Wednesday, May 30, 2018

FO: Yaletown Dress

This post could also be called: The Dress That Almost Wasn't or I Should've Known Better. I'm not usually one for wrap dresses or tops because they always gape like crazy on me in ready to wear, so I thought maybe it was just that they were not sewn for my body and that I could possibly wear this previously sworn off style if I just got the right pattern. Now I'm thinking I was right in the beginning, lol. I managed to make this wearable, but it's certainly not the most flattering thing on my body (hate that word all you want - if I feel something is unflattering, I will never wear it). So let's delve into this, shall we?
This is the Yaletown Dress by Sewaholic patterns. I saw it around the sewing web when it was first released and it seemed kind of hit or miss even then with who liked it and who didn't. Some people had it turn out great for them and others were not very happy. I filed all that info away and a while later (quite a while, actually) I came across a kit during a Craftsy sale that included the Yaletown physical pattern and 4 yards of poly crepe to sew it with for $28.78. This wasn't dirt cheap, but it was certainly a good value for what I got and I was interested in the pattern anyway, so I bought it. And then it sat in my stash for a few years, lol. I put this dress on my official Make 9 in 2018 list, so I decided this would be the year I finally made it up. I was trying to decide if I wanted to make it up in this fabric or another poly crepe as a muslin, and in the end I decided to just use this fabric and go for broke. Technically that makes this my most expensive muslin to date, lol.
I decided to go ahead and make some of my usual pattern adjustments to this before cutting out the fabric. I lengthened the bodice by 1.5" for my long torso, and since I fell outside the waist on the size chart I added 2.5" to the front bodice pieces. That seems like nothing now, but I was so stressed about the adjustments at the time. Once I was cut out and committed, I just started sewing it together. I managed to get it completely made except for the sleeves - tried it on - and felt like a dumpy mess :/ It was way too big, way too blousey, and very unflattering. Like really. I was so bummed. I was still determined to finish this, so I added the sleeves before I set it aside to muster up the courage to undo the entire waist (which was a self enclosed elastic waist - so that's 3 seams to undo) and side seams. I just couldn't move on and sew something else while this waited, so after almost a month of it haunting me I finally cut it all apart. I took out all the width I added at the side seams (so 2.5") and sewed that back together, then redid the waist. It doesn't sound like much to type it, but just the unpicking took an hour. I had to shorten the bodice by 5/8" because I accidentally picked a hole in the fabric, but I think that was for the best. This made things much more acceptable looking overall - I just had to deal with the drape next.
The pattern tells you to put a single button at the cross point in the neckline for security, but I didn't love that you would see a button there. I decided to sew on some snaps instead, but figuring out where to put them was a lot of trial and error. I can see now that the neckline goes lower than I wanted it to anyway, so it doesn't really like to sit right on me after pulling it up to where I wanted it to be. I didn't trust just that one snap to hold everything, and the drape was hanging funny anyway, so I added another snap under my boob (I'm touching both snaps in the above photo). After wearing this out in public, I definitely need to change to the button - I had 2 wardrobe malfunctions in church with the top snap coming undone *whoops*. So this will change sometime. But it made things at least wearable and the drape didn't stick out so much that it looked like I was storing fruit in there.
The fabric is a very nice quality poly crepe with lots of drape. I was a little worried (as I am with all polyester fabrics) that it would be too warm for Florida, but this is so drapey that it wasn't a problem and I was not hot at all. In fact I almost have a little issue with it feeling too light in the skirt - it feels like nothing on my body which makes me nervous. I like to feel a solid cloth covering my butt at all times, lol. I think I'll have to finally make a slip just so I don't feel like I'm going to expose myself all the time in my lighter weight dresses.
The pattern also includes a waist tie - which I lengthened by about 10 inches after reading other reviews saying it was short. To be honest I almost didn't make the tie. I completely forgot about it, did all my other fixes to the dress, and then while putting the pattern away I saw the fabric still pinned with it. I'm pretty sure I said, "Aw man..." in a whine in my sewing room. So I sat down and made the tie. I even forgot about the tie again when taking these pictures - I took all the pictures I would need for this post, then saw the tie sitting in my sewing room after I had already changed and put the camera away. I was not happy, lol, but I put the dress back on an retook the photos - thus why you see the belt in some pictures and not in others. With this fabric I don't think the tie is a necessity for the design anyway, but I do feel a bit more secure with it tied at my waist. It kind of keeps everything in place since my elastic is not super firm. After taking these pictures, I was putting the dress away I noticed that I forgot to sew the hole in the tie I left to turn it right side out, lol. That poor, unloved tie.
Here are the snaps up close. It was really a challenge to figure out where to put them. I sewed on the one at the neckline once, tired it on, then realized I needed to make it a 1/4" lower. So I picked it off and tried again. It still doesn't sit perfectly, but it's passable, so I left it.
Now if you're wondering why I felt this was unflattering, these side photos will show you. It's not bad from the front and back, but the sides aren't doing me any favors with all the blousey-ness. You can see how the snaps close up the gap at the drape though. Before I redid it, that whole area under my boob stuck out like a hammock. Because of the interfacing in the facing, the drape wants to pull away from the body. It also adds weight to pull it downward - thus looking like your own personal handfree shopping bag at your waist. When I tightened things up it definitely helped, but that snap below the boobs really was the fix.
Not as bad from this side, but still not great. I always try to accentuate my waist to avoid feeling like a big lego brick, and I tend to avoid gathered skirts to not make my hips look larger, but I thought that this thin fabric and the elastic waist would help with that. I was really happy with my Mayberry Dress, so I figured this would be the same. I think I shouldn't have added that extra length and it might have made it a little more to my taste.
I do love that this has pockets though :) Everything should have pockets! I also like the sleeves. Normally I steer away from anything called a "flutter sleeve", but this is more subtle and just a little roomy - the perfect combo. Also it's really not bad without the tie - the channel for the elastic is narrow so I don't feel like it's unsightly or anything. So I will probably wear it both ways.
So that's my dress that almost wasn't, lol. This one really fought me, but I'm glad I stuck with it and now have something to show for my time. I have already worn it and I think it will be a nice summer dress - nice enough for church, yet overall a more casual look, plus breezy enough for the excruciating heat that is fast approaching. I don't know that I will make this pattern again, but it was a good learning experience and a test in my determination :) Also I've finally made something on my make 9 list during the year I first committed to it! Woo hoo!

Fabric: 3 yards poly crepe - from Craftsy Kit
Pattern: Yaletown Dress by Sewaholic Patterns - $28.78 total from Craftsy Kit
Notions: Pellon SF101 interfacing - $0.50, navy thread - $2.00, 1 yard of 1/3" elastic - free,
Time: 12 hours
Total Cost: $ 31.28


  1. I thought this looked great on you Sunday! And for the record, it looks better In Real life than in pictures. The blousing is more flattering in real life and does not make you look big. (Also, for some reason it won't let me sign into my google account and looks like my husband is posting! Ha!)

    1. lol I was gonna say ... Well thanks, Chris, lol. Awkward. Thank you very much :) I think it's just one of those personal things that we all have that I think it looks worse than it does.

  2. Thanks for posting this! You gave a lot of good information. I like the dress, but I also understand that feeling of wanting something solid around you when you're going out in the world! I teach first grade, so I am always putting leggings or shorts on under my skirts and dresses, because, know!!Happy Sewing!

  3. I very nearly bought that same kit! But every time I looked closely at the pattern, I knew I was going to have to do some serious work on the bodice pattern pieces (like adding a dart and making the wrap end midway beneath the bust) in order to make it look good on me. The elastic waist/gathered skirt isn't horrible, but there is just too much blousey for a busty girl. :D

    Overall, I think you did a bang up job making it work for you! The color is perfect and your fit changes make it look good. As an Oklahoma girl who recently experienced Florida humidity (ours is hotter, but yours is wetter!), I'd say a good light weight flutter dress is a staple.


Thanks for joining in the conversation!