We really enjoy pattern testing, can you tell? It is exciting to see what pattern companies are exploring in their processes. We think it is a great way to sew a range of different designs and support small businesses. We are part of the a few groups on Facebook where there are call outs for pattern testers. These are usually from smaller start up companies but is a great way to see what is being developed.
A few weeks ago, in the Sewing Pattern Testing Group, we saw a post from Danielle Tchao asking for interest for Testers for a new pattern company she was with co-founder Vicky Quan called SOLA Patterns. The trade drawings of their designs looked really good, which is something we look for. We feel it means the designer has a good technical understanding and that will be reflected in their pattern drafting and design.
SOLA Patterns was launching a few different designs but we put our hand up to test two of their dress patterns. The first was the Magnolia Dress and the Laurel Dress which we will share shortly.
Magnolia Dress Details
The Magnolia design is a shift style dress with two striking sleeve options. There is the voluminous upper sleeve that tapers to highlight a narrow forearm or a pleated petal sleeve. The bodice has a front bust and diamond dart and it is finished at the back with a center back zipper.
This pattern is designed for woven fabrics with a consideration of how you would like your sleeve to sit. Using thicker fabric for the full length sleeves will create quite a lot of volume which could be a fun effect.
We made both versions to explore the pattern style. This is our petal sleeve version in a mid weight woven cotton.
Liberty Orchard Garden Pheasant Forest from Fabric Hoarders
For this project we teamed up with Fabric Hoarders who supplied us with a delightful Cotton Liberty Print. Fabric Hoarders stock a wide variety of the iconic Liberty Fabrics on their website, check out their range here. Liberty Fabric is such a distinctive style and it was great to get to work with such a beautiful fabric.
This is the Orchard Garden Pheasant Forest in the blue colourway. It is 112cm wide and 100% cotton.
We fully lined the dress with a white lining fabric. As the petal sleeves is shaped we finished the raw edge off using a bias tape on the side of the hem.
The fabric we made the Bergonia Dress was also from Fabric Hoarders, you can see our post about that here.
Constructing the Magnolia Dress
Our preference is to have a more fitted style bodice so we would recommend checking out the ease allowed for in this pattern. SOLA Patterns list this on their website so check your measurements again the amount of ease and how fitted you would like the finished dress to be.
We like to line all of our dresses. It helps the outer fabric to sit smoothly and allows for ease of movement so it can slip across the body. The pattern uses and neck facing, it is still an important pattern piece as it means that a little bit of the outer fabric can be used along the neck edge. This is important because event if under stitched it helps to make sure the lining doesn’t show through to the outside.
Finished Magnolia Dress
The Magnolia dress is a great style, we loved the sleeve options so much that we made both. It sits so well in the cotton fabrics and it could also be made in other wovens.