Monday, December 8, 2014

Pattern Testing and Review: Muse Natalie


This is the pattern I mentioned I was testing, the latest offering from Muse, aka what is becoming my new favorite indie pattern company. Not because I received two patterns for "free" (quotes because testing isn't really free to me, or any tester, when you account for time, materials, etc. but I know that and volunteered with eyes wide open) but because I really like what I've seen and sewn from Muse so far. And I did buy the Jenna cardigan pattern with my own money so it's not all fluff and unicorns here. :-)

This dress is Natalie. Side note ... although I've heard/read grumblings around the interwebs about the practice among indies of naming patterns instead of or in addition to numbering them, I actually prefer the names. I can NEVER remember a pattern number (especially if they've been reissued), but I always remember the names. So names over numbers gets a thumbs-up from me and my forgetful brain every time. (You can also read about the inspiration for the Muse pattern names when you click over to the Muse site.)


This pattern testing cycle was pretty much like the last testing I did for Muse. I was given a preview of the pattern to see if I would be interested, along with a schedule of when to have my testing finished. No photos were required but I caught a nice day on a weekend after finishing the dress so I've had these waiting for this post. At first, I wasn't sure about this design for me and volunteered to only review the instructions, PDF print-out, cutting layout, and pattern pieces. But then, being the fickle sewist I am, I decided to just go for it, figuring nothing ventured, nothing gained. And I'm glad I did. I like the final dress a lot.


It's definitely a very feminine dress and my curves probably make it a little more so, but, hey, I've got curves. I have worn it to the office and while the vee is low, it's not work-inappropriate low. I also wore a black cardi over the dress in the office. Because office air conditioning.


The dress falls like an empire waist but wrong side out on Zillie below you can see that it's not really an empire at all. There's a triangle inset, gathering at bust and CF (optional at CF), and diagonal seaming down the front. The neckline is finished with a mitered attached band and was sized perfectly to fit the neck opening and lay flat on the body underneath. The back is cut on fold. Truthfully, I kind of wish there was some cool seaming at the back too and I contemplated adding at least a CB seam when sewing this, but laziness over pattern matching won over. And this print is cool/busy enough so any more seaming would've been lost anyway.


I cut a straight 44 with no adjustments except to square the shoulders (my usual) while cutting out the pattern.



It fits perfectly, no FBA needed due to the gathers and diagonal seams. For a next make of the dress, I will add 1-1/2" to the length because while the pattern is drafted for a 5'10" woman (yes!), it would have been shorter than my preference on my 5'5" self if I had hemmed it more than a smidge. So I cut a shaped hem facing instead. I could have just turned up a 3/8" hem but I prefer a deep hem on drapey knits so they have some weight. The sleeves, on the other hand, were much too long for me. I cut off about 2" and still hemmed them with a 1-1/2" turn-up. But that's to be expected if the fit model is 5'10", no? Better too long than too short anyway. The dress was cut out and sewn in one day. It's a fast project.

While testing, I noted some corrections and slight improvements to the pattern markings and cutting layout and I think every one of them was incorporated into the final. I thought the pre-release instructions were fine as-is, with no corrections needed, although other testers must have had suggestions since the release notes mention those changes being included too. This tells me that again Kat, the designer behind Muse, listened to her testers and adjusted her pattern and release schedule to make necessary changes. As a tester, it's gratifying to know that the testing does matter and we're not here for just a happy shiny blog tour to sell patterns.

I'll state it again, I was NOT asked to post this review or any photos. What I'm writing and showing here is by my own choice. I like the pattern and my final dress. If you like it too and want to buy it, that's your choice. I get nothing if you do, or if you don't.

Now if you do decide you're interested, the full sale price, less transaction fees, of all Natalie patterns sold during the first week of launch (December 8-14, 2014) will be donated to the Wellington branch of the Cats Protection League and you can get 15% off the Natalie pattern during launch week with the code NATALIE. A win for the kitties and a win for you.

I have a few projects running through my mind that I want to tackle soon so this will be it for me and pattern testing for a while. Stay tuned for my overly ambitious to-do list. ;-) I hope the sewjo holds up.



30 comments:

  1. I love this dress! It's super flattering. I love the V fabric placement in the front too. Cute pattern.

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  2. Very pretty .. and pretty on you! Thanks for all the details. I can see it changed up in color block fashion with the unique front triangle piece .. I do like that triangle feature.

    Joy

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  3. I love this dress! It's amazing on you. Based on your last 2 reviews I've bought both of the patterns. Now I just need more time to sew. Lovely, lovely dress! g

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  4. What a lovely dress! I might have to buy this before my pattern moratorium starts on January 1.

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  5. This is a very nice dress. The shape is very feminine and flattering and the fabric is lovely too. Very helpful review.

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  6. Very pretty dress, Debbie. I love blues on you. They really bring out your lovely coloring.

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  7. It looks great! I love how the fabric print worked out on the triangular inset! One thing I can't figure out... where and how do the ties attach?

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  8. Love the colors in your dress. Quite cheerful yet sophisticated. The dress looks good on you. Btw, I like names over numbers on patterns too.

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  9. I like it!! It looks really good on you and fit is just perfect!

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  10. Great use of the print with the pattern.

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  11. You rocked fabric choice and pattern placement on this dress! I really like the style of this dress, and can see myself wearing it. I love the patterns Muse is making, I just wish they would go just a size larger. Thankfully, I am pretty good at pattern adjustments.

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  12. Very pretty & flattering on you!

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  13. This is a gorgeous dress on you, Debbie! I love the way you positioned your print to make the most of that inset triangle piece. Thanks for showing the dress inside-out on your dress form, and for explaining about the deeper hem. I think I have to buy this pattern -- especially since you noted that you did not need to do a FBA or raise the neckline. Hopefully that means I won't have to, either. Thanks for yet another informative post -- I learn so much from you!

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  14. Gillian - I left off the ties ... no wonder you can't find them!

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  15. That dress looks great on you! I have to admit that when I saw that triangular inset and its placement, I wrote off this pattern as not being a good choice for a larger bust. I'm still skeptical that it would work on a giant bust like mine, but it's very flattering on you!

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  16. What a clever design. I want one! Also I was wondering if you were 'allowed' to make alterations while testing and you answered that. Great dress.

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  17. It's a flattering dress for a girl with curves. If the v neck were too low for the office, you could always layer a cami under it, as my daughters do. That practice solves a world of woes. It's great that you did a test of this pattern and it worked out so well.

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  18. Pretty dress and it looks good on pretty you.

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  19. I really appreciate the disclosure about your role in the pattern testing. Makes it sooo much easier to work out if the pattern is worth paying the $$$ asked for it.

    Anyway, a question: I absolutely LOVE this pattern! But when I looked at the sizing chart it said they're drafted for someone who is 5ft 10 inches. Yikes! I'm all of 5 foot 3 and a bit inches. Do you have any idea if this pattern would be feasible to fit on my short body?

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  20. Oh and by the way I think this dress and pattern look fantastic on you!

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  21. Woo hoo - I am 5'10 so this may be the dress for me. Looks great on you. Fab fabric.

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  22. Debbie, you look absolutely lovely! :) I also tested this pattern and just loved the flattering design. Unfortunately, my fabric betrayed me and the dress is sadly unwearable because of that. I plan on making up another version soon, though. I love how Kat listens to all of us and not only incorporates the feedback into that pattern, but also into future versions, too. It's really lovely testing for her. :)

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  23. Pretty dress Debbie, unusual colours for you they look great. Also got to say it I love your shoes!

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  24. It looks great on you. It really does look like an empire waist from the outside. Interesting design

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  25. More patterns for my stash///thank you :-) You look great in this very feminine dress.

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  26. Hubby says this dress is hot, so thanks for the discount code. Going to buy now!

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  27. Love this dress on you. I also love the fabric you chose and the colors are so pretty.

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  28. The kitties made me buy it. ;) I really do like this dress though. It looks great on you.

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  29. I like this pattern and the way the seaming is done at center front. Love the fabric and the shoes! As always most helpful info on the fitting and sizing of the patten.

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  30. Great review Debbie. Your dress is beautifully done and a real inspiration. Did you get my (Susanna Black) email about the Christmas exchange?

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Thank you for each and every comment. I appreciate them all, but I have to be honest and let you know that I'm usually bad about answering questions. I hope you understand that there just isn't enough time in the day to do everything I want to do.

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