I’m Karen and I live in Germany. I started sewing two years ago and if you had asked me back then if I could imagine sewing my own jeans or my own bra and that they would actually fit me better than any store-bought clothes I would have answered with a firm NO!
Today I’m reviewing the Valene top by French company Mouna Sew. The top features a ruffle around the neckline and comes in four variations: You can sew a one-shouldered version with a strap or a regular shirt and you can choose between a broad ruffle or a slimmer ruffle. I’m not comfortable with showing too much shoulder so I made the regular shirt version without the strap and the broad ruffle.
Size range: This pattern ranges from European size 46 to 58 and goes from a bust of 104 cm to a bust of 137 cm.
What are your measurements, height, and body type?
My bust measurement is 115 cm, waist measurement is 100 cm, and my hips measure 130 cm. I am 169 cm tall. My body type is probably a pear shape.
What size did you make?
I made a size 52 and graded out to a 54 over the hips.
What adjustments did you make and how long did they take?
First thing I noticed about the pattern was a really long bust dart that seemed rather high. I’m an E cup; things in that area are no longer as perky as they used to be, and I don’t wear push-up bras so my bust apex is nowhere near the place where the original dart was pointing at. I lowered the dart and shortened it. It took me about half an hour.
What was the construction process like? Did the instructions make sense to you?
Good question. The instructions started pretty straightforward but when it came to sewing the French seam which I had never sewn before and the shoulder part I was confused. Luckily, there is a good video tutorial on Mouna Sew’s YouTube channel which I found helpful.
How do you like the pattern’s fit? Do you think the design works well for your particular body shape?
I admit that my first thought about this pattern was “Oh no, a pattern with a ruffle and a shoulder strap.” I never go without a bra so shoulder straps are just not my thing and I was not happy about the ruffle either. However, while putting the top together I fell in love with it. I used a 100% cotton fabric. Fabric requirements are 300 cm for the version B top in size 52 if the fabric is 140 cm wide but I only needed 200 cm.
I really like the fit, because the top is a loose fit without being too baggy.
Will you make the pattern again? If so, what fit or design changes will you make?
I will definitely make this pattern again but I have to work on that dart because I’m not 100% happy with it yet.
Do you have any advice on this pattern for other curvy sewers? Are there any resources that helped you sew this piece up?
For the French seam which closes the ruffle I referred to my trustworthy German Burda book about basic sewing. I found an excellent instruction on how to finish the armhole with bias tape so it is invisible on Bernina’s blog written by Bettina aka Stahlarbeit who has already written a few pattern reviews on this webpage so you might be familiar with her. Sorry that my resources are in German.
Size Range: 4.5
Construction Process: 4
Final Fit: 4
Overall Rating: 4
I’m a notoriously slow seamstress but even so I was able to complete this project in a few evenings. I think the pattern will work well for a lot of curvy seamstresses, apart from that bust dart which needs some tweaking. This top was made for hot summer days which are not too windy, as you can see in one of the pictures when a breeze was caught in the ruffle. For me, it was not love at first sight but wearing the top is fun, it makes me feel very feminine and I get lots of compliments. I think it’s a winner!