Hello Curvy Sewing Collective! Today I am reviewing Frau Alma, a retro-style dress by German indie label Hedi näht which translates Hedi Sews. If you’re looking for an easy sewing project, I might have the pattern for you. How about a dress, suitable for French terry or sweat fabric? Because #winteriscoming… Check out Frau Alma for women (there’s also a kid’s pattern named Alma). Frau Alma is 1 of 17 new German sewing patterns which have been translated to English by my friend Annika from Naeh-Connection. It comes with raglan sleeves and these cute little waist flaps.
Size range: The pattern comes in double sizes XS to XXL. I’ve sewn a XL. I normally wear a 16. XXL should equal 18/20.
My measurements: Height: 5’’ 9’, Bra: 39 DD or 40 D, depends, Bust 42″, Waist 37″, Hip 44″, Shape: hourglass.
Which view did I sew?: I sewed the original look, a dress with 3/4 raglan sleeves. The pattern is designed for thicker knits such as French terry or sweat fabric. You can also choose a jersey knit. In that case, don’t forget to downsize one (according to the designer). Please keep in mind that the thicker material helps to conceals the little bumps around your curves. I’m not a big fan of spandex/Spanx and I think we should make clothes that work without wearing these little helpers. Sewing this dress in a jersey knit might accentuate a “muffin top” or rolls.
Adjustments: The pattern is designed for busty girls. The fit is comfy and most women won’t have to do a FBA. If you need one, good news is that there are no darts. Yay for that! I changed three (little) things: First of all, I fused the front pieces (normally there are three: bodice, fake belt, skirt). That was easily done with two strips of tape on the pattern pieces. (As with most German patterns, Frau Alma has no seam allowance included). Secondly, I altered the neckline to make it a bit wider and lower. Third, I had the impression that the position of the two side flaps was originally too low for my taste, so I decided to move things up (about 1’’). The flaps start in the back (no, they don’t really start there, but it looks like they do). I had to shorten the upper back piece – and add some length to the lower back piece to get the old length of the dress.
Construction process: Patterns by Hedi Näht are famous for three things: only a couple of pattern pieces, no zips or button plackets involved, and a simple construction with a retro twist. Frau Alma is no exception to that rule. If you have a little experience with French Terry you can whip up the dress in two hours. There’s no need for a serger – but it helps to fasten things up. The instructions are clear and easy to understand; they include both pictures and explanations. It’s a really simple pattern, nothing complicated about it.
Fit: I’m tall and hourglass shaped, so, for me the fit is great. My wider than average shoulders get prettily minimized by the raglan sleeves. The faux belt pieces accentuate my waist, the A-line skirt conceals my wide hips and my tummy.
Will I make it again?: Sure, I already did! The second one is just waiting for its finishing touches! As I said before, it’s an easy and fast sew. Perfect for fall and winter.
Advice to others: The pattern is ideal for color blocking. As much as I love these options, you should be careful with this. There are alterations that do wonders for your figure, such are fusing the front pieces as I did. It’s best to make a little drawing with your colorblocking and alteration ideas before you cut into your fabric.
Size Range: 3
Final fit: 3
Overall rating: 3.5
I primarily give the pattern a 3.5 because it doesn’t have the widest size range. I think it’s a good pattern, but would be great if it came with more options or with other fun details. BUT: I love that it’s an easy sew and that it’s perfect for winter – and that it’s got that European (almost Scandinavian) touch. That’s rare and noteworthy.