Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Sew Cheap February Free Pattern Review: Garden Party Dress

For my Feb Sew Cheap: Free Pattern make and review, I chose the lovely Garden Party Dress by Honig Design. Elise has spoiled us by making her multisize dress pattern freely available. This is a short or long sleeve dress with a fitted bodice, an optional neck line slit, and a pleated floaty skirt with hem variations. It looks great in winter and summer variations so fabric choices are broad. Instructions for lining the bodice are included.

Garden Party Dress Honig Design

I chose to make the short sleeved version with a neck line split.I cut a size 10 chest grading out to a 12 from the waist down. I also adapted the sleeves as I had read that they for very narrowly drafted. I used a Wool/Rayon blend for The Fabric Store which is light but lovely and soft. Tim originally chose this wool to line his Albion coat but there wasn't enough on the bolt. After standing in line at The Fabric Store for 20 minutes I decided I wanted it anyway. I managed to get the dress out of 1.3m by 1.5m wide.

Garden Party Dress Honig Design

I followed the instructions mostly but got a bit unstuck when trying to add the sleeves. Even after widening the sleeves, using a smaller S/A and easing them in twice, the sleeves just didn't fit right. They were so tight around my bicep that they poofed up at the sleeve cap and pulled the bodice. The sleeves had to go, but the lining was already attached to the bodice, but not the sleeves, and the bias binding just wasn't the look I was going for. Thus, I unpicked the lining and reattached it to the bodice AND sleeves using the instructions from my Colette Truffle dress. This gave the sleeves a clean finish. I also top-stitch around the sleeves and neckline to flatten out the wool and stop the lining peeking out.

Garden Party Dress Honig Design

Once getting over my sleeve and lining drama the rest of the dress went together easily. There are three pleats in the front skirt and just 1 in the back skirt so its not too fiddly. After attaching the skirt I checked the fit. There was excess room in the bodice and I took the side seems in 1/4"on either side. The dress is still a little wide for my upper frame but I've decided that could work in my favor as it's a winter dress and I'll be layering shirts, slips, long sleeve tops etc. 

Garden Party Dress Honig Design

When it came to inserting the zipper I couldn't get the waistline to match on either side! I ripped and re-interested the zipper twice and ended up getting some unevenness at the neckline in my attempts to improve the waistline. I'll always wear the dress with a belt so I guess it's not a big deal. My other issue with the dress is that its near impossible to undo by myself. I have reasonable shoulder/arm movement but I really have to wriggle to reach and pull the top of the zipper. If I lived alone I probably would avoid wearing this dress.

Garden Party Dress Honig Design

Overall, I really like the dress. I'm not sure that the wool is really my colour but it makes a change from my vastly grey and black winter wardrobe. I love the fullness of the front skirt as shown below. Even though I had a few issues with the fit (particularly the sleeves) this is still an awesome freeby! The instructions are written-only (no diagrams) and were occasionally brief so I probably wouldn't recommend this as a first dress project. But, if you've made a lined dress or blouse with a zip closure then you'll be comfrotable putting this together.

Garden Party Dress Honig Design

If you like this post, check out my January review, Sew Cheap: Top Tips and Sew Cheap: Free Patterns posts. 

10 comments:

  1. That's very cute! I've wondered about this pattern, so it's nice to see it made up!

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    1. Thanks Gail! Yes, it's been on my to-sew list for a while as well.

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  2. I love the neckline on this dress - it looks perfect with your white shirt. Great find :)

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  3. It's a great dress. Nice to see how you've styled it too.

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  4. Really cute dress, I think the fabric looks great!

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  5. I'm so sorry I didn't see this sooner, I've been offline and the blog has had to take a back seat for a while so I didn't see your comment till no. ANYWAY, what a fabulous frock you have here! I love how you coupled it with the shirt and you look terrific in it! I'm sorry to hear the sleeves didn't work out but thank you for the feedback. Happy sewing, love all your makes!

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  6. Oh, do you mind if I include on my blog? :)

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    1. No problem at all. Thanks for popping by my blog. I would love it if you could include my dress on your blog :) I love the dress without sleeves so it worked out well.

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