I think all of us love a FREE PDF pattern right? I decided to try a new to me pattern company from Australia who offers a free pattern when signing up to their newsletter. It’s the Heidi day dress by Wearable Studio.
It’s a lovely dress with wide shoulder straps (bra friendly yay!), a shift style fit with a fitted bust (with a dart) and a relaxed fit waist and hips. There a two tucks on the back with long ties inserted into them as an option to provide some waist shaping. The neckline is finished with an interfaced facing that is contoured above the bust. You can see the line art above.
Light to medium weight woven fabrics are ideal and examples are: linen, cottons, rayon, tencel, light denim, chambray and even needlecord. I chose a very light polyester and a rayon twill for my versions.
The sizing is available for 6-22 (Australian Sizing) and will go up to a bust and hip of 49″. The intended wearing positive ease is 1.5″ at the bust, 10″ at the waist (hence the optional ties) and 5″ at the hips.
The pattern seems to be drafted for a C-D bust cup size. The side bust dart has considerable depth and I am sure that someone with an A-B cup size would need to do a small bust adjustment on the pattern. This is no drama for me 🙂 I am a C cup. The front is drafted with a cut away dart, which means that the bulk of the fabric in the dart will not be there. There is a raw edge and the stitch line will be 3/8″ from that edge. You can see below. The red line would be the stitch line. After the dart is sewn, the raw edges are finished to prevent fraying. The biggest PRO of cutaway darts is that they reduce bulk and fabric consumption width wide. The CON: harder to fit and modify. Once it’s cut… it’s cut.
I decided to convert the cutaway dart to a traditional dart for fitting purposes. I would still trim away excess after the dart was sewn. Below, you can see the original red line that is the stitch line, 3/8″ away from the edge. I have closed the dart without cutting anything away, pressed the bulk down and trued the side seam. When I open the dart again, it takes the traditional shape on the sides. This type of dart will facilitate adjusting the fit of the dart on an actual body.
I set out to make a muslin. My goals for fit adjustment are:
- Assess how much to lower the bust dart
- Assess coverage of the neckline and armscye
- Determine the exact strap length I prefer
- Determine the where the back ties will be inserted into the tucks to match my back height (smallest of my back)
- Determine my waist height compared to the reference points on the pattern.
I knew I would need to lower the bust dart. I needed to see exactly how much with the straps adjusted to my preference length and position. When the muslin was on my body, I determined to lower the darts by 3.5cm or 1 3/8″. Having sorted this, I notice some “dimpling” on my darts….
Rounded areas of the body benefit from a small step further in the fitting process. Traditionally darts are drafted straight. Like triangles. But our bodies are full of curves and especially the bust. A rounded bust will benefit from a concave dart. See below. The red line shows the subtle concave shaping. This contours the side of the bust beautifully. I set out to make this correction on my darts and the result was amazing and instant.
I un-stitched the dart partially and pinned the concave dart while the muslin was on my body and voila! the dimples are gone. How does this look transferred on to the pattern?
A useful tip…… this concave shaping to the dart will also work wonders on:
- an armscye dart
- the front of a skirt or pants when a full tummy adjustment and has been made
- the back of a skirt or pants, especially when the bottom is “full”
- the back of a fitted dress to shape the bottom area
With the fit of the darts fine tuned: dropped the dart and shaped the dart to a concave type… it was time to make the real dresses. I decided to line them instead of only using a facing. The construction is the same and you can see it in my video on my sewing channel on YouTube.
Also, this video was done in collaboration with my friend Kristen who runs the YouTube sewing channel The Dahlia Sew-ciety. She made a beautiful one! she has styled it very brilliantly too. Have a look below to hear her thoughts on the pattern.
My first Heidi Day dress
I chose a flowery black background polyester fabric that feels ice cold on my skin and is very soft. Being light weight, I decided to fully line it. I placed the ties inside the back tucks as per the pattern design.
I did minor length adjustments: shortened the waistline by 1 3/8″ (3.5cm) as I am shorter waisted than this pattern and then added that same amount back in above the full hip. This is me customizing to my particular body’s waist and hip height. I added 1 3/8″ (3.5cm) at the shorten and lengthen line further below in the skirt to account for my taller height.
My second Heidi dress
I couldn’t resist this HUGE scale print rayon twill and made another dress. This time, I added 2″ at the shorten/lengthen line of the skirt. The simple style lines and few seams meant that the print would be minimally disrupted. I placed the bust darts within a huge flower and they go virtually unseen. I have also fully lined this dress in the same manner as the first one. I decided to create tucks in the front this time and place the ties there, rather than at the back.
The pattern seems to be drafted for a C cup and above, due to the depth of the bust dart. I think a smaller cup size would need a small bust adjustment to fit the pattern nicely. I recommend the pattern and it’ll only cost you to be subscribed to a newsletter. I made my dresses with 1 meter of fabric and that is GOLD for me.
DISCLAIMER: I accessed the pattern without cost, as a newsletter subscriber for the website. I Purchased my own fabrics for both versions.
I don’t have affiliate links in this post to the pattern company and the pattern.
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