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Cake patterns: 0369 (Red Velvet Dress) - Type:Dresses    printable version
Viewed 460 times 3 more reviews
Review rated Helpful by 1 people    Very Helpful by 19 people   
Reviewed by:michellep74
Friend of PR
About michellep74starstarstar
Member since: 7/19/07
Reviews written: 140
Sewing skills:Intermediate
Favored by: 105 people
patterns reviewed: 121
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Posted on:12/11/13 3:26 PM
Pattern Size:Plus-Sized Regular 
Project Photo:Cake patterns: 0369 by michellep74

Cake patterns: 0369 by michellep74  Cake patterns: 0369 by michellep74  
Pattern Photo:Cake patterns 0369
Cake patterns Pattern Info
Pattern Rating:Recommend, with Modifications
See other patterns in this category: Dresses    
Available for sale on PR: $14.06 (See envelope) Click to Buy
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Fabric:ITY Jersey  [See other projects in this fabric]
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My rating this pattern as "Recommended, with Modifications" isn't a knock on the pattern; it's a comment that the pattern has good bones, but I suspect you might need to make quite a few alterations to get a fit that you're happy with. I participated in the Red Velvet 30-minutes-a-day sewalong, so I've seen quite a few of these dresses made up, and I saw the same fit issues coming up over and over again--mostly to do with the bodice length over the bust and the look of the release pleats at the bust. More details on these in the review.

Pattern Description:

From the Cake Patterns web site:

"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."

I sewed two versions of this: the black-and-white version uses the scissor pleat skirt, while the striped version uses the boxy pleat skirt.

Pattern Sizing:

Custom sizing based on your high bust for a range of 30-55" high bust size plus a "cup" size (doesn't correspond to your bra size) of A-D. The pattern and web site include extensive instructions for measuring and choosing your size.

The skirt is full, so no hip measurements/fitting is required.

The measured size seemed to be a good starting point for most of the women participating in the sewalong.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Yes, although I think that the scissor pleat on the skirt is more subtle than what's shown in the line drawings. The bust pleat(s) are more prominent in real life than what's shown on the line drawings for most people.

Were the instructions easy to follow?

The instructions are easy to follow, and if you have any trouble with the instructions, the Cake web site/flickr group has a ton of support with photos, tutorials, etc.

I know that there has been some discussion online about the results produced by the instructions and whether they demonstrate the best techniques for things like sleeve hems, etc. I don't want to re-start the discussion here, but we're largely adults here, and unless you're completely inexperienced with sewing knits, you probably can use your judgment to decide whether you want to use the techniques described in the instructions or use techniques that you know from other projects.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?


The pattern produces a nice, office-friendly dress that isn't too modest or revealing. The silhouette looks good on most figures.


More of a note than a dislike, the pattern did seem to require quite a few tweaks by many sewists to get a result that they were happy with. This could be an awareness issue: obviously, in a sewalong, you're focusing more on fit than when you're trying to whip up a quick knit top in 2 hours.

Given that one of the strengths of the pattern is supposed to be the customized-to-you drafting, I think that maybe the dress needs a few more connect-the-dots drafting points (along the lines of the awesome Espresso leggings pattern). Maybe add a point for bust depth, a lengthen/shorten line on the midriff and include alternate options for what to do with that bust pleat, rather than the release pleat?

(I mention these because Cake did do a second printing of the Tiramisu dress that addressed some of the common fitting issues in the first printing, such as removing bust ease in the A-cup bodices, removing the gathers in the smaller bust sizes, etc.) If there's a second printing of the Red Velvet, I think there are some areas that could be looked at to fine-tune the fit.

Fabric Used:

For the black-and-white version, I used a black-and-white ITY jersey that I purchased a while back from Fashionista Fabrics.

For my second version, I used what was also labeled an ITY knit on the bolt. I bought this striped fabric at the Mill End Store on our trip to Portland, OR in October. Note that this fabric was a little bit thinner, WAY more slippery, and WAY more drapey than any other ITY knit that I've worked with. To be honest, it was a pain to work with. The midriff band is a black ITY jersey that I've had in my stash.

Note for the sewalong: Watch your fabric choice with this dress. You'll want something that's thin, but not too thin. My observation was that the skirt pleat seemed to work okay if you used a light enough weight fabric. Dresses made up in, say, an ITY knit looked okay; dresses made up in a doubleknit generally probably would have looked better without the pleat/bulk.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

I made the following pattern alterations to both versions of this dress:

* 3" Deep Bust Adjustment (DBA) to add length only over the bust (DBA tutorial)
* Lengthened sleeves to 3/4 length for the sake of practicality
* Shortened midriff band by 1.5" (I felt that the midriff band on my Tiramisu dress was too tall; the Red Velvet midriff is a similar height.)
* Shortened skirt by 2" (I'm 5'2".)
* Trimmed neckline by 1/2" depth to create a more open neckline
* Opted to self-fabric bind the neckline rather than to use the included facing (A lot of people who did the facing struggled with it; if you want to go the "easy" route with this dress, go with binding the neckline.)
* Converted bust release pleats to darts (I didn't care for the look of the release pleats on some of the larger busted sewists who made the dress before me. Those who used darts had less of a "Look at my nips!" effect.)
* Added the side seam pockets from my Tiramisu dress
* Opted not to use the hidden "invisible zipper" pocket

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

I would sew it again if I find a fabric that I like for it. I would like another one of these in a solid color and/or maybe a color-blocked version.

I do recommend this pattern to others, but look through the flickr group to identify which fitting issues might apply to your figure type, and use your judgment about design changes that you might want to make.

The pattern DOES produce a nice, versatile dress that can be dressed up or down.


Don't take my novel-length commentary as a negative review; I'm quite happy with both of my dresses. The black-and-white one has gone into my weekly rotation. I'm only looking to provide more info to folks looking to make this dress so that they'll be happy with the finished result.

More on my blog:

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12 Comments      Login to Add a Comment
Debbie Cook said...
Your dresses look great! The print is my fav ... but then I'm a sucker for prints so they always grab my attention first. As the host of the unfortunate trainwreck, I think my final verdict of the finished dress itself was lost in the derailing ... I do like my finished dress and, as you found, the pattern works fine with the same modifications you mention. At some point, I'll pull out the pattern again and make another. (Love your hands/rings photo too ... so romantic!)
12/11/13 6:29 PM
MrsCharisma said...
Very cute dresses! Glad you persevered on the pattern. It looks great on you. And, OMG the ITY is gorgeous!
12/11/13 9:58 PM
SewLibra said...
Nice dresses! I particulary love the black and white print.
12/12/13 0:34 AM
3HoursPast said...
Great review, Michelle! :) I think you're right about choosing to use the techniques that feel best for you in your sewing room, absolutely. As for converting the bodice to a connect-the-dots similar to Espresso, that's an excellent idea. I tried, dear me, I tried. I have an idea for another way to approach it but the sticking point is usually the pleats, and also the sheer variety of bust sizes and volumes and spacing. I figured I'd need four or five "dot points" at least, and it's troublesome to present it in a clear and non-scary way. So I opted instead to write in comprehensive fit help. I hope that doesn't come off as defensive or anything, I just wanted to mention, especially since I'm finding it impossible to find time to simply write about these kinds of things... :) Love your dresses, beautiful work, and thanks for sewing along! :)
12/12/13 0:44 AM
sandra17 said...
Really helpful review Michelle - I've been looking out for this review from you! Lovely dresses.
12/12/13 4:19 AM
Rebecca D said...
Thanks for such a thorough review. Love both dresses.
12/12/13 6:46 AM
Baja Susana said...
Very nice reviews. I have Tiramisu, and haven't yet opened the envelope. The Red Velvet looks nice in you, and like several others, I like the print. But the binding on the striped dress caught my eye. Nice work.
12/12/13 7:43 AM
Mufffet said...
Very nicely done! Love that print!
12/12/13 10:57 AM
sewtime said...
Your dress is cute!
12/12/13 11:40 AM
The Dreamstress said...
Great dress, and GREAT review! I think we really have to be realistic that almost no pattern is going to fit the majority of women right out of the packet, and everyone has preferences in how they like to sew.
12/15/13 6:03 PM
Heatherrique said...
Sleek looking dresses on you, Michelle!
12/15/13 10:25 PM
MNBarb said...
Both prints work for this well-fitted dress. Nice work!
1/24/14 9:03 PM
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