Who likes free patterns? I certainly do! Especially when they fit amazingly well! I recently discovered House of Pinheiro, run by gorgeous Rachelle. What a treat! I love following her makes and I find them really inspirational. She has drafted a beautiful Brasilia Dress that is available on her website for free. It is one size pattern though, so if your measurements do not match hers, it will need alterations. It also doesn’t include seam allowances and neckline and armholes facing, but those are more or less easy to add.
I was absolutely lucky to have all my measurements match hers almost down to a centimeter! We are even roughly the same height! It was almost like trying a free pattern that was drafted specifically for me. Amazing! I find that being a tall girl (5’10”) I always have to adjust the patterns for my height and with this one I didn’t have to.
I decided to risk it and not to make a muslin first. Not because I was feeling adventurous but because I was being plain lazy. I figured I will use a patterned fabric and if I need to make alterations or make a mistake it will be more forgiving. Unfortunately the fabric choice also hides all the beautiful design details and very interesting Y shaped dart in the center front.
The pattern has minimal ease and calls for a stretch fabric. I chose this summery blue and white print stretch cotton. The dress construction was surprisingly very easy! It looks intimidating at first, especially since I’ve never constructed anything with a Y dart and I was concerned I may mess it up. But it all worked out. Once the Y darts were sewn and pressed it was straight forward to see what the next steps should be. The side panels were also a bit intimidating, but they came together without any issues. The dress construction took under a couple hours and fit like a glove right off the bat. I didn’t have to do any alterations to it! Nothing at all!!
I drafted my own facings to finish the neckline and armholes and I am pretty happy with how they turned out. I am definitely a fan of facing over bias binding on a dress, but that’s just my own opinion. May be it is also because it seems like it is less work, and as I stated above, I am lazy and I will always chose less work intensive method.
I am extremely happy with how the dress turned out! It fits amazingly well, it is not too snug, yet looks very form fitting. I have issues with tight skirts because, as one of our summer students at work put it, I “walk with intent”. So when I am constricted by a tight skirt it is apparently a lot harder to walk like you mean it… This dress though looks like it is tight, but it is not and I can purposefully walk to the printer and back in the office. Makes me more productive, or something.
I will absolutely make this dress again! I see it in myriad of versions – flowery cotton ones, pretty solid ones, heaver stretch suiting for winter. The side panels are just calling out to me to make them in contrasting fabric, or may be even layered with lace… Piping! See, variations are endless! I just have to pace myself so that I do not end up with 20 Brasilia Dresses in my wardrobe.
Finally, can we address my lack of posing abilities? I swear these are the best pictures of the bunch I took. And if these are the best, believe me, the rest of them were pretty bad. It must have been too early in the morning or I wasn’t just fully awake yet… But somehow especially in this one, I perfected a creepy stare and grin combo. It may seem like there was someone to the right of me distracting me, but no, I was alone starting and grinning creepily into space. I suppose I will get better at this.