PATTERN TESTING – MAKING THE NEW SEWING MASIN DAPHNE DRESS
I’ve been struggling to find time to sew recently, with a job and a toddler rushing around me constantly. Exhausted is just half of it! But I jumped at the chance when Jasmin was looking for pattern testers for her latest sewing pattern, The Daphne dress.
My sewing has generally improved so much due to testing patterns. I have to read the instructions carefully and follow along step by step. This means I have to try techniques I would usually avoid or have never attempted before.
I have tested previously for Jasmin at Sewing Masin, so I know her process. All the patterns I have previously tested have been pretty much perfect. You can read about when I tested the Tulia Tee here and the Dayo blouse here.
The Daphne Dress Prep
The Daphne dress has a fitted empire line bodice, with an elasticated back panel and sleeves. Because of the close fit of the bodice, I decided I would make a toile. When making my favourite patterns I don’t usually bother, as they aren’t overly fitted. Therefore I can usually adjust the final garment if needed. I find a top tip if you skip the toile stage is to check the finished garment measurements. It helps to compare them to both your own body, and a well-fitting garment you already own.
I made a size C and found I didn’t need to make any alterations, the bodice fit me well. One of my favourite things about the pattern is the fact there aren’t loads of pages to print. Jasmin just gives the dimensions of the skirt panels. As it’s just a big rectangle, and realistically it can be any size you want. This worked perfectly for me. I just cut one large piece the width of my fabric 140cm and guessed the length. I also carefully followed the instructions to interface many of the pattern pieces, a step I also sometimes skip, shhh don’t tell anyone.
The Daphne Dress Process
As I said previously Jasmin from Sewing Masin writes excellent sewing instructions that come with lovely diagrams. So the sewing process was quite straightforward. I started with sewing the bodice panels together, once for the main fabric and once for the lining. Next, I constructed the sleeves, sewing on the curved facing to make a channel and folding over the straight edge to make a second channel. Inserting the elastic, this bit was quite tricky, as it was easy to get mixed up. The straight edge is the shoulder seam, and the curved edge is the sleeve hem. This seemed opposite to what was expected. One of my pattern tester notes to Jasmin was to make this clearer, as many of us testers got it confused.
Make sure you secure your elastic well, as the elastic on my toile came loose and got lost in the channel and was a big fiddle to get fixed.
The sleeve underarm was then French seamed together before being attached to the main bodice. The lining and main bodice are then sewn together, the seams clipped, understitched and then turned through. To finish off the bodice I made the elastic panel for the back. Usually, I would use shirring to create this sort of panel, but the Daphne dress panel is made quite differently. Channels are sewn and then elastic is threaded through every other one and stitched carefully in place. The elasticated panel is then sandwiched between the main bodice and the lining.
The skirt panel is then sewn into a circle and gathered at the top. My favourite method of gathering is using the machine’s longest stitch, sewing two lines and simply pulling to gather. But I’ve seen people use an overlocker to gather or even shirring elastic. When sewing the bodice to the skirt panel, I made sure I pulled the elastic panel straight so the elastic helped with the gathering.
Then it was just a case of choosing a length for the hem, I almost cut it into a mini dress, but I think I like the drama of a maxi length. What do you think?
For this pattern, I made a size C, with the cup A/B/C range and it fit me well. The only adjustment I made was to add longer elastic to the sleeve hems. I’m still deciding, but I think it’s still a little tight for my liking. I also didn’t insert pockets, as I used viscose crepe and didn’t want to affect the drape of the dress.
Would I make the Daphne Dress again?
Although I love the dress I’ve made, I do feel quite dressed up in it. I’m going to make on in a more casual fabric like linen or cotton, I am interested to see what a shorter version looks like.
The pattern was released last week and is available on Sewing Masin’s website now
I’d love to hear if any of you make the Daphne dress, let me know in the comments
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