Closet Case Pattern Fiona

I’ve been begging Heather to let me be a pattern tester for ages, and I’m so excited that I’m finally on the list! It’s a small way I can support the indie designers that I love, and in this case, I also knew testing for Closet Case Patterns would stretch my skill set!

BEHOLD: NOT A KNIT DRESS!

Closet Case Pattern Jenny Dress

A fitted woven! WITH BUTTONS!!!! Who am I???

Fiona is a sun dress with several options of lengths and back views. I sewed something between the mini and the knee length, with the (mostly) bra-covering straps. I want this to be an in-depth review because I think this pattern is more curve-friendly than you might think at first glance at the promo shots!

Closet Case Pattern Jenny Dress

The pattern is designed for a medium-weight woven. The recommended fabrics don’t mention stretch, but I chose a denim with 10% stretch, because who wouldn’t want their fitted dress to stretch when they move? I’m sewing a woven, but I’m still me! 😉 I didn’t adjust the bodice length at all, because I have a normal-height back on very short legs!

Closet Case Pattern Jenny Dress

Let’s talk measurements, shall we? I’m currently 43/38/49, which puts me just under size 18 at the bust, and just over size 20 at the hips. I sewed an 18/20+4″ ease at the hips, because I wanted plenty of room to sit.

DSC_2533.jpg

Here’s how that worked IRL: room for a whole other boob in that bodice! (Btw, I make a habit never to smile in my testing photos that I submit – I think a smile distracts too much from the clothes and fit issues!)

After submitting my tester photos, I literally cut off the side seam down to bust level, and resewed it, making the circumference about 3″ smaller total. I had to cut the seam out because the top was finished with a double layered facing, and with all the seams it was just to think to take in. When i matched the front and back together again, the curve in the front meant that the facing didn’t match up… so as you can see in the picture below, I slightly gathered the front vertically at the side seam, until it matched the back! I can’t imagine anyone will ever notice.

Closet Case Pattern Jenny Dress

Two downsides to my slapdash process though:

  1. The bodice is now a smidge to tight, and still the neckline gaps when I slouch and learn forward! (I’m sorry, I just slouch a lot!) That makes this a funtime dress, not work appropriate.
  2. When I brought the side seams in, that brought the straps closer to the sideseams, and now they don’t stay put as well as they did at first!

For those reasons, this just might become a slim-fitting skirt instead! Next time I might sew the bodice a bit looser, and layer it over a tee like an overall dress.

Closet Case Pattern Jenny Dress

Another thing to consider as a curvy girl is that I found it challenging to find a bra that didn’t show in front, and all my bras show in the back! bigger bras just have more height. If I wanted to wear it often as a sundress, I might sew a bralette/camisole that fit snugly underneath but stayed hidden.

However, can we take a minute to admire the fit on the skirt? That’s not bad for a muslin! Closet Case Pattern always work well for my curvy hips, and this was no exception.

Closet Case Pattern Jenny Dress

As a tester, you always want to think that your effort results in actual improvements to the pattern, and here I was really impressed. Heather added some additional ease to the 16-20 sizes, which was something I’d specifically suggested… she also lowered the bust apex a smidge, included wider seam allowances for fitting the bodice, and tweaked the order of construction so that hopefully it’s easier for you to adjust the fit of your dress than it was for me! All together, I think those changes will make this pattern really friendly to curvy folks size 20 and under. For those larger than size 20, perhaps people could suggest similar patterns in larger size ranges in the comments?

I’m so happy that testing gave me a push to try this dress, and to try sewing buttons! I’ve avoid buttons for years, but with some advice from sewing friends, it all went smoothly! Oddly, doing it as a tester project made me feel less pressure, because after all, the goal is to show how the pattern works, not to come out with the perfect garment. This dress is good but not perfect, but it’s still a success in my book!


32 thoughts on “Closet Case Pattern Fiona

  1. I’m trying really hard not to jump on every indie bandwagon (cough York Pinafore cough) since my sewing time is no longer consumed with Fabricland projects, but patterns like this make it really hard!!!! I love it on you and I think stretch denim was a great idea. Gorgeous!!!

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  2. Thanks for the thorough review! I think you came out of testing with a pretty nice sundress.

    This is going to sound negative (and I guess it kind of is), but it’s too bad that Heather didn’t include a view that can be worn with a bra. The higher back view is still too low for even most strapless bras. Another inch or inch-and-a-half higher would’ve made it workable for a lot more women, without distracting from the design.

    (And yes … WHO are you, with all those buttons/buttonholes? LOL!)

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    1. I’m wearing a bra with the dress in all these photos, and it works fine… but I did have to chose a bra that is more fashion and less everyday. My normal 36G bras come up quite high in front and back, and wouldn’t work. I did make sure that all my tester photos were in a white bra so she could see what was showing! 😉 I agree that an inch higher in the back and under the arms would aloow more undergarment options for large-cup ladies!

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  3. I think your Fiona is in this stretch denim is lovely! I agree that making it bigger to accommodate a tee (the tee could be even see-through – ie lace) and perhaps snaps down the front? It would make it more of a jumper… but what a gorgeous jumper! Thank you for this detailed post re this new pattern Gillian 🙂

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    1. You know, i’ve never sewn snaps! (Ok, that probably not a big surprised when I’m barely sewn buttons!) I’ve love to try them sometime!

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  4. I CANNOT wait to have a sewing room because I want to make this so badly. I used to have a dress in this style that I wore into the ground (and then my shape changed – but it might fit me again this year). I would love to be able to recreate it and you know my fave fabric is slightly stretchy denim. Thanks for these great deets.

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  5. So, have you considered adding some crossing straps in the back to help stabilize the straps that now won’t stay in place? Like the Webster? That dress is way too cute to cut down without some options. Or, could you add a little pop of color as an underlining, to mimic a T-shirt or camisole? Thanks for the review!

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    1. Thats an interesting idea! I wore it yesterday, and didn’t actually notice the straps falling down at all… I think the facing at the top of the bodice relaxed a bit with wear, and now the whole things sits better! Actually, it fits best of all braless, which is a very comfy option! 😉

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  6. Solid, fitted, and woven?! Whaaaaat? It does look good on you, even with that extra room in the top. I’ve been having a lot of trouble getting this dress out of my head since I saw it. There’s no way I’d finish one for this summer, since my slowness means I’ll have to start thinking fall sewing very soon, but maybe next year?

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    1. There is lots I like about the pattern! If there was some way to build some stretch into the back (like shirring?) then I think it would be even better!

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  7. A lovely dress on you and just the right thing for this week’s temps :).

    Btw, I usually do bra snaps to prevent dresses from shifting and I think very thin thread ones on the front straps would keep your bodice close to your body when bending over.

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    1. If you saw me in person, you’d see all the threads hanging off! 😂 I wasn’t being careful trimming as I sewed because I was thinking it was just a muslin!

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  8. I’m so freaking proud of you for choosing a woven! Your muslin looks so good on you. Now, will it be a go to TNT? I don’t think you have a woven TNT do you?! My dear, you looki beautiful. Thank you for sharing your spirit and sewing talent.

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    1. Thank you! 😊 I don’t know how many of these I need in my wardrobe, but I am noticing g wearing this one!

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  9. If I make this I may consider making a built in bra so that I can potentially have the backless one. Or if not that one then the one you have made. Just trying to think of ways to avoid bra straps showing and I haven’t fallen down the built in bra rabbit hole in a year so… might be good to go there again… There is a good tutorial on pattern review by Katina on how to do a strapless top that doesn’t need a bra – I did it for my wedding dress and it was the bomb! – I’m just not sure it would work for the back less version. But I may muslin that and see… Love your dress and it looks totally amazing on you!

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    1. Thank you! I did try wearing it braless, an that worked pretty well for me. Someone here had a good suggestion to make a little tank bralette, and that’s another good option!

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    2. Whoops – forgot to say that everyone’s bust is different, and a built in bra is an excellent idea! The backless version is gorgeous!

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  10. You could wear a tight fitting tank top under it and could always tack to straps to the tank and leave it to always wear with the dress!

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  11. I’ve loved this pattern ever since I first saw it but as a slightly curvy 65 year old I have been loving from a distance and not really thinking I’d sew it. Now I’m thinking that if I raised the back and the underarm slightly and made the straps just a tiny bit wider I could maybe wear it. It looks so cute on you! Congratulations on sewing something that isn’t a knit! You did a great job!

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  12. Oh. My. Gosh! You hit it out of the park Gillian! Your dress looks FABULOUS! And you really tackled a lot of technical stuff with this make!

    HOORAH….for being chosen to pattern test. I’m curious. I know you always say you’re a year behind with CC patterns. Would you have bought this one right away? I think that pattern testing can push you out of your comfort zone in such a GOOD way!

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    1. I would never have bought this, honestly! Fitted, woven, buttons, questionably bra friendly? But in truth I wouldn’t buy quite a number of the patterns I test – that’s part of the fun!

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