When I first became aware that indie designers used regular people to test their patterns I couldn’t wait to get involved- I just had no idea how. I was also insecure and unsure that my skill level would qualify me. Luckily, before too long Sew Over It made an open call for testers on Instagram and I responded with interest before I had time to chicken out. I was so happy to be selected and always get excited when a new testing opportunity comes up. This time around I had the pleasure of testing a couple of patterns from the new Sew Over It Work to Weekend eBook by Lisa Comfort.
I can never resist a shirt dress and as I had a dress in my sewing plans at the moment, I happily swapped it for Kate. She wooed me with her timeless vintage holiday vibe and the finished garment definitely did not disappoint.
Pattern: Kate is a classic shirt dress with a proper collar & stand, hidden button placket and cuffed sleeves that hit above the elbow. Since the buttons end at the waist, there’s a concealed side zip under the arm to help you get in and out. The skirt is made up of six panels and you have the option to leave 2 slits open at each side for a flirty detail. As a bonus the pattern includes instructions to make both the top and the skirt as separate pieces- super versatile!
Fabric: I made my Kate up in an absolutely delicious viscose linen from Sew Over It that I had in my stash. The pattern called for 3.5 meters for my size but I was able to squeeze it out of the 2.5 I had on hand without too much trouble. Kate is fabric hungry mostly due to the 6 panels that make up the skirt as well as her midi length.
Size: I made my Kate in a size 10 which is my usual size for Sew Over It patterns that aren’t fitted around the hips.
Fit: I love the way this dress fits and I did not make any adjustments. I am quite short waisted though, so next time around I’ll definitely take off about 5/8 inch from the bodice length. If you look closely you can see that my belt is at my natural waist, but the seam line is quite a bit lower.
Changes: At first I was skeptical about the midi length and my instinct was to shorten the pattern pieces before cutting. In the end, mostly out of respect for Lisa’s design I decided not to. I’m so glad that I trusted her choice. I did find that on me the slits came up quite high, and I lowered them about 4 inches for modestly. Other than that, this version is was made up exactly as the pattern is written.
Verdict: This is one of those garments that makes me feel 100% myself when I pull it on. I’m not particularly girly in my style and I love how the design softens the structure of a menswear-inspired top with drapey fabric and a breezy, feminine skirt. Made up with this subtle geometric print in a natural palate it’s that easy, classic, understated piece I’ll be reaching for again and again.
Sewing up Kate was not at all complicated. If you’ve made a collared shirt in stable cotton, that experience will help as you work with a slippery rayon or crepe. New techniques I learned were the hidden button placket and concealed under arm zip, both which were surprisingly straightforward. Also if you’re in a time crunch, be aware that the hem and slits are all finished with hand sewing. This results in a lovely soft, flowy hemline, but does take time. I finished mine on the sofa during two evenings of Netflix.
I can’t recommend this pattern enough and I’m already scheming a set of matching separates for my next go ‘round.