I bought the Sewaholic Nicola pattern ages ago and made a version of it in wool. However, I botched the project and never published it. However, the pattern itself was fine and the fit was excellent. Thus, I decided to try again. This fabric has been in my stash for several years and this dress pattern was meant for it. My version is slightly longer than the original version since I wanted to use as much of the fabric as possible.
Nicola dress is a vintage-inspired shirtdress with cap-sleeved and long-sleeved options, an elasticated waist and a separate tie-on belt. The pattern comes in sizes 0 to 20. I don’t know what sizing system they use but compared to UK or US sizes they are smaller. I am UK size 10 and I made the size 4 that fitted perfectly. However, I am small at the bust and shoulders and I did measure the waistband elastic so that it was more size 8. Clearly this has been drafted for women with longer back since for once the waistline is at the right place for me!
I used polyester crepe fabric I found some years ago at the Eurokangas factory remnant bins. This fabric is very nice. It doesn’t feel too plasticky and it drapes nicely. It is almost impossible to crease which makes this dress very practical. I only needed to use a very sharp needle not to snag the crepe fabric.
It took me about 2 days to make the dress. The construction of the bodice and the collar is very different from the usual method but the instructions are good. I added pockets to the side seams since no-one wants to go around without pockets! I left out all the topstitching as my fabric didn’t really work with it. Topstitching would have just distracted from the pattern and there was a risk of snags that I wasn’t ready to take.
I think that there is something wrong about the Nicola dress sleeve notches. I couldn’t get them to line up. All the ease seemed to go on one side of the shoulder notch. Furthermore, the sleeve caps seemed too large for the armholes. That didn’t bother me at all since, like you must already know, I love puffed sleeves.
This dress is very easy to wear since, due to the elasticated waist, I can just pull it on without opening any of the buttons. I am still a bit unsure whether the length is right for me. I did like the length of the original dress I made (the one that didn’t turn out very well) and I still may chop the hem a bit shorter. What do you think?
The hem is wide enough for a little twirl and this dress looks very nice with a cardigan, too. I am yet to make the thread loops for the belt but the belt seems to stay well in place even without.
All in all, I am happy with this project and can recommend Nicola dress pattern for all sewists that have some experience behind them. As this is a pretty complex project, I do not recommend this for a beginner.
Thank you for reading! I can’t believe that it is almost 2020! Stay tuned for some 2019 review posts and happy sewing!