The designer is a professional pattern maker, who worked in the fashion industry for a long time. That explains why her patterns are not only perfectly drafted, but why the instructions are extraordinarily clear and well written, as well. The Fringe Blouse & Dress is Chalk and Notch’s fourth women’s pattern so far. It’s nicely balanced between fitted around the bodice and flowy. It has that special 1990’s vibe going on. (Meg from Cookin’ and Crafting was the first to mention that and she is so right.)
Here are the basics about the pattern:
Size Range: 0-18 (18 equals 44’’ chest, 37’’ waist)
– blouse or midi dress length (find a tutorial for maxi length here)
– fake button placket or front facing
– with or without simple side pockets
– with short or middle length sleeves (cuffs with a sleeve tab)
– waist ties, which can be attached to the front or the back darts
My measurements: Height: 5’’9’, Bra: 40D, Bust 43’’, Waist 38’’, Hip 44’’, Shape: Hourglass
Which view did I sew?: As many of you probably already know, I’m a dress girl. I sewed up Version B with the sleeves of Version A.
Adjustments: After doing a wearable muslin of the bodice, I decided to move the bust darts down an inch, so that the dart point hit just below my bust point. That probably sounds pretty difficult, but it was easily done, again due to the nice instructions. As my torso is quite long, I also added an inch to the bodice length.
Construction process: Prepare all the pieces and don’t forget to cut out the fusible interfacing. When you follow the instructions everything comes together quite easily. That doesn’t mean the Fringe Dress is a fast sew, but it can become one when you sew not just one, but several (as I did). You can go with the fake button placket of view A or the fully blended front of view B. In both cases, this is probably the trickiest part. As long as you stick to instructions, you’re good–the rest is a cake walk. It’s darts, it’s gathering, sewing simple pockets and hemming. The sleeves are easy to sew since they are cuffed dolman sleeves, which don’t require easing in to an armscye.
Fit: I always study the drawings which come with a pattern first. It’s easier for me to decide if it suits my figure when I understand the construction principles. I have repeat issues when fitting my hourglass shape. Some people might not believe it, but yes, there are issues with my body type. When I buy RTW clothes, they often fit around the bust and the butt, but they tend to flap around my midsection. For this reason I wear belts quite often, or I do sway back adjustments, add darts and so on. The Fringe offers a solution to that: it already comes with darts. There are four in total, two under the bust and two at the back, regardless of the view. I’m not overly fond of sewing darts, but I sure love the effect they can have. Although the Fringe looks a bit boxy due to the dolman sleeves, it is fitted around the midsection. The waist ties also help to enhance the natural waist.
Advice to others: This might be a bit unpopular, but you absolutely should muslin to get the best result with the darts. Following the pattern’s advice, you’ll want to use a light woven such as Lawn, Challis, Double Gauze, Rayon etc. I do know that many sewers have quilting cotton in their stashes, but this is not the pattern to use them. I also will definitely do one version with a light knit. I’m almost positive that this might work out well.
Size range: 4. (Let me explain this: Although it only goes to 18 many sewers who wear a bigger size might still be able to fit into the garment. Especially if you have a pear shape, try the Fringe! It flows around the bottom without being an A-line dress. The designer wrote a little tutorial to alter the bodice if you are a bit above the size range there, which you can find in the Chalk & Notch Facebook group.)
Instructions: 5, they are (as always with Chalk&Notch) just the best!
Final fit: 5! This pattern is a winner.
Overall rating: 4.5 I love my Fringe so much!