Somebody pointed out the Winter Street Dress pattern for me when I was compiling my list of pattern companies. I was vaguely aware of the fact that PatternReview.com had some exclusive patterns but I had never tried any of them. This dress was something I have been looking for a while. I had this black jersey crepe fabric that would make a great little black dress. (I don’t know any other name for this fabric. It looks like a crepe from the outside, but jersey from the inside and it is very stretchy and comfortable.) I thought this would be a quick project but I stumbled into many fitting issues.
This dress comes in sizes XS to 4XL. My size was between sizes XS and S so I chose the larger of the two to be sure. Right after I had assembled this pdf pattern I noticed that the bodice was very short looking. Since my back is quite long, I added about 3 cm to the length while I was cutting the dress. This turned out to be a right decision, at least partly. Not following the instructions I assembled the whole bodice first so that I could check the fit. The bodice fitted pretty well. Since I am using jersey crepe and making a bit more formal dress, I finished the neckline by using a facing instead of a using the binding method.
After that I assembled the skirt. However, after sewing the skirt on the bodice I noticed that the skirt portion was too big. Well, this was sort of expected since my hip measurement was a few cm smaller than the size S. I took in from the both sides starting about 10 cm above the waist and after that the width was better. However, the box pleats at the back opened up in an ugly way and the waist seam looked uneven. Already in the pattern the waist was higher at the center front. For me the weight of the pleats dragged the waistline down and the back waistline seemed to be too low. I had to rip the waistline seam off and move the pleats closer to the center front and back and even out the waistline. After the changes even the back pleats hung better.
The sleeves didn’t fit very well either but they formed creases that told me that the sleeve cap was too low. I ripped out the sleeves and made the sleeve cap higher and narrower. I also took a bit fabric away from the bottom of the armscye. This made the sleeve fit much better. Unfortunately there was one thing that I was unable to fix: the shoulders for this dress were too narrow! I can fit into the dress but when I move my arms the top of the sleeve drags upwards to make room for my shoulders.
So finally I must say that this particular dress turned out to be a toile and not a finished dress. I will use the Winter Street Dress pattern again, but I have to widen the shoulders and otherwise do the same changes that I did this time. (Or I could replace the bodice and the sleeves with another better fitting pattern and keep only the skirt piece.) In the pictures I pulled the sleeves down but you can see the creases that form below my armpits that are due to the shoulder (and perhaps armscye) fit issues that still reman.
Finally this toile showed me that this kind of dress can work for my body, but that the fit is essential. Part of the problem with this dress might also be my fabric which is quite different from the jersey used in the original Winter Street Dress pattern. Because my fabric is thicker it doesn’t stretch as much as thinner jersey might. This jersey crepe is otherwise very nice fabric so I might try using it again if I manage to lay my hands on it again.
This pattern would obviously suit better to a person with narrow shoulders, shorter waist and larger hips than I have. So I would recommend this pattern for people with that (pear shaped) body type instead of my slim and straight body type. However, I am still happy that I bought the pattern since with modifications this will make a very flattering dress in the future.
Thank you for my daughter for being my photographer. It is not her fault that the photos are a bit blurry. The light is hard to come by and I’m still learning how to set the camera for the darkness.