Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Laneway Dress - An Honest Review.

Well today is something a little bit different from me, a review of a pattern.

Back in early June Jennifer Lauren Handmade released the Laneway dress and  I thought, yes I really like that! It had three sets of  interesting elements that I was drawn to. The underbust pleats reminded me of the Anna Dress from ByHandLondon, which I hadn't made at that point and K4097 by quick sew which I had! The collar which is very similar to the Rooibos dress by Colette which I have made here. But most importantly it had sleeves which reminded me of the glorious Anna Hack by the very talented Lynne at Ozzy Blackbeard.

Anyway at the end of July Jennifer put a request up for honest reviewers for her Laneway dress and she specified non gushing. My first thought was how refreshing, because like many others I read reviews of  the independent patterns and without fail they gush. They fail to mention the length of bodices and the lack of pattern markings. As a general rule they don't tell you much about the pattern at all just about how much they love their new garment. Don't get me wrong I can understand why, I mean if you are given a free pattern, you are going to want to be chosen the next time too....Not me I rarely gush. So I  excitedly signed up and sadly wasn't successful.

Never mind I have birthday money and some beautiful new fabric that my clever husband bought me from Seasalt fabrics ( definitely worth checking out). So I bought it! The initial download cost just over £10.00 which is slightly more expensive than many of the  English independent companies. I then sent the copy shop version out to NetPrinters. That cost another £5.00 as the different cup sizes (B,C & D) were all in the same file ( Jennifer has said she will look into this) and then I printed out 15 pages of instructions which makes this the most expensive pattern that I have ever bought!

The first hurdle when making your dress is choosing the size and I have to say that I found this incredibly stressful to the point I almost jacked in! There are good instruction on how to decide on your cup size but after that it is a bit like pot luck as to what you are supposed to do with them. My bust came out at 91.5 and should of been a C cup which as far as I could work out would put me in the size 12 but the closet measurement was a size 12 B cup and then when it was finished it would add another 5 cm all the way round. so I took a deep breath and decided to make  the size 10 C cup.

Having said that the illustrations are incredibly detailed and the rest of the step by step instructions are articulate and easy to follow. Jennifer shares tips that I have never seen in any other pattern ( all of which would be very useful if you were new to sewing). She includes a glossary which again is very helpful, although the words "see glossary" in places might be good .

The pattern is very well drafted and all fits together really well ,

the collar was a dream to fit together, (so much easier than the Rooibos for which I still have nightmares about) my only gripe was the pattern markings, there aren't very many .

It would of been really good if the notches were a bit more visible. I think a lot of the indie companies use the same software, but the darker triangles  that you find from big companies are so much easier to trace (these must be virtually impossible for the partially sighted) . Also, although there is information about how to lengthen the pattern, the actual pattern doesn't have a "lengthen here" line, that would be nice.

So the fit you ask, well the size 10 is a very good fit in the back, waist and sides, however I didn't need the C cup. Wearing the bra that I measured in it was very baggy around the boobs ( not a good look)  I ended up lengthening the pleats and with a padded bra it is still a bit baggy but looks pretty good !

Did I make it exactly as the pattern? No I didn't add interfacing as the facing fabric that I used was a lot stiffer than the fabric for the dress I omitted the pockets as my fabric is too fine to withstand that kind of strain an I also lined the skirt for modesty as my fabric is very sheer!

Would I make this again? Yes ( although in a smaller cup size)
The instructions were very clear as were the diagrams and I didn't have to re read anything.
It was a quick easy make and  I really love the finished product. it is feminine and could be dressed up or down. There are also two other necklines to choose from so you are fairly spoilt for choice . I really  fancy a wool one for winter, maybe with piping.

Was it difficult? No although it specifies intermediate sewer, a brave beginner could take this on as the only fiddly bit is the zip.

Would I recommend it? Yes although it is quite a pricey download, the quality of the instructions and tips makes it worth while for both beginners and intermediate sewers.You also have a couple of different necklines to choose from which means you definitely get value for money.

So that is my review . Did you find it helpful? Will you make it? Let me know!

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