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Clara Dress // Reveal + Review


This week I realized that being a quilter has drastically made me a better general sewist. I began sewing when I was about six years old. My mom would make us Halloween costumes every year and I started to help her. I made a renaissance dress in middle school, various sweaters, skirts, shirts, pajamas and later I made my wedding vail. I was always a bit irritated with sewing clothes and was never super happy with the quality of my projects. For that reason I rarely got my sewing machine out. 1PA-SewLiberated-118_LRG When I began quilting I was immediately addicted and really didn't sew much clothing anymore. My memories of making clothing were never very fond, so why even bother? This week I was shopping at my local quilt shop, they have a fantastic selection of sewing patterns, I came across the Clara Dress by Sew Liberated and decided to give it a try. I made the dress and I absolutely loved doing it. Thanks to my quilting skills making this dress was easier than ever. You know how much I love glue basting and so of course I assembled the dress using glue basting. I added the bias binding to the sleeves and collar effortlessly. The only problem I had was with my machine, which was acting up while making the button holes. Besides that the dress came together easily and I can't wait to wear it. Our family is on a very serious budget right now so I needed to stick to my stash. The only print I had large enough was this unknown Timeless Treasures print. It wouldn't be my first choice for a dress, but I rather like how it turned out! IMG_0930-sm IMG_0929-sm IMG_0926-sm IMG_0940-sm

Pattern Pros

  • The overall experience making the dress was stress-free and super fun! I will definitely be making this again very soon.
  • The style of the dress fits my personality and it's perfectly modest.
  • The pattern comes with a password for access to a 1hr+ video tutorial on how to make the dress. This was especially helpful since it was my first time making keyhole sleeves.

 Pattern Cons

  • When I make clothing, I trace all the pattern pieces onto freezer paper (I use a pre-shrunk freezer paper you can use Reynolds, but you must iron one time before transferring the pattern onto the paper). Then I can iron the pieces onto my fabric and everything cuts out perfectly, no pins or annoying tissue paper. I positioned everything very strategically and I only used up 2 1/2 yards of fabric of the actual 4 1/4 yards the pattern calls for. As a pattern designer myself I understand it is important to include wiggle room for cutting errors, but this is really a lot of extra fabric.
  • The video is helpful, but a few things mentioned in the video that don't quite line up with the written instructions. In the video she mentions markings on the sleeves determining front and back of the sleeve. I thought maybe I just didn't transfer it all, but after double checking the markings really aren't on the tissue pattern. Good news is whatever those markings were they dress turned out fine without them.
Overall I would definitely suggest this pattern to anyone with some sewing experience that is looking for a fun project.

Alyssa


    Post Comments

  • Sarah says...

    Perfect! The fabric, pattern, pink accents in the buttons & necklace – you did a great job!!

    On August 21, 2014

  • Rosemary B says...

    Alyssa, as the others have said, this dress looks so cute on you. I like this style too.
    What a wonderful dress. I love the twirly skirt. Knowing me, such a klutz, it would probably fly up in the wind.
    Oh maybe I could make it for my daughters, yes both of them.
    haha I actually used to make them matching dresses and other outfits and things when they were little all the time. No they are adults now, so I should not do that lol
    Thanks for sharing your critique on this pattern.
    Enjoy that pretty dress pretty lady!

    On August 21, 2014

  • Sylvia Anderson says...

    Alyssa, I think it’s a darling dress and looks so cute on you. Also, it’s a very versatile dress that can be worn with or without jewelry, depending on the occasion. Good job on the amount of fabric you were able to save.

    On August 21, 2014

  • Katy(LethargicLass) says...

    It looks lovely! Do you find the freezer paper shrinks at all? I think I may try that!

    On August 21, 2014

  • Erica says...

    The dress looks absolutely wonderful on you; you did a beautiful job of this project! I concur on your comment about the fabric yardage. Fabric is very expensive (even more so outside the US, where I live) and I would be frustrated buying so much extra fabric. Your choice of buttons is perfect and I like the way you styled it for the photo shoot. You should be very proud!

    On August 21, 2014

  • Amy says...

    This is perfect! I just ordered the pattern after seeing your dress. I know you aid the fabric wasn’t your first choice, but I think it works so well with the pattern and it looks great on you!

    On August 21, 2014

  • Linda says...

    You look ADORABLE in this cute dress. I’m glad you were forced to use this fabric. It turned out splendidly. You should definitely make more of them when the budget loosens up a bit.

    xo Linda

    On August 21, 2014

  • Susan says...

    I can tell you love the dress. Actually, I love your dress much more than the one on the front on the pattern. I had seen the pattern and was lukewarm about it. Now, I really like it. I want sleeves in a dress and the keyhole ones are cute. I love the pink beads and pink buttons. This is not a criticism – I think I might pop a skinny belt on with it. Just as a personal preference, I like more of a defined waist. You are so savvy to save fabric. My paternal grandmother would always cut the bodice of the dress out and sew it and then cut out the skit and sew it and then join them. My mother took many, many home ec classes in college and so she had some formal education that my grandmother did not and always cut the entire dress at the same time. She’d work and work and rework to get the dress out of the least yardage. Actually because she was petite and had to shorten the skirt (not the bodice) part of a dress considerably, she would actually buy less yardage for a dress. Thank you for the wonderful review and you have a beautiful new dress. You were brave enough to try something that I wasn’t. Thanks, thanks, thanks. BTW – I love your hair. It is very flattering and shows the dress off well. You look immensely happy in it. I know being on a budget can be stressing and it certainly doesn’t show.

    On August 21, 2014

  • Alyssa says...

    Oh exciting, when you done you should come back to this post and leave a comment with a picture so I can see :)

    On August 21, 2014

  • Alyssa says...

    Thank you Erica!

    On August 21, 2014

  • Alyssa says...

    Thank you Chrissie :)

    On August 21, 2014

  • made by ChrissieD says...

    Looks ab fab on you, just had to leave a comment to tell you :D

    On August 21, 2014

  • Alyssa says...

    I know thats what is so fantastic, dress up, dress down, perfect for my busy life.

    On August 21, 2014

  • Alyssa says...

    Thank you Rosemary. I bet your daughters would love this dress!

    On August 21, 2014

  • Alyssa says...

    Thanks Sarah!

    On August 21, 2014

  • Alyssa says...

    Thank you Susan! I was actually thinking it would be super cool to make a cute skinny quilted belt, more work though haha. Its a bit of a puzzle, but if you take the time to move pieces around you can definitely save on projects. Thank you again :)

    On August 21, 2014

  • Alyssa says...

    Thank you Linda! Its funny because I have been scoping out my stash again now that I know I only need 2 1/2 yards. So much for all my saved up quilt backs :)

    On August 21, 2014

  • Melody A. says...

    The dress looks wonderful on you and the fabric makes it very interesting!!

    On August 21, 2014

  • Alyssa says...

    It’s a pretty easy collar to make too.

    On August 21, 2014

  • Jess says...

    I really like the collar on it. I think collars are pretty, but then I hardly ever make something with a collar.

    On August 21, 2014

  • Alyssa says...

    Hey Katy! So I totally should have mentioned more about the freezer paper. If you use a basic store bought Renyolds you will need to iron it onto your pressing board first to shrink it then trace the pattern on. I use a freezer paper from Cristy at Purple Daisies LLC which is already pre-shrunk. She lives here locally so I buy yards and yards in a roll from her.

    On August 21, 2014

  • Jennifer @ Never Just Jennifer says...

    Love the dress and the print is fabulous. Sending good thoughts to you and your husband during this transitional period!

    I’ve never tried the freezer paper method but I think I may have to next time I make a dress. Sounds so much easier than trying to pin the finicky tissue paper in place!!

    On August 21, 2014

  • Alyssa says...

    I don’t have a serger so I use a tricot stitch which is basically a zig-zag. This pattern had you stitch the raw edges first before you assembled the dress.

    On August 21, 2014

  • Penny J says...

    Love the dress on you. Quick question though. How do you finish the seams? I don’t like to leave them raw but I don’t have a serger. Beautiful job

    On August 21, 2014

  • Dorothy Van Pelt says...

    I agree with everyone, you look adorable. Great job and you look so happy. I started so sewing again after many years of just quilting. Now I do both. Dresses for my granddaughter and her 18" doll.
    Thanks for the great job.
    Dorothy

    On August 21, 2014

  • Linda says...

    It’s always been a game I play with myself to see how much less then the specified amount of fabric I can use. it never fails that I have some leftover. Maybe it’s the way the pattern maker keeps people from complaining of running out of fabric!

    On August 21, 2014

  • Jennifer says...

    Fist off I love how your dress turned out and it looks really good on ya too! Second I happen to agree with you of what you wrote about this pattern. I have made this dress for my daughter, and it looked meh on her. This dress it great for some one with a long torso. I say this because my daughter has a medium to short torso and it is not so flattering on her. I too, used the freezer paper method because the pattern is $15.00 and I wanted to get more use out of it in case if some one else wanted another dress in the future. Not to mention the sizes run a bit small. My daughter is a size 10 – 12 (US) and with this pattern she was a size 16. Other problems I ran into was the collar. It did not match up quite right as explained in the pattern and the video. Otherwise its a very adorable dress for a person with a long torso.

    On August 21, 2014

  • lizzie says...

    First of all, your dress looks fab on you! And secondly, I LOVE you fabric choice :)
    Thirdly, Wow, using freezer paper to cut precisely and decrease the amount of fabric is genius! Maybe with your tips I might just make myself a dress one day, although my large size makes it problematic to find realistic patterns. Great job! Thanks for sharing!

    On August 21, 2014

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Alyssa Lichner from Pile O' Fabric

Welcome to the Pile O’ Fabric blog, my name is Alyssa Lichner, I live in sunny Gilbert, AZ. I am a freelance web and graphic designer turned avid sewist. I write modern quilting tutorials and share techniques and inspiration here at Pile O’ Fabric… Read More

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