|See my blog posts for more photos and details, here, here, here, and here and the vendor's comments here.|
This is the remake. Yeah, I know it's hard to tell the difference, but trust me ... this one feels and hangs a lot better, especially after switching out the original doubleknit used for the skirt in favor of a thinner and drapier rayon/Lycra. And, of course, ditching the butt pleat. "Butt pleat" doesn't even *sound* attractive, does it?
I realize it's hard to see any front pleat details at all in the black so I tried to lighten up the pic a bit. Even then, it wasn't very cooperative and the "enhanced" pic above was the best I could do.
The updated photos above were taken after I got home from work and now that I've worn it all day, I don't think I'd change anything else not mentioned in this blog post but I do want to triple emphasize (tripleemphasize-tripleemphasize-tripeemphasize!) interfacing the midriff band. Not only does the midriff hold up the entire full skirt, it also sits where your body naturally bends and scrunches. The interfacing kept the dress' midriff - and mine - neat, supported, and flat all day long. Or in my case, the illusion of flat.
Click the link to my blog in the paragraph above to see how I altered the skirt pattern to remove the back pleat, kicked the neckline facings to the curb, and the other alterations I made before sewing the second version.
Also, if you'd like to read my "Open Letter to Indies," click here.
============Original Review Below==============
1st Try Front View
1st Try Back View
1st Try Alternate Front Vew
Pattern Description: "The Red Velvet Knit Dress features a faced circular neckline with optional petal collar and pleated underbust seam. Choose the origami-style scissor pleated skirt, or reverse it for a flat boxy-pleat effect. A cleverly concealed ticket pocket holds a few coins, cards, or lipstick."
Pattern Sizing: Bodice 30"-59"; Waist 25"-55". (My bust is 44, my waist is 37.)
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes and no. The actual skirt section is much fuller than the scissor-pleat view line drawings would lead you to believe.
Were the instructions easy to follow? Easy, yes, but I think there is room for improvement, especially because Cake advertises "Our sewing instructions are different -- focused on providing a clear and stress-free sewing experience with clear diagrams for visual learners. The more experienced sewist will appreciate the easy-to-skim instructions format, including a Construction Overview and technique symbols!"
I *am* an experienced sewist and I thought non-standard symbols to be more cutesy than helpful. There are no alignment notches, so make your own when you're cutting, and if you've got 40+ eyes syndrome, keep the "cheaters" or magnifying glass handy because the illustrations, while good, are tiny. There are also no hip width measurements at all. None. If you've got hips like me or a pronounced hourglass figure, some of that scissor pleat is going to end up as fitting ease.
I also think some of the construction methods, while fast, do not give the best results. Facings on a knit neckline? No, thank you, even if the instructions tell you to use fusible webbing between facing and bodice to prevent rollout. Hemming sleeves before sewing the sideseam? It's really just as easy and a much nicer finish to press the hem first, but leave it unsewn until after the underarm seam is sewn, and then hem in the round. Using the lightning stitch for knits? Hahaha ... experienced sewists know that's an evil trick the manufacturers played on us, especially if you've ever tried to rip it out. In black. At night. A link to an invisible zipper video tute that results in a zipper with visible extra stitches you're told to just rip rip out? Hmmm.
There are also pattern drafting errors. While minor, I do want to mention them so newbies don't wonder if it's them or the pattern. I think there's something off with the midriff pieces - first, in the size range I used (40s) they are off from each other where you'd join them at the sideseam, by 1/4". You will never get perfect sideseam alignment if you don't correct that before you cut fabric. Also, I think the "connect a dot and triangle" method of "custom" sizing the midriff can easily result in a badly shaped pattern piece that won't fit onto the skirt properly, and the piece I created by straight size 40 numbers (IOW, no real customization) didn't match up to the skirt piece by 1/2", which times 2 for the fold cut means it's off by an inch. I didn't need that inch and ended up trimming the join to a normal shape, but maybe you will need it. Who knows.
Fabric Used: ITY knit for the bodice, faux knit-back leather for the midriff, Sophia knit for the skirt. The skirt is much too bulky even though doubleknit is a recommended fabric.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? The scissor-pleated skirt is what attracted me. I thought the diagonal lines would be flattering, but I also thought the skirt wouldn't be so voluminous so I've now got mixed feelings about the final result and since my faux leather reached its expiration date and started leaving marks on the white of the bodice, I'm probably going to just cut off the skirt and use the fabric for something else. And, really, now that I've seen it ... who needs a scissor pleat on their backside?
Pattern alterations or any design/construction changes you made: Cake's unique sizing is good in theory. But in practice, I found it really hard to get my head around. In the end, I guessed my best from experience, and created a bodice front that was size 35 in the shoulders/neck, 40 in the width with the C cup (or 45 A, because it's the same width), and 45 for length with an additional 3/8" added.
ETA: This morphing means I had to print and tape together 3 separate bodices for the 3 different sizes. So much for the economical, only print your size, printing mentioned in the instructions. I wish the sizes were nested ... or similar to what I think I see on Cake's blog for the Hummingbird top. Can't tell on that one for sure since I don't have the pattern.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I really don't know if I'll sew this again, but I have invested $15 in the pattern, so I hate to just throw that out the window. Plus I hate to let any pattern get the best of me so chances are I will try it again in a much thinner knit for the skirt with no back pleating. When/if I do, I will update this review. I do think the dress on me has possibilities ...
Conclusion: I applaud Cake for getting out there, but I think there is still refinement needed. I don't mind paying more for good quality independent patterns, but these aren't there yet and I think the premium price point is misleading.
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See my blog posts for more photos and details, here, here, here, and here and the vendor's comments here.