For some patterns, it’s love at first sight. For others, it’s a slow growth from friendship, to like-like, to love. And yet others, it takes someone to finally lift the veil off your eyes so you can see what you’ve been missing. The latter is how it was with La Sylphide by Papercut Patterns: I first discovered the NZ-based designer a year or so ago – I was extremely excited to find a NZ based designer, but somewhat disappointed with the patterns on offer – they were very… “fashion forward”, and modelled on extremely slim models; it was hard to extrapolate that onto my body, and my instinct was that they would look terrible.
When Kat and Mel made their first (and then second) versions, it made me have a really good look at the pattern. Fitted bodice, pussy bow neck tie, flared skirt, buttons… surely this is my perfect dress!
I bought the pattern along with a tricky stretch-viscose (wwhhhhyyyy) from The Fabric Store, and the rest is history. I’ve now made the pattern five times and have it just about perfect.
My first version in the navy viscose was tricky to make because of the fabric (it slid all over the place, having an almost satin-like finish) but not because of the pattern – I was amazed at how such a seemingly difficult pattern was actually easy to make up.
This was shortly followed by the blouse version, in a navy linen. Because the skirt wasn’t weighing it down, the waist ended up slightly too high. I’d also never worn peplums so I wasn’t sure if I liked it, but I was assured it looked great! I still think it’s maybe a bit too fru-fru for me, but I still wear it.
My next version was the blouse again, this time in a floral cotton. I found out just how little fabric this pattern needs, somehow eking it out of about 80cm of fabric. Because of yardage constrains I made it with kimono sleeves, which work really well – to do this I just laid my Afternoon Blouse pattern over top but it would be relatively easy to just extend the shoulders out if you didn’t already have a kimono sleeve pattern.
Again, it’s pretty OTT (flowers, peplum, bow) but I LOVE it. When I get around to it, I plan to put a hook and eye at the waist seam because it tends to pull there.
After admiring Johanna’s La Sylphide skirt for MONTHS, I finally decided to try it myself. I think the fabric is too thick and unsuited (a wool-lycra blend) and I don’t like this version… well, I like it, but I don’t like how I feel when I wear it.
My most recent version is my total favourite. I was in a bit of a sewing slump so this was perfect to get me out of it – a pattern I knew would fit well, in a lovely light-weight wool: perfect. I feel so put together and classy in this dress!
TNT Pattern Details:
Sizing: XXS-XL. The XL corresponds to a measurement of 112-92-118cm or 44-36 1/2-46 1/2 inches.
What size did you make? Size S at the shoulders, size M bust and waist, XL hips. For reference my measurements are 40-32-47 and I’m 178cm tall.
What adjustments did you make?
- Lengthened the skirt significantly, the original skirt piece is INCREDIBLY short and wouldn’t have even covered my bum as is. My woolen version has a length of 70cm from waist to cut hem.
- I also moved the shoulder seam back by 1cm as it sat too far forward on me (?intentional, this has happened to a few people).
- For my first few versions I used my own sleeve piece, which I’ve since lost (sob) so my woolen version used the pattern’s piece which is VERY narrow, be aware!
Fabric and Notions required: About 2m of fabric for the full length dress, maybe 1-1.3m for the dress. Buttons, strips of interfacing for the button band, and thread.
Curvy Rating (1-5): 3.4 – I love this dress and it works really well for pear shapes, but it’s brought down by its limited size range, crazy short skirt, and extremely narrow sleeves