went back and forth trying to decide if I liked the dress or not.
I liked the idea of the dress, but it certainly wasn’t love at first sight.
I tried making it match my preferred silhouette by adding a belt, and that was ok, but not quite right.
The shoulders were a touch too narrow and the sleeves a touch too short, which really didn’t help matters.
And the skirt is considerably shorter than I generally wear.
I considered adding a ruffle to the bottom of the skirt, removing the sleeves, and adding elastic at the waist.
But then I didn’t.
Instead, I removed the belt.
Put on some leggings.
Unbuttoned the cuffs and rolled up the sleeves.
I just let the dress be what it was, instead of what I thought it ought to be.
And I decided I liked it! It’s not my everyday silhouette, but it’s a lot of fun! Without a tight waistline, it was just the thing to wear for the extended family Thanksgiving last Thursday. Plenty of room to eat all the yummy food people brought!
And, I’m certainly planning to make another version of the Wren pattern - only this time I will use a fabric with more drape, along with widening the shoulders and lengthening the sleeves to make it fit better.
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