Last week I mentioned that I was playing around with Victory Patterns‘ Simone dress and trying to overcome some challenges in the pattern. Well folks, I have officially given up… for now at least. Maybe I’ll come back to this one day when I can muster up the patience for some serious pattern alterations, but for now I’ve had enough frustration.
First of all, the instructions that come with the pattern are awful, so much so that I actually feel embarrassed for Kristiann that she let this crap pass through whatever form of quality control they have. In fact, I suspect there was no quality control at all, as anyone reading the instructions would have immediately caught some glaring errors. I’m not just talking about typos here – there are portions of the instructions that make no sense at all, particularly for the front placket insertion. This is not indie patternmaking at its best. My advice: do NOT buy this pattern.
Despite the poor instructions, I tried my best to make it work. You can see my muslin above, featuring a handful of design alterations to try to turn the dress into exactly what I had in mind. Most notably, I didn’t like the pleats in the front and the resulting fullness in the silhouette – it made me feel like I was wearing a tent. So, I stitched them down all the way down to the hem. In theory I like the effect, but it resulted in some strain under the bust.
You can really see it in the photo above – see how the pleats are pulling the fabric too far in? Not a good look, but I also didn’t want to go back to the original pleating and muumuu-like effect.
My other major issue with this dress was that I couldn’t get the front placket and neckline slit to lay flat, even before I sewed down the pleats. The whole area looked too tortured and overworked, and this is supposed to be the highlight of the dress. I suspect my upper bust is too wide for the pattern, which is the case for most patterns. However, it looks like this area is tight and/or tortured for most of the Simone’s I’ve seen on the web… and even on the pattern model! I don’t think it’s just me; I think it’s a drafting issue.
I bet if I had the patience I could fix these issues, and maybe one day I’ll give it a try, but I decided that a complete pattern overhaul at this point wasn’t worth it. Too bad, because I do like the aesthetic of the dress.
In fact, I really like the side view. This is exactly the silhouette I was hoping for when I bought the pattern. (Note that I had already sewn down the front pleats here; otherwise there was way too much fullness in the front for my taste.)
I also like the back view… kind of. (BTW, please excuse my striped undergarments here! Clearly a lining would be needed in a light colored fabric.) The racerback looks great and fit well after I let out the shoulder seams by 1/2 inch to accommodate my height.
But, see how all the fullness in the back skirt is hanging out right in the center? This is after I removed a whopping 10-inch wedge from the center back – you should have seen it beforehand! Excuse my language here, but I think it looks like a huge butt crack going all the way down to the floor. Not a good look!! Annoyingly, the pattern photo doesn’t show this “feature,” and instead the fullness is evenly distributed across the back. Can anyone say bait and switch?
Here’s why this is happening: the back skirt piece, which fits into the V-shaped bottom of the racerback, is NOT cut to match the racerback. Instead, in order to make the skirt fit, you have to spread apart the two halves of the V, thereby pushing all the fullness of the skirt toward the center. In my opinion, this is simply poor pattern drafting. Why not just cut it to match?
Anyway, I don’t enjoy giving poor reviews, and I’m sure Kristiann is a perfectly wonderful person. However, I think blogs are a good vehicle for honest product feedback, so that’s what I’m offering here. I fully acknowledge that my attempted design alterations caused some of the fitting issues, but not all of them. And aside from the fit/drafting issues, the instructions are inexcusable. Especially with a $20 (US) pricetag!
But never fear, my quest for a floaty summer maxi dress is not over… I spent the weekend drafting my own! More to come on that soon. 🙂