This is probably the prettiest thing I’ve ever made.
Behold, my Fibre Mood Agatha. I can’t get over how beautiful it is.
There’s a lot I love about the design of the dress. The curved waistband which rises to meet the V of the plunge neckline. The fact that the waistband is doubled, such that it provides a nice bit of structure around the waist to support the weight of the skirt. The floaty, breezy quality of the sleeves due to their being semicircles – and the way the hem of the sleeve lines up with the waistband. And that plunging neckline! I worried it might be too revealing for me, but I think it’s perfectly tasteful and just a bit flirty.
The fabric is some sort of synthetic jersey – I thought it was rayon at first, but it has a springy sponginess to it that reminds me of a scuba or swimsuiting, so perhaps it’s poly. It’s very soft and slinky, and has a good weight to it that gives it a superb drape. I bought it from Gillies in York with the intention of making some pyjamas out of it. Can you imagine if I’d wasted this gorgeous fabric on pyjamas!
It does have a directional print, and this pattern technically shouldn’t be made with a directional print, because some of the skirt is on the bias and the back of the sleeves are upside down. But I don’t really care – I think the print is abstract enough that you would need to look closely to recognise that they are palm trees. I’m OK with it.
I found the fabric a little bit tricky to work with, as it was both slippery and weighty so it had a tendency to slide around. But I feel like my skills at grappling with fabrics like this have come a long way, so I although I had to put a bit more effort in (i.e. more pins), I never got frustrated with it or felt out of control. Just takes practice, like everything else.
I must say I’m not crazy about Fibre Mood’s pattern instructions. They leave you to fend for yourself a bit, so I wouldn’t call them beginner-friendly. For instance, the edge of the front bodice needs to be interfaced, but there is no pattern piece for that interfacing, nor is there an explicit instruction to apply it. There’s just a note next to one of the diagrams stating factually that the highlighted yellow section is interfaced.
I also got a little confused when attaching the sleeves, as mine didn’t match up to the bodice in the same way the diagram suggested – it wanted a 1cm seam allowance left on either side of the sleeve, but my sleeve consumed the full space, i.e. it was 1cm too long on each side. After a while, I realised that this was because the instructions gave two options for finishing the sleeve hem – either a rolled hem, or a 1cm standard hem – and my choice of rolled hem meant that only 0.2cm of the 1cm hem allowance was actually used. I wonder if they intended for that 1cm hem allowance to be trimmed when doing the rolled hem – but if so, it was not made clear at all. Never mind. I just sort of fudged it a bit under the arm, but I did it the same on both sides so who cares.
One final gripe about the pattern is that the skirt piece is printed in full. Yet it’s symmetrical! What a huge waste of paper and printing/taping time. I actually folded the pattern piece in half and cut my skirts on the fold anyway.
For what it’s worth, I managed to cut size 36 out of 2.5m of fabric, despite the pattern saying it needed 3m.
But. Please put all that aside. It’s all worth it. My complaints about the pattern are insignificant in comparison to how much I adore the final dress. I did enjoy sewing it, and even with the sleeve confusion it didn’t take all that long to put it together. It’s quite a straightforward sew – and creates a garment with a really stunning effect.
I feel ~fancy~!