Hello hello hello!
Today I’m sharing my ‘hot-off-the-sewing-machine’ FibreMood Lexi; a colour-blocked sweater dress from Issue 11 (out now); I was sent a preview copy of the pattern by the mag so I could sew one up to showcase to time with the publications’ release. Let me say from the off though, this dress very nearly didn’t make it…
Lexi is designed for sweater knits and is drafted to be oversized and roomy, with in-seam side pockets and slight puff shaped 7/8 length sleeves. I looked at the sizing info and noted that I fell into the M range (it’s available in XS to XXXL, thats a 76 cm to a 172 cm bust). The instructions also point out that, depending on the preferred cut, you could possibly go a size smaller or larger than the recommended size. I looked at the finished measurements and decided I most definitely wanted to size down. There would have been approx 11 cm of ease at the bust and I decided that was more than I wanted. I duly printed off the pattern, taped it together and waited for my fabrics to arrive.
My fabric choices were totally influenced by the idea that I really wanted to showcase that shaped front bodice piece, to make it look like I was almost wearing a strapless dress or something…so I chose a cotton French Terry loopback sweatshirting in ‘Camel’ for the sleeves and upper front bodice and a black sweatshirting for the remainder of the dress, cuffs and neck band (there’s a good selection of colours in this range of *fabric and I can vouch for its loveliness – I used under 0.5 m of the camel and ordered 2m of the black, with some scraps left over.)
So what very nearly went disasterously wrong? It’s a straightforward pattern, the instructions are clear and thorough. It should have been plain sailing, right?
Nope. Nada. Absolutely not!
So what happened?
I got right up to the point of assembling the dress when I found myself feeling slightly aghast at the size of it. And then I tried it on. It was huuuuuuge. Can you guess what I’d done? Oh yes, I’d gone ahead and printed off and cut the size M, despite my having underlined in black biro in the instruction booklet that I wanted to size down. I sidestepped my husband and asked for an appraisal. He cast a wary eye over me, probably noting the beads of stress sweat forming on my brow and declared he ‘quite liked it’. I tried to convince myself that I ‘quite liked’ it too; it’s a sweater dress, it’s meant to be oversized I reasoned with myself. But I just cannot pull that look off – what looks uber chic on others just looks downright silly on me; I just look like I’ve got dressed in the dark and pulled on an outfit that is simply just too damn big!
I messaged my trusty sewing besties, Monika and Suzy, in our group chat with photo evidence. They were unanimous in their verdict, if I wasn’t happy I needed to sacrifice the pockets to try and salvage the dress by taking it in.
Which I did, by a lot. In order to keep the colour-blocking seams still nicely matched, this entailed cutting the sewn seams off, re-pinning and then re-sewing. I reckon the finished dress is now akin to the size Small (or even a tad smaller) that I’d always intended to go for. However, despite carving out the armsyce some (where it joins the front bodice), the proportions are slightly off and the sleeves have lost a bit of their lovely shape. It’s a shame I had to ditch the pockets but in a dress this much more form fitting, I don’t think they would have worked. It wasn’t a risk I was prepared to take anyway!
Talking of the pockets, my only gripe really with this pattern was the way the pockets are constructed – when sewing up the side seams, you are instructed to sew up to the pocket opening, stop and then restart under the pocket opening to the hem. You are the asked to sew around the pocket bag seperately, starting and stopping at the points you backstitched at earlier. You might be fine doing it this way, personally I prefer to sew down the side seam and pivot at the pocket opening, sewing around the pocket, pivoting again at its bottom, to then sew down to the hem – all in one go. You want those side seams, with their pocket opening, to hang nicely and I think you’ll have a better chance of achieving that doing it the ‘pivot and keep going‘ way!
And just to add to the saga, I’d made my usual adjustments to this pattern, which is to do an 1/2″ high round back and forward neck/shoulder adjustment (the neck would have garroted me otherwise, haha!) Instead of altering the sleeve cap to match the adjusted shoulder seam, as I should have done, I just figured I could ease in the difference. Wrong again. It feels and looks slightly off.
All in all, it’s not my best-ever sewing job but I’m mostly OK with that. After all is said, I actually do like the dress; it’s pretty close to what I’d initially envisaged. It’s incredibly comfortable to wear – I just need to remember to remove my Sewing Perfectionist Specs when wearing it so I can just appraise it like a ‘normal’ person, haha! And another positive was that this was the first knit / stretch garment I’d sewn on my new sewing machine and it sewed up beautifully!
I’m not entirely sure I can recommend this pattern, really. I do think the drafting of the shoulder / sleeve head is a bit wierd – I’ve seen that strange ‘pull’ in other versions out there; although clearly a lot of the errors with this dress were completely my own; I wouldn’t sew it again; perhaps I’d go for the Deer & Doe ‘Givre’ dress instead, in a navy and cream colour combo perhaps…
Until next time, I hope your bobbin is full!
*Disclaimer – This is a sponsored post – I was sent a preview copy of the Lexi pattern by FibreMood. I was also sent the fabrics used to make the dress by Minerva. Opinions are my own, unbiased and honest. Post contains affiliate links; if you chose to purchase through one of these links you will not be charged any extra, however, I may make a small comission for which helps support this blog, thank you! Sarah x
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