Hi all, it's Kathy here again. This month's make is a pattern that I have had for quite some time now, it's the Out and About Dress from Sew Caroline. I downloaded this pattern in 2016 after seeing some beautiful versions online, so it's about time that I finally gave it a go. It's a beautiful dress, and whilst there are a couple of things that I will definitely need to change on the next one I make, (more about those later), I really love it and can't wait to wear it now that it has been photographed.
The Out and About Dress is an everyday knit dress which has two hem options - maxi or knee length, and also two sleeve lengths to choose from - long or elbow length. It has pockets ( insert happy dance here) and gives you the option of finishing the elbow length sleeve with an adorable little cuff.
Sounds like the perfect dress to me, and combine this with the comfort and practicality of a jersey knit fabric and it's a winner.
So when I originally bought the pattern, I downloaded it and printed it out but hadn't stuck it together. The actual pattern pages alone consist of 28 sheets, so this took a little time, but they lined up beautifully and it wasn't difficult. Usually with PDF print outs, you will have a page which gives you an overview on how the pattern pieces look when placed together with the grid of pages shown. This wasn't included in this pattern and whilst it wasn't totally necessary, sometimes it is useful to have this in case the version that you are making means that you can skip printing some of the pages. In this case, there were only 3 pages that I needn't have printed so it wasn't really a problem.
I am absolutely in love with the Fabric that I chose for this project. It's no secret that I adore a floral print. Pair that with a blue background and it's a perfect combination in my eyes! This beautiful floral knit has dramatic pink and orange flowers, and the shade of blue sits somewhere between a navy and royal blue. It's fairly weighty - a good medium weight and sewing with it was a dream. It doesn't curl, fray or misbehave itself in any way at all.
The instructions are good. Photographs accompany the written step by step wording and whilst they are brief, they are concise and to the point. I did add something that wasn't mentioned however in that I felt that the shoulders and pocket openings would benefit from strengthening to avoid stretching at these areas. Usually I would use stay tape, but as I hadn't any in my supplies at home I just used regular ribbon.
Don't forget to use ball point pins and a stretch needle for your machine on projects using jersey. This will avoid damaging the fabric and your sewing experience will be a great deal smoother. Something else that I found really helpful was to use the walking foot on my machine. This feeds the fabric through from the top and the bottom at the same time (rather than just from the bottom), and is especially great for using with jersey knit fabrics.
As this is the first version that I have ever made of this dress, I have found some things that I would adjust next time. The bodice is too long on me, so I would need to shorten that by at least 1" on my next version. Also the skirt pieces are gathered rectangles which are added on to the bodice and then the dress is stitched together at either side from the end of the sleeve down to the hem. Whilst this fabric has some stretch, I feel that the finished waist seam has very little 'give' and care must be taken when putting it on and taking it off to avoid pulling on this seam too much. This is not too much of a problem, but I might be inclined to add some elastic to the waist seam next time.
Also, the pockets are way way too low for me. Care must be taken to make sure that your skirt pieces are not upside down, but even ensuring that they are definitely the right way up makes them far to low for me to reach, and again I will need to raise them on my next version by at least 2".
What I do think is really cute, is the optional sleeve cuff. Often the sleeves on a jersey dress are just turned under and finished, and there is nothing wrong with this, but I really love the cuff finish on this sleeve. A simple addition like this really is the finishing touch.
All in all it has been a really good project, despite the little adjustments necessary for me next time. It's a very pretty dress, and the fabric is stunning. Thank you to Minerva for supplying the wonderful supplies for this dress and I hope the review may have been some help to you. My sewing adventures can be found on www.sewdainty.co.uk and I will see you back here next month with another dress.
Take care, and happy sewing,
Kathy x