Monday, June 2, 2014

Perfect Pattern Parcel #3: April Rhodes Staple Dress

Good afternoon, lovely ones! Have you heard the news yet? Perfect Pattern Parcel is back with their third bundle of patterns. Woohoo! As you may know, Perfect Pattern Parcel is an initiative that bundles hand-picked, independently designed patterns for two weeks only. Not only do you choose your own price for the bundle, but all post-cost profit goes toward Donors Choose, a charity which matches up the needs of educators with supportive donors. From the last two bundles combined, Perfect Pattern Parcel has raised almost $4,500 for educational charity! Impressive, right?

This time around, PPP has upped their game. Not only are there five lovely patterns bundled together, but there's a special never-before-released bonus pattern that is unlocked for all donations of $28 or more. The lineup is fantastic, y'all: 

Pattern Parcel #3
As part of the Parcel #3 Inspiration Tour, participating bloggers were asked to make up one of these awesome patterns. For this particular stop, I chose the Staple Dress by April Rhodes, a cute, casual basic that I've long had my eye on. My go-to summer uniform is a comfortable cotton dress that can be easily layered, which sums up the Staple dress perfectly. It's a simple, beginner-friendly dress: two main pattern pieces, kimono sleeves, a shirred waistline for fit, and a bias bound finish. For an experienced sewist, this is about as relaxing a project as it gets!

Even better? The Staple works for obscenely narrow fabric, like this vintage yellow cotton from my stash. When the 2.5 yards were cut on the fold, I just snuck out all the necessary pieces for this dress, a feat that not even Colette's Laurel could accomplish! 

If we're being honest here, I probably should have used a more colorful fabric for this project. With my untanned, dissertation-induced pallor, this mustard floral does me no favors, but...I adore it, y'all. Love is blind! (Probably from looking at my legs) Yellow, especially the earthy, darker side of its spectrum, has long been my favorite color. Add in a line-drawn cream floral on top of that? I never stood a chance against this fabric. Finding a pattern that could finally make full use of it was such a happy circumstance. Perhaps, despite my crazed sunscreen routine and indoor schedule, I will tan this summer and be able to pull it off better? Anything can happen. 

Or not. I still love it! 

I would be lying if I claimed not be hesitant about the Staple's lack of traditional shaping. For those with hourglass figures or prominent bustlines, it's all too easy to be lost in a sea of fabric, when clothes aren't well structured. There is a reason I make so many fit-and-flare dresses, after all. 

Honestly, I needn't have worried. Not only is the Staple cleverly designed--with natural waist curves and a cute A-line skirt--but the shirring does wonders for its shape. It's a blousy look, of course, but one that fits with the relaxed feeling of a summer's afternoon. The kimono sleeves give a great range of movement and the shirred waistline moves really well with my body. Simplicity of design works wonderfully in this dress. 

This is the perfect pattern for running errands or going on a picnic, while staying cool and comfortable. Can't you just imagine it made up in a cozy, breathable linen? I'm having romantic visions of Kathleen Turner in Romancing the Stone...without all the gunfire.  

As for the Staple's construction itself, this was one of the easiest projects I've ever sewn. Though the pattern calls for French seams at the shoulders, I opted to serge all the seams, which also made it an extraordinarily quick project. Cut-to-hem, this dress took about 2 hours to put together. Woohoo!

The neckline and the sleeves are finished with what's called a facing, but is actually just self-fabric bias tape. Instead of turning those "facings" to the inside as instructed, I turned them to the outside, in an exposed bias finish. For such a heavy floral, anything to delineate the edges is a good idea. I considered using a different color, but neither cream nor the brown of the floral lines really worked for me. Since the Staple dress is so layerable, I didn't want to give it a seasonal feel with the finish. This dress is going to be awesome with boots and tights!

When it came to fitting, the Staple's blousy cut was super forgiving. I used an XL, graded out just a little at the bustline, then back to the XL at the waist and hips. It worked beautifully. The resulting dress is loose, but not baggy. I could totally rescue my sister from Colombian jewel hunters in this dress! That's always a victory.

So, that's the Staple Dress! If you're a beginner, looking for an easy, satisfying dress to conquer, I can't recommend this pattern enough. I'm already planning another one, in a flowy blue rayon, which sounds ideal for this steamy Texas weather. 

If you are interested in the Staple Dress and all the other great patterns in Pattern Parcel #3, the sale will be on for another eleven days. Check out all the other great inspiration posts below, pick your price point, then get to sewing! Not only will you be supporting independent designers, but helping out education, as well. Is there any better excuse for new patterns? I think not. 

Parcel # 3 Inspiration Tour:

Friday, May 30 Sew Busy Lizzy || Pienkel || SeamstressErin

Saturday, May 31 Design By Lindsay || the Brodrick design studio || Cookin' and Craftin'

Sunday, June 1 Diary of a Chainstitcher || a happy stitch || Disaster in a Dress || sew Amy sew

Monday, June 2 Idle Fancy || Casa Crafty || Kadiddlehopper || Dandelion Drift

Tuesday, June 3 Our Family Four || Casa Crafty || Cookin' and Craftin' || a happy stitch

Wednesday, June 4 Lexi Made || The Quirky Peach || Stitched || a happy stitch || Casa Crafty ||

Thursday, June 5 verypurpleperson || Casa Crafty || sew a straight line || Sewbon

Friday, June 6 Shawnta Sews || Mama says sew || a happy stitch || Cookin' and Craftin'

Saturday, June 7 Casa Crafty || sewninestitches || 'So, Zo... What do you know?'

Sunday, June 8 oonaballoona || A Stitching Odyssey || Sew Charleston

Monday, June 9 Sew Sweetness || True Bias || Ozzy Blackbeard

Tuesday, June 10 Welcome to the Mouse House || Sew Caroline || Adventures in Dressmaking

Wednesday, June 11 Peneloping || YoSaMi || sewVery

Thursday, June 12 la inglesita || La Pantigana || Sanae Ishida

Friday, June 13 Seamster Sewing Patterns || Paunnet

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