The Foldline immediately caught my attention with the release of their first pattern The Billie Collection through their new pattern company Tribe Patterns. Not only because the style of the dress was right up my street, but also by the premise of their new venture. The concept is not only simple but generous and giving. Kate and Rachel have decided that they want to help the sewing community to become designers. They will regularly run competitions where sewists enter their own designs and the winner will have their design turned into a pattern by the girls at The Foldline. They have kicked off this venture by asking Rachel Pinheiro to design the first offering and the result is the Billie Collection.
I remember when the Wren dress was first released, it took the indy community by storm. I wasnt that overwhelmed initially but over time I became warmer to it. A few weeks ago Girl Charlee very generously sent me some pineapple jersey fabric to review and although I was also considering the Moneta, I just felt the Wren was the perfect pattern for this summery, fun, quirky fabric.
The fabric was sent to me within a day or two, which I was really happy about. Who knows they have fabric coming and are happy to wait? Not me. Too exciting! When it arrived I loved how vibrant it was. It was just like the pictures, if not brighter. It is more of an aqua blue than I was expecting but that was a good thing. It is a lightweight jersey – just the ticket for these summery days at work.
If you have been reading my blog you will know my machine had to go into sewing hospital for a while so I have taken longer to make than I expected. I have a basic back up machine so I was able to get on and make the dress.
Firstly I downloaded the PDF, if you need help with putting together PDFs, Little Miss Lorraine has done a really helpful video here. This took a while as there were quite a few tiles (pages) to stick together but luckily I really enjoy doing this.
Once I had the pattern pieces all sorted I cut the fabric. In the past I havent been a massive fan of jersey (it doesnt behave in the way that woven does) but I have bought quite a bit recently as it is so comfy to wear! The pineapple fabric was very well behaved I have to say, I didn’t have any problems cutting it out. It sliced like a dream too (of course a new rotary blade helped with this).
I decided to cut a 2x in size and not worry about fit adjustments. I really just wanted to make the dress and wear it but also I knew that jersey is very forgiving so could probably get away with any minor alteration issues. I love the little gathered part on the front (as seen in the photo of me posing below)
One of the first problems I came across was hemming the bust line. The pattern advised to coverstitch (if you’ve won the lottery!) or use a twin needle. I have a twin needle but have never really used it. It is quite a thin one so I went and purchased a new one with a wider width. It wasnt until I got home that I realised it was intended for jeans…. so it wasnt that huge of a surprise when my machine began eating the material… In the end I decided I was going to zig zag the bustline hem instead – I wasnt 100% sure it would work or look good but it worked out well (I was able to disguise the tiny hole).
I’ve never made a wrap dress before, or any kind of wrap top, so making this was partly new to me. It was very easy to do though, completely beginner friendly. The only thing I did stumble with is how far to cross over the two front pieces. In the end it was just guesswork based on the technical drawing.
Also, I was following instructions for version 1 and sewed up the side seams before realising I hadnt sewn in the sleeves. It wasnt a biggie, I knew how to set in sleeves so I did it this way instead and they were a complete success.
The skirt was even easier really. It comprised of a front piece cut on the fold and two back pieces. I just sewed a seam up the centre back and then sewed the front and back together.
At this point I was required to shurr clear elastic, but lately whenever I do this I can never make the elastic stretch far enough (though I was able to initially), so I ended up scraping that idea and zig zagging over yarn and then gathering the skirt. Once I did this I attached the top to the bottom with a basting stitch to ensure I was happy and pulled the yarn out and then serged the edges.
Then all that was left to do was to hem the sleeves and skirt bottom. This is where the real trouble was; when I looked in the mirror the hem looked really uneven. I thought this was because my bum sticks out, as does my big chest, so this will bring the material up. So cornered the husband and equiped him with pins and a metre rule! Once he did this the back hem was 3 inches longer than the front hem! So we tried again, this time I put washi tape on the ruler so there was no mistaking where to pin and it happened again. I just didn’t get it! I was getting frustrated by this point! So I thought I am just going to hem as it is even if it doesnt look right. So I serged and then turned the hem up twice. When I tried it on it looked even; I think I probably wasnt standing straight previously.
Despite the journey to this point, I love the dress. To be perfectly honest I wasnt sure such a bright fabric would work but it does and I feel a lot more confident wearing it. It is very flattering to my figure which can be hard to find for plus size peeps. I will make the dress again, without a doubt, but there are some adjustments I will make. The back comes down a bit lower than the front and I think this is because my bust rises the front; so next time I will put extra length on the front. If I make it with a thicker fabric I may try the straight skirt but we will see.
I made the dress inside about 4 hours, it really wasnt a lengthy make (it would have been quicker without the hemming issues). I was super keen to get it finished yesterday so I could wear it to work today. I’m glad I did, it was so comfy and the colour bought sunshine into my office. I received lots of compliments, which is always a nice reward to my hard work.
Thanks for reading! Please visit Girl Charlee for your jersey fabric needs. They have lots of really fun fabrics that I would love to have in my stash! Thanks Girl Charlee for gifting the fabric for this dress, its my favourite outfit.