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As part of my list of New Years resolutions, I committed to buying and making a pattern by an independent designer each month.  I am desperately trying to reduce my stash of fabrics and use the patterns that I already have but have not yet made, but this resolution gave me the opportunity to enjoy the thrill of a new pattern just once each month.  I aim to make each pattern from fabrics in stash but I’m not going to limit the outcome if I  really don’t have the right fabric available.

Sew Independent has given me the perfect opportunity to try such a wide range of patterns that I never knew existed before.   

My first pattern for January was Salme 149 – a buttonless shirt dress pattern identified by Donna as being one of the best of December 2013 new patterns.  I think I have to agree.  What caught my attention was her comment that this would be a great pattern to showcase a special piece of fabric.  I had one particular piece that I had bought because it was ‘pretty’ and I was keen to make something with it.  

I made a version from ‘stash trash’ fabric (actually it was a not quite vintage sheet) to check the details and fit first.
I made it not so much as a wearable muslin but as a trial.   I will just wear around the house although given the success, I might even run up to the shops in it!

The pattern is delivered by pdf and was pretty quick to tape together.  It seemed to be well tiled across the pages which is obviously an emerging art as some pdf patterns seem to use the maximum number of pages possible. The sizing was generous.  I was originally going to cut a 12 (given the sizing guide on the pattern) but I cut a 10 and I felt comfortable with how it fits.

The pattern came together really well and the techniques are simple while giving nice clean results.  The placket and collar are both especially nice as you get a crisp professional finish just by following the simple instructions!  There isn’t really much else to it so it is important that those details were right.  The armhole bias tape worked well although on my second version, I trimmed the seam to about 1/4 inch before topstitching the bias down.  It just made the seam less bulky.

There are a few things I would change about this pattern but in the whole scheme of things they are minor.
I would:

  • Include a pattern key so that you can easily identify your size option from the key rather than having to count up from the smallest to the larger sizes.  It just would have given me the comfort that I had the right size.
  • Give a small explanation as to how the front placket works on the pattern piece – the line is unexpected and it just needs a bit of a word as to why and if it needs a seam allowance.
  • Be clearer about the interfacing on the front placket.  Just give the dimensions of the strip or describe how it should sit at the end.  I used a strip about 1.5cm wide and located it on the section with the extra seam allowance only.
  • Seam allowances are not included but it is expected that you use 1cm throughout – why not just add it on? I’m sure they are better than adding it in than I am.

  • The collar would benefit from some notches, just so you can line it up onto the neck edge.  Considering you are trying to attach to gathers at the same time, it would be great to have some reference points.  On my second version I added a notch in the middle of the collar and again in the middle of the back bodice.  It made all the difference and the collar went on much faster.  I would have appreciated some to match up the shoulder seams too but if you are going to do them yourself, just do the back middle at least.


The second, in my ‘pretty’ fabric is a great success and I’m looking forward to wearing it to a family party soon. 

There might even be a third in my future, I’m thinking of some plain light brown suiting.  
It is a great pattern.  Thanks Donna for bringing it to my attention.