Hello everyone! Today I am very happy to share the first part of my walkthrough for the Fable Dress Pattern by Vesta Patterns! It’s a dirndl inspired dress, with POCKETS, for the modern and whimsical woman. I happen to love this pattern so much, I already have THREE versions. Two still need the very finishing touches but the dress I have dubbed the ‘woodsy dress’ has pictures and everything. Shall we take a look at how amazingly cute this dress is when finished?
This is meant as a more intermediate pattern so this walkthrough doesn’t have extreme detail but it will hopefully help illuminate some of the trickier aspects of the pattern, which for most people (and myself) that would be in part two with the skirt and pockets.
One of the interesting aspects of this dress is that the shapes are different. This is to focus more on getting better fitting patterns for real people rather than trying to fit the person to the pattern. This part can be a little tricky since it’s a different concept but don’t worry, we’ll get you through. First make sure you have your measurements. We’re going to focus on cup size and waist size. According to my straight measurements I should be an S shape size 2. However, after sewing up an S the cup is just all off. The A shape size 2 however is a perfect fit! If you’re not sure about cup size don’t fret it’s incredibly easy to figure out. Just measure your bust and underbust, subtract the difference, and you’re done! Here’s the basics of that:
1″ difference: A cup
And so on. According to my measurements (34″ bust, 30″ underbust ish) I am definitely more of an A than S shape, with the S shape size 2 being a 6 inch difference rather than the 4ish of the A shape. From there I went more with my waist size than bust measurements which put me at a size 2 with a 25″ waist. Take a close look at each shape’s approximate cup size and waist size to help you best determine your shape and size!
I’ve put together this printed PDF several times now and I haven’t had any major issues. Whitney has also made it so that you shouldn’t have to cut anything to get it to line up correctly and I certainly didn’t cut the paper before putting it together. Apparently that is a common step in printed patterns? I’ve never come across that before and it sounds like such a headache. Whitney has you covered though and has made this pattern as condensed (to save paper) as possible. I used swedish tracing paper to trace the pattern and was set to go from there!
Let’s talk really quick about fabric choices. This pattern is made for simple cotton, which is such a dream because you can really have fun with printed quilting cotton! My three dresses are made of totally different fabrics which is a whole other kind of wow. This implies a lack of restriction if you ask me. Go crazy! For one purple and floral dress, the purple fabric is this bottomweight poly blend I found on clearance at Hancock Fabrics, a good medium weight fabric. The floral fabric is a satin like poly blend, definitely a lighter weight. For the woodsy dress the green is a denim like bottomweight with a touch of spandex and the tree fabric is straight rayon. The brown is actually just a plain cotton. For the other purple and floral dress, I used all regular cotton. Really, the possibilities are endless!
The purple and floral bodice is self lined while the woodsy dress is lined with cotton. The interfacing is all cotton believe it or not! There are so many layers, especially with the front bodice, that special interfacing is not required. If I were you though I would definitely be wary of how well your waistband is interfaced. It will have a lot to support between the skirt, the large left pocket, and having hooks and eyes sewn onto it so it needs to be well interfaced. I noticed that my waistband on my woodsy dress needs to be better interfaced especially because the fabric is heavier, gathered rayon is quite weighty, and the waistband itself is thinner fabric. So please be conscious of that when choosing your fabrics and interfacing. With straight cotton I didn’t have any interfacing issues I noticed, the skirt doesn’t pull anything down and with essentially 3 waistband layers everything stays put.
Once you’ve washed and cut your fabric, you’ll be set to start. The bodice is actually quite simple to sew: attach interfacing pieces to the lining pieces, sew up the outer bodice pieces together, sew the lining pieces together, sew the lining to the bodice. That’s the super simplified version at least. How you want to line the upper half and sides of the bodice is up to you. You can sew them right sides together and understitch the neckline or just lay one on top of the other, sew together, and finish with bias tape. I happened to use bias tape for both versions of my dress because I happen to hate understitching with a passion! I will however be happy to make a complimentary walkthrough showing the former method with understitching if enough people would like. If your bodice fabric is stiff enough, you could just use the interfacing as regular facing and forgo the lining. That is a choice you’ll have to make yourself and of course you can always ask me if you’d like!
Let’s go into more detail on getting all of that accomplished though, starting with attaching the interfacing. The pattern instructions show you how everything lines up. I didn’t notice any issues with how things lined up and so it should fit perfectly. Here are my pictures of this step:
One thing that will depend on how you line the bodice is when and how you’ll turn in the front sections. If you are using bias tape to finish your seams, then sew your lining to your outer shell and then turn in the 1.5″ on the front panel. You can sew the lining to the outer shell up to the 1.5″ mark then turn them in separately as well if you’d like. I chose to do mine together! You can now do the buttonholes, or you can do those towards the end. Depending on how you’ve lined the bodice, you could also do the bias tape finishing on the neckline and armholes now instead of later. Sometimes it’s nice to not have so much ‘finishing’ work to do at the end of a project. Get that out of the way now to enjoy ‘faster’ results later!
Extra tip alert! Use topstitching to your advantage on this pattern. If you happen to have somewhat bulky fabric, like on my purple dress, you may want to topstitch the outer shell and lining together at the shoulder and front seams to help keep things where they should be. I did this on both of my dresses though really the woodsy one didn’t need it as much as the other one did.
Once you’ve got your bodice done, it is time for the waistband! Do some prep now by pressing up the bottom edge of the waistband pieces. This will make the later steps easier I promise! Also double check that your marks are all there and if you’re having a hard time keeping track (like I was) just make notes on the waistband. I wrote S.S. for side seams, B.F. for bodice front, and so on for the corresponding notches. Do whatever works for you to help you remember what goes where! Remember though that the longer end that wraps around will wrap around from the right to the left. I may or may not have accidentally sewed the waistband on backwards a time or two. I plead the fifth.
Stitch the waistband to the bodice, like a sandwich as it says in the instructions. Just make sure the long side goes to the right and extends past the bodice. Press everything nice and neat If you’d like to topstitch the waistband go ahead and do so!
That’s it for the first section of this so called sew-along, read here for the skirt and attaching the waistband to the skirt!