“If there is no struggle there is no progress.”
This quote by Frederick Douglas just seems so profound right now. At a time when the world is still struggling with a pandemic that has brought it to its knees; and at a time where animosity, and inequality towards black and other people of colour has been brought to the fore, this quote reminds me that there is hope in our struggles… a light at the end of every tunnel.
February is Black History Month in America and in an effort to highlight and support black makers and creators, two of my fabulous sew sister’s have been hosting the BHMPatternDesigners challenge over on the ‘gram. The rules are pretty simple: construct an item between February 1st and 28th using a pattern from a black designer! Now, I ain’t no American, but I AM a black maker and I wanted to show some support to the black makers movement.
At the end of January, Eryn [the owner and pattern designer for Style Sew Me Patterns] released the Giselle Dress. Prior to this month, I ain’t never sewn one of her patterns, but from the minute I saw it, this dress started speaking to me in all kinda tongues! I knew I wanted to shop my stash, and I pulled 4 fabrics that I thought would do this pattern justice based on the line drawings and fabric recommendations… but then I just.couldn’t.pick. My dilemma was resolved by a quick Insta poll, and this cream and black poplin from Mood Fabrics won y’all hearts hands down! Soooooo I owed it to you guys to create a fabulous piece!
Giselle is an unlined, princess seamed dress, with a pussybow neckband, puffy sleeves and a two-tiered skirt. The pattern is a fitted dress, sized from XS – 3XL and drafted for a C cup. Giselle was designed for woven and stretch woven fabrics, and uses just over 3 yards of fabric. It’s available both as a printed pattern and as a PDF, and if you sign up for the stylesewme newsletter you can get 15% off!
It ain’t no secret that I’m a SERIAL TOILER [twahl-er] and I definitely saw the need to toile this pattern fo’ sho! The dress is a fitted dress and my post-lockdown body AIN’T NO JOKE, so I wanted to take the time to get the fit just right! Plus, since I’d never sewn a stylesewme pattern before, I had no clue how her block would work on my body. Finally, the construction of this dress meant that I wouldn’t be able to ‘fit as I go’… so yeah… toile!
Of course, I made quite a few fitting adjustments to the pattern. But let’s be real y’all, it’s impossible for a pattern designer to pattern for every single body size and type, so I’ve come to accept fitting adjustments as the norm. My body measurements landed me in the size ‘Large’, and though I’m a C-cup, I did perform a full bust adjustment, just so the girls could breathe a lil.
I constructed most of the dress using the ½” seam allowance provided in the pattern, but sewed the side seams with a ⅜” seam allowance just for a little extra wiggle room. All dem lockdown snacks be catching up on ya girl!
I saved the process of fitting this dress to my highlights bar on my Instagram page. If you want the down and dirty, go check it out!
Aside from the fitting adjustments, I did opt to underline (not to be confused with lining) the bodice of this dress. Princess seams need love and affection folks and unlined princess seam bodices scare me. I can never really figure out how to finish the seams in a way that’ll be both tidy, and long-lasting, whilst allowing me to get close enough to the curve to release the tension at the seamline. Sure! me and my serger have a pretty good relationship, but I keep fearing I’ll accidentally get my bodice caught in the blade, and end up with a tidy seam PLUS a big ole hole!
In order to underline my dress, I doubled the bodice pieces and constructed two identical bodices. I then basted them wrong sides together all around the bodice, so that I could treat them as ‘one’. Sure, this process uses more fabric, and takes a little more time, but the finished bodice is ooooo so worth it IMO!
I think that this pattern would be suitable for an advanced beginner/intermediate sewist. You gotta be able to deal with the convex and concave curves of princess seams, sew an invisible zipper, do some gathering and a lil’ handsewin, plus fitted dresses aren’t as forgiving in the fit department as loose dresses.
I am absolutely in love with my finished dress and I CANNOT wait to wear her out, after lockdown is over! Hubby, if you’re reading this, consider this your notice lol. Giselle is a lil bit of a departure from what I usually make but I am so glad I took the time and effort to get it to fit me just right!
I told y’all already that this dress is new on the scene. I spent most of February working on it and during that time, I somehow managed to hit 2000 followers. So in order to give back, I thought it would be fun to host a giveaway of the Giselle Pattern! Head to my feed for all the tea about how to enter!
Oooooooooooo, two more things before I go: my sewlsistah @sewstartino also sewed up the Giselle dress this month so head on over to her page to peep her version; and be sure to check out all the other entries into this month’s #bhmpatterndesigners challenge.
Thanks for stopping by. Gotta luv ya and leave ya,
Until next time,