I have said before that I don’t use very many Indie patterns, but there are exceptions to that and I have a great one to share with you today! It’s interesting to watch the pattern industry change. The higher prices of the pattern sales at JoAnn has spurred a ton of discussion lately in the sewing community. I’m not necessarily surprised at the price change, and I also think maybe buying fewer patterns at a time could be a good exercise in restraint and planning for many of us.
I have long refused to plan my life around the JoAnn sales, so I often order patterns directly from the company during the online sales, when the Big 4 puts them on sale for $3.99. Now that JoAnn is raising the prices and lessening the frequency of pattern sales, I may be more willing to purchase more good Indie patterns. I’ve become somewhat of a pattern minimalist anyway, so paying more for well-done patterns doesn’t bother me.
That said, it’s risky trying new Indie patterns! I have not had good experiences with a few of the most popular Indie designs out there, so I’m gun shy about the whole thing. BUT, my girls are dancing in the Nutcracker and the Grinch in November and I really wanted to make a new dress for these events out of a nice rayon crepe my mom recently gave me. I didn’t have a pattern in my stash that sung to me, so when I saw this pattern on Instagram, my heart was set on it pretty much immediately (I bought it that very day, very impulsive for me).
This dress is called the Pleiades 2 and it’s by Blandine of French Poetry Patterns. For some reason my Mac does not want to open the French website, so I can’t link it, but my phone opens it no problem, so I purchased it that way. She does have the instructions and everything in English, so I didn’t have any issues with that.
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I did make a muslin before cutting into my fabric, but the dress fit perfectly, I didn’t have to make any fit alterations. She calls this sleeve a “lantern sleeve” and I think it’s such a beautiful touch! The other option is a tied sleeve, which is also great, I look forward to trying those next time. The neckline is slightly low for say, a church dress, but for the Nutcracker, it’s fine. I do think she has since raised the neckline on the pattern slightly after listening to feedback, so make a note of that it you purchase this pattern.
Not only did my dress turn out perfectly, I learned a new technique for gape-free necklines! If you’re like me you always worry about gaping necklines when your neckline is cut on the bias. Of course we always stay stitch, but oftentimes this isn’t enough. This pattern calls for a strip on interfacing along the neckline instead. I tried this technique and it really did increase the stability a ton more than stay stitching! I know this because I lined my bodice and while I used the interfacing on the outside piece, I only stay stitched the lining. The lining was still stretched quite a bit more than the interfaced piece and I had to ease it onto the front piece!
I will use the interfacing technique to prevent my bias necklines from gaping from now on. Did you already know about this technique??
Another thing I loved about sewing this pattern is that the skirt has shaping. I think the reason many empire waist dresses look maternity is because the skirt seams are all straight, without any contouring. These skirt pieces, however, are all individually curved in certain ways to give a nice shape to the lower half of the body. There is a front and back seam as well, which aides in this shaping.
I will definitely be making this dress again. I’m very excited to wear it to the Nutcracker with black tights and boots, but I think it will be great in all seasons. I have my eye on a few other patterns from this company too, since I had such a great experience!
Are there any Indie pattern companies you really love that I may not have heard of? Please do tell!