|Can you NOT look at that midriff now that you've seen it?|
|Is that a pleat on your butt or are you just happy to see me?|
|That's a lot of skirt!|
Edited to add this link to the blog post where the owner of Cake Patterns responds to my review.
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 nicely drawn, 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.
|This would lay flat if the facing was trimmed back to the coverstitching|
|But for now, it has a mind of its own|
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.
|Midriff (bottom) 1/2" shorter than same size bodice seam|
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. I didn't hem the skirt or sleeves because I'm not keeping this dress, but I would hem the sleeves in the round and not interface the hem. The pics above show the skirt unhemmed, but I did an a just-in-case inch when cutting, which I did need for a nice hem width.
|How a dart/tuck should be trued|
|The incredible morphing front bodice piece|
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'm doggedly determined not 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 post on the blog and update my review on PR. 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.