Pattern name: Skinny Bitch Curvy Chick (SBCC) Tai Dress
The Tai is designed for wovens, and is a sleeveless princess-seamed dress with back waist darts, flared pleated skirt, optional skirt lining and in-seam pockets. The neckline is finished with facing, while the armholes have a bias-faced finish. The Tai has two views, a scoop neck and a boat neck.
SBCC drafts for petites (5’4” tall and under). XXS – 3XL. Bust sizes 30″ to 53″. The main size chart includes only bust/waist/hip sizes, but each pattern has finished garment measurements, including body length and bodice length from high point of shoulder.
What size did you make?
I cut a 2XL at the shoulders and bust, out to a 3XL at the waist and skirt. For the back pieces, I cut a straight 2XL to accommodate my narrower back and a cheater FBA.
What are your measurements, height, and body type?
I am 5’4” tall, bust 51.5″, waist 47″, hips 58″. I wear a 40G bra size (UK measurements), and am very apple-shaped.
What adjustments did you make and how long did they take?
I made a toile in a cheap fabric (but fully lined!), and determined I needed a one inch narrow shoulder adjustment, slight lengthening of the front skirt to accommodate my belly, and raising the armscye about half an inch.
Because of my body type, I rarely require zips to get in and out of garments, so I eliminated the back zip, making it a pull-over dress.
What fabric did you use?
I have so far sewn five versions of the Tai. The first was a toile in a light cotton and fully lined, which fit reasonably well but discarded after it shrank too much on the vertical and was borderline indecent! The remaining four were made from a linen/rayon blend, cotton voile, a soft rayon, and silk dupioni. The pleats in the skirt make it perfect for fabrics with a stiffer handle for formal frocks. I used green silk dupioni to make a cocktail version, whereas my day versions from linens, cottons and rayons have a softer drape.
What was the construction process like? Did the instructions make sense to you?
Construction was fairly straightforward. Notches all matched, and the instructions were brief but sufficient. I’m a confident advanced beginner/intermediate seamstress, and had no issues. The instructions assume a basic level of garment sewing knowledge – there are no mentions of seam finishing, clipping, understitching and the like, which will affect the finish of the garment if these steps are omitted.
How do you like the pattern’s fit? Do you think the design works well for your particular body shape?
I’ve made the Tai five times, and am very happy with it! I think it is extremely friendly to a broad range of body shapes, including apple and rectangle shapes, which are an under-served market. The princess seams make adjusting the bust a cinch, and the pleated skirt adds volume without bulk at the waist.
Will you make the pattern again? If so, what fit or design changes will you make?
I have my fit tweaked to be pretty close to perfect on this dress. With four versions in my wardrobe, I’m not planning to make another one in the very near future, but it is a favourite pattern so I might pull it out again next summer.
Do you have any advice on this pattern for other curvy sewers? Are there any resources (blog posts, fitting books, tutorials) that helped you sew this piece up?
I used the SBCC PDF pattern, and found taping it together to be a bit of a trial – be careful when lining your pieces up. I suspect this is because I’m in Australia and use A4 rather than letter paper, though. SBCC also provides paper patterns if you prefer.
Pattern Rating (1-5, 5 being the highest):
Size Range: 4 – a broad range of sizes, busts 30 – 53 inches.
Instructions: 3 – instructions are brief but clear. Beginners will need to read carefully and be reasonably confident, and possibly consult a sewing book or tutorials.
Construction Process: 5 – pattern went together easily and quickly. All pieces correctly labelled.
Final Fit: 5 – I love the fit on this dress.
Overall Rating: 4.25 – I would recommend this to any petite plus seamstress looking for a frock that can be made for day or night. The instructions could be more detailed, but Betsy is upfront about this, recommending her patterns for intermediate or ‘adventurous’ beginners.