This post is long and picture heavy. Also, the link to the pattern is affiliated, meaning I will get a share of the revenue should you chose to buy the pattern using the links I provide. However, the opinions are all my own!
Last week was busy! One of the things that I had on the go was this gorgeous Sirena Dress by Itch to Stitch. I saw a call for pattern testers on Facebook and when I saw the technical drawing of the dress I decided I really wanted to test it.
The dress has so much to offer! I am a list person as you probably already figured out, so here is the list of all the features the dress has:
- It is a clean line, classic dress with an A-line skirt and elbow length sleeve
- The sleeve has two options – you can have cuffed sleeve or a bell sleeve
- There is a center front seam which has topstitching on each side, it also provides for interesting color blocking potential
- The dress has a lot of darts! The darts, together with extra seaming make fitting process a lot easier and provide for a really nice fit
- The dress can also be lined and the pattern has separate lining pattern pieces for the bodice, which I love! The skirt pieces are the same for lining and fashion fabric
- There is also an option for exposed zipper or an invisible zipper
- It has pockets!!
- Front bodice comes in different cup sizes! I’ve never sewn with a pattern like that before and it was a very pleasant experience
I’ve never sewn with Kennis’ patterns before, although I do own a few, and I was itching to give them a try (ha! cheesy reference!). Oh boy, I was very pleasantly surprised. The patterns are so well drafted!! I was very impressed. Kennis was also a pleasure to work with. She was patient and if you are open to feedback, she will guide you through the necessary adjustments that she thinks are needed based on your muslin. I think this alone is such a valuable experience and learning opportunity!
For my first muslin I chose to make size 8 for the bodice in B cup, graded down to size 4 in the waist and size 10 in the hips. I also made my standard adjustments – I added 1/2″ in the shoulder and lengthened the bodice by 1″. My muslin needed some work. I figured I still needed to make a broad shoulder adjustment and a sway back adjustment as well as take off the extra length in the back bodice only, my front was okay. There were some weird lines at the front but I more or less ignored them until Kennis pointed out that I should try going up a cup size. What?! C cup?! Whoa! Amazing! Another reason to love this dress.
For my second and final muslin I did the following:
- Size: Bust – 6C, waist – 4, hip – 10. Grading between sizes was easy. As the pattern is tiled and you can print out only the sizes you need
- I did a Broad Back Adjustment adding 1/4″ to the back
- Added a total of 1/2″ to the shoulder length
- Lengthened the front bodice by 1″ at the center front, and 1/2″ at the side seams
- Added 1/2″ at the side of the back bodice and trued the seam to the original back waist seam
- Took out 1/2″ at the waist of center back seam to accommodate for sway back
It may sound like there were quite a few adjustments, but it is all my body specification and the adjustments I usually have to make. As I’ve said before, I am built like a swimmer, although I can not swim for the life of me.
After my second muslin fit like a charm off the bat, I proceeded to cut into my fashion fabric. I chose this very feminine pink suiting. It is 100% polyester and is from the same line as the suiting I used for my Lexi Dress and Dropped Waist Laurel Dress. As I’ve mentioned before, I did buy quite a bit of it in different colors… I think I still have some beige left in my stash. In hindsight, I think I should have lined the dress as it is quite close fitting and the suiting is very light. So with movement, every fold and line shows.
Originally I signed up to test a cuffed sleeve option, but after cutting into my fabric and trying the dress on without the sleeves, I realized that a bell sleeve would look better. The bell part of the sleeve is lined, even in unlined option, so that the hem has a clean finish. I chose to line it in scrap fabric I had leftover. The color matched the suiting very well and the fabric was light enough not to weigh my bell sleeves down.
I made the dress exactly as per instructions. Speaking of which, the instructions are VERY thorough! I also topstitched the dress as it was intended to be:
All the darts on the bodice and skirt aligned easily and beautifully! I love when aligning seams and darts is not an issue. To me it says the pattern was drafted well.
The neckline is finished with a bias tape, which is my favorite finish. I do not like fiddling with facings after the dress has been washed.
The only thing I did differently was I did blind hem as opposed to topstitched hem. I thought the style of my final dress was asking for a blind hem so I went for that. But I am sure with a different fabric choice topstitched hem is a beautiful option.
I have to mention that I did not lengthen the sleeves or the length of the skirt. I think the dress is meant to be longer and the sleeves are supposed to go just below the elbows. Well… I am 5’10” and the sleeves and skirt look a little shorter on me. If you like the look and you are shorter than me, you may want to shorten sleeves and skirt panels. Or if you want them longer and you are shorter than me, just leave them as is. They likely will look different on you. Thankfully there are lengthen-shorten lines on the pattern to make it easier.
I feel very feminine and classy in this dress. I think it is very work appropriate, and at the same time it is suitable for other formal events. I can see myself wearing it to a winter wedding or some kind of reception. If only my life was glamorous enough and contained fancy receptions… Nonetheless, I already have plans to make another version of this dress in the future. I am thinking may be cuffed sleeves this time!
The pattern was released today and you can get it here. It is 20% off right now until May 18th 🙂