There is this really awesome trend happening right now, in the indie sewing community, where designers are trying to be more inclusive with their pattern sizing. The awesomeness of printing pdf files is that you can tape together an infinite amount of pages so we are not constrained to the size of paper that paper patterns are printed on. I personally am super excited about this, because when I first started sewing indie patterns I was at the highest size of almost everyone’s sizing. I felt like I had to squeeze into the pattern and I was pretty average sized for an American woman at the time. I knew there were lots of woman that would not be able to make the patterns work at all as drafted. I have since lost some weight and built some muscle due to health concerns and am a different shape than I was when I first started, but I still understand the importance of expanding the size ranges.
I have had the privilege to pattern test for Chalk and Notch on several patterns now, including the original Orchid Midi dress. I also got to test the update that added 3 more sizes and includes cup sizing! There probably still could be room to improve on the sizing options, but this is a step in the right direction!
Let me start by saying that I love Chalk and Notch’s overall vibe on their pattern collection, it combines feminine details with on trend functional clothing in a super great way. Sometimes, the amount of ruffles are kinda over the top for me. However, I always love the finished product on and wear all of my Chalk and Notch garments frequently. I personally am hoping that the Farrah Blouse and Dress is re-released soon. This is one of my favorite makes and probably the worst fitting one, especially in the bust. I think that cup sizing would have made a huge difference on this one for me. I have two black Farrah dresses, one of each version I need to photograph soon.
The very first garment I ever sewed was a knit dress made out of coral ponte when I was probably 12. It was for 4-H and it looked amazing on me. I have always thought that color was my personal best color. However, that dress looked terrible on the inside! I hand hemmed it with a blind stitch which was good, because if I had used a machine that hem line would have been all over the place! Looking back, I’m not sure how I managed to cut it so wonkey in the first place. Anyway, when Imagine Gnats had a sale on some coral rayon challis (sadly no longer available) I jumped at it and then saved it for almost a year waiting for the perfect thing to make with it.
The Orchid Midi dress was it! This fabric feels so luxurious on! And it flows beautifully. It also wrinkles easily. Full disclosure, once I finish sewing something, I will never iron it again. I hate ironing with a passion. So, please excuse the vast amount of wrinkles involved. This pattern has a cross over front, which I feel is flattering on almost everyone. The flutter sleeves are awesome and it has a flowey skirt with a front slit that is very feminine. It also has the option for long sleeves. I used the flutter sleeves on my original one and figured I might as well use the long sleeves on the updated one. I sewed them on and I hated it!
Then I did an Instagram search and found this version that Gabriela made, which is beautiful and simple, and I realized that I liked it better with the sleeves pushed up slightly. However, after wearing it once, I knew I would like it better with those beautiful flutter sleeves, so I took the long sleeves off and put on the flutters.
I think it is the Spring-ish ness of the fabric. I think that in a darker, heavier fabric the long sleeves would be perfect! I will be sure to add that to my fall sewing list. This pattern will walk you through several complicated sewing skills in a very straightforward and and easy to follow manner. The instructions for the mitered corners are awesome! As well as being a great introduction to dart sewing. The front finishing with a bias cut strip is also pretty helpful for other projects. Also, this dress has pockets! (Which is a necessity in all dresses in my opinion.) You should note that I totally spaced when sewing the back and there are not supposed to be gathers all the way across, I just didn’t center them. But I kind of like it this way!
So, all in all, I love this pattern and this dress and will wear it a thousand times more and already have couple more envisioned for the future!