All Your Sylvie Dress Questions Answered!

May 28, 2015

Okay, so I don't actually know what all your Sylvie Dress questions are, because she's only been out for two days, but I can make a pretty good guess as to what some of your questions are! So here is what I think you're wondering and my answers to the questions...

Does Sylvie fit just like the Emery?
No. This is not the Emery Dress, even though Sylvie has a fit and flare shape option, the two dresses are 100% drafted differently and all the important shaping details are in completely different places. I do start all patterns from the same block, but no two patterns are the same and therefore no two patterns are going to fit the same. The ease is different, the shape is different, one has sleeves and one doesn't, and on and on...

Do I need to make a muslin if I already fit into size X in the Emery?
Yes. Read the above paragraph! This is not the Emery, nor does it fit like the Emery, so please for the love of god, MAKE A MUSLIN!!! Was that clear enough? ;) Please, make a muslin!

How is Sylvie different from the Emery?
Sylvie has three small bust darts under each breast unlike one bust dart from the side seam and another dart coming up from the waist on the Emery. Also, Sylvie has no upper back neck darts, but rather has a shaped center back seam. They do both however have upper back darts from the waist, but because Sylvie has a wide waistband, they will hit at slightly different places. Sylvie has a seam directly under the bust and Emery does not. The skirt on View A of the Sylvie is a dirndl (a giant rectangle) where the gathered skirt on the Emery is an a-line shape. Emery has a fully lined bodice, where Sylvie is only lined at the waistband. Also, Sylvie has a pencil skirt option, where Emery does not. And the Sylvie was drafted to be sleeveless, which anyone who has made the Emery without sleeves knows, is not the same as drafting for a bodice with sleeves.

In short, there are many differences and they are not the same. So again, make a muslin and see how the fit is different on your body before just cutting into your expensive/rare/vintage/heirloom fabric!

Are you going to do a sew-along for the Sylvie?
No... there's something even BETTER in the works for this dress! But I can't tell you more about that just yet. But yes, you will be able to watch me put it together! hint hint...

Are you going to do a FBA and SBA post for this dress?
Well, I'm not, but my pal Devon will be! Both of us are fleeing to Europe right now, but when she's back in early July, she will be doing posts for both of those adjustments for my blog. So if you're interested in that, it is coming!

Why did you make the neck and armhole binding one giant piece for all sizes, instead of sizing it for each pattern size?
Because this way, you can raise and lower both the neckline and armhole with no domino effect to the binding pieces. Both are just trimmed to fit, so you can change either one as much as you like! I really wanted to make this dress polished, yet easy and un-fussy, so facings, linings, and bias pieces were used as minimally as possible. And this allows me to use one set of instructions for either handmade or pre-made binding.

Can I use pre-made bias binding or piping? 
Absolutely! For the contrast white piping on the sample of View B and inside all four of the samples, I used pre-made bias binding and pre-made piping. The orange piping on the other sample of View B was made to match the dress to illustrate how elegant that looks. But yes, you can 100% absolutely use pre-made binding and piping.

If I use pre-made bias binding or piping, will this reduce the yardage required?
Yes! And by a lot! Both the binding and the piping are cut on the bias, so it eats a ton of fabric. If you are going to use pre-made binding or piping, I suggest cutting out all your pieces and see how much yardage you can reduce based on your size. I wanted to give everyone the option to make their own and include that into the yardage, because I hate thinking I bought enough fabric to make my binding for a dress, only to remember after the fact that the pattern designer didn't include that into the yardage! DOH! But if you don't want to make it, no worries!

If I am using non-directional fabric like a solid, can I get less fabric?
Yep! I lay out my pattern pieces all in one direction so no matter what your print purchased, the yardage will work. But this is an unlined dress with just a bodice front and back, waistband front and back, and skirt front and back, so it really doesn't take that much fabric if you lay your pieces out non-directionally and if you skip the handmade bias binding or piping. This can be made with much less yardage in that scenario. But just in case you have a directional print fabric and you want to make your own binding, I want to make sure you've purchased enough fabric so that's the way I figure out the yardage on the back of the envelope.

Can I blend from size to size?
Absolutely! Because the intersecting seams are only at the waist and there are no side seam darts, you can easily make the upper part of the dress to a smaller size, then simply cut from one size to another between the armscye and the waistband. From there simply cut the waistband and skirt to match and you're all set!

I like the a-line skirt on the Emery more than the dirndl. Can I use that instead?
Yes! That's the wonderful thing about a gathered skirt, you can swap it out as much as you like! Because the gathering is just gathered to fit the waistband, you can absolutely swap out the Emery Dress skirt for the dirndl skirt on the Sylvie Dress if you prefer.

I would like my skirt less/more gathered. Can I do that?
Again, the joy of a gathered skirt is they are gathered to fit! So yes, want less gathering? No worries! Just cut the skirt to a smaller size and when you gather it to fit your waistband, there will be less gathering! And on the flip side, if you want more gathering, simply make it as wide as you want!

I love a pleated skirt. Can I make my skirt pleated?
Yes! Truth be told, I wanted to make this skirt pleated. However, that poses a lot of patternmaking issues when you get into sizes above 10 or so. Because the pleats eat so much fabric, the skirt would have to be pieced to make it wide enough for it to work on larger sizes, which is fine, but I really wanted to keep this dress as quick and simple as possible. Also, I loved the idea of featuring a border print, so gathering was a better choice for that. But if you want to pleat your skirt, it would be beautiful so go for it!

I see that the waistband and pockets on the gingham sample are on the bias. How'd you do that?
Simple! I cut them on the bias! There are grainlines on these two pieces that allow you to line them up on the bias. The pocket can also be used on the crossgrain as well so it can match your border print skirt. If you choose to use the waistband on the bias, it is stabilized by the use of the interfacing on the inside of the fabric. Also, I suggest cutting the interior waistband on the length of grain so it keeps its shape and provides the support on the interior of the dress.

The dirndl skirt isn't lined, so isn't that an issue with eyelet fabrics?
Sure, that can absolutely be an issue, so plan ahead if you are going to use a fabric that is see through. You can line the skirt and underline the bodice if you want to, easy peasy! But again, I wanted to keep this simple so I only lined the waistband for stability purposes, but this is your dress, so you can make it however you like!

What hashtag should I use?
I absolutely LOVE seeing your finished makes of my patterns, and I know other people do too, so please use the #sylviedress hashtag, and the #christinehaynespatterns tag is great too if you are so inclined! Before I make a pattern, I always search the web and hashtags to see how it looks on people, so it's not just for me to add this, as others want to see your finished makes too!

Who are your models?
My lovely models are my friends Liz and Tessa. They both have been modeling for me since my very first book, which we shot in 2008. We all met at that shoot and have since stayed friends! Liz is a brilliant songwriter and also acts, models, and sings too! She's a triple threat! Tessa is also an amazing talent as an in-demand DJ and can be found spinning at the hippest clubs and restaurants in LA, as well as weddings and special events too. Big hugs to these ladies for always stepping up when I need them!

Where did you get the fabrics and shoes for the Sylvie photos?
I purchased all the fabrics at The Fabric Store in Los Angeles. And the shoes are my own personal shoes, and are made by Sven Clogs.

Have a question I didn't answer? Ask me below in the comments and I'll answer it! 

New Pattern Announcement: Introducing the Sylvie Dress!

May 26, 2015

I am so happy to announce my newest pattern, The Sylvie Dress! And before I get into all the details about this fun summertime garment, you might want to know first and foremost that it is currently on sale 20% off!

Both the PDF and printed versions are on sale, though the printed version will ship next Tuesday, so if you want it immediately, PDF is great! Otherwise, all orders placed between today and end of day Tuesday June 2 will ship on Wednesday, June 3. Orders placed after end of day Tuesday June 2 will ship the week of June 8 and from there at the usual 3-day turnaround time, so if you want your printed pattern to ship next week... I suggest you order it now!

And because a new pattern is a wonderful time to celebrate, I've decided to have a spring sale too! So not only is the new Sylvie Dress on sale, but all the patterns in my inventory are also 20% off! Yay!

And now, all about the Sylvie Dress...

Though I have lived in Los Angeles for over a decade, I am still a midwestern girl at heart. It doesn't take much to remember both the mental and physical significance of crossing over Memorial Day into summer. No, that isn't the "real" first day of summer, nor is Labor Day the first day of autumn, but if you live in a place with four dramatic seasons, Memorial Day and Labor Day are major marks on the calendar, signaling the beginning and ending of summer.

With that in mind, I wanted to design a dress to fulfill all those summertime hopes and plans we make all winter long. You've spent your cold days making lists of picnics and backyard barbecue gatherings with friends, trips to the beach with family, and warm-weather weddings requiring a new pretty frock. The Sylvie Dress fits the bill for all the above situations and more.

View A is the ultimate picnic dress, which is why I simply had to make one of the samples in gingham. The bodice has a deep scoop neck, sleeveless armholes, darts up the back for fitting, and an invisible zipper in the center back. Under the bust are three small darts, which lends a feminine touch to the shape. Under the bust seam is a wide waistband, and it's all topped off with a full dirndl skirt and large rectangle patch pockets.

What's so wonderful about this pattern is its versatility. The waistband can be cut on grain or on the bias, as pictured above, which is fantastic for prints like this gingham. I designed the skirt to be a dirndl because I wanted to take advantage of all those gorgeous border prints out there, as well as fabrics with beautiful finished selvage edges, like pictured in the yellow eyelet version below.

The patch pockets are of course optional, (though I've never met a sewer that didn't like a pocket!), and because they are just placed on top, you can cut them on grain, on the crossgrain to match your border print, or on the bias to take advantage of a print like the gingham or a plaid.

To make this a quick and fun summer sew, only the waistband is lined and both the neckline and the armholes are finished with bias binding.

View B features many of the same fantastic details, but with a more slim silhouette. After offering so many dresses that are full or have large gathered skirts, I wanted to give everyone the option of pairing one of my dresses with a fitted pencil skirt.

The bodice and waistband are the same as in View A, though above and below the waistband is the option of piping, which really makes for an elegant detail. The piping can of course either be a contrast fabric, as pictured above, or in self-fabric as in the orange linen version pictured below.

The skirt is a slim pencil skirt with four darts in the front and four in the back, so it fits and hugs your body. This is the kind of dress that is perfect for wearing to the office by day, topped with a cardigan or jacket, then out on the town after work on its own. Seriously, thinking of this in black is pretty much the ultimate little black dress.

And I probably don't have to tell you all this, but of course you can add the piping from View B to View A, or leave it off all together. You can also cut the waistband on View B on the bias too if you want to feature a print that looks great on the bias.

My goal when designing a pattern is for a very wide range of possible mixing and matching, and I think the Sylvie Dress provides you with a really expansive list of customization options.

So, are you ready to make your own Sylvie Dress? Pick it up now at a sweet 20% off, which ends next Tuesday! And again, if you need to pick up anything else too, now's the time because everything's on sale!

Thanks as always for the amazing support and kindness you all show both me and my patterns. I am humbled each and every time I see one of my patterns sewn and being worn in your life. It is a honor to have you pick my pattern to sew with, given the incredible offerings out there! So thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Oh, and if you want me and others to see your dress, remember to use the #SylvieDress hashtag!

The Sylvie Dress Coming Tuesday!

May 20, 2015

YES! Mark your calendars for 8am Pacific Time Tuesday, May 26 for my new pattern! I cannot wait to get her out into the world! Stay tuned for a whole lot more....!!!

How to Speak Fluent Sewing Book Trailer

May 14, 2015

Hi from Quilt Market! I just had my first Schoolhouse presentation where I showed my newest book, How to Speak Fluent Sewing, to a room of shop buyers. I made a little video to go with it and thought you all not at market might like to see it! I hope you enjoy it!

Visit Me at Quilt Market!

May 6, 2015

Are you a buyer, shop owner, or fabric designer that will be at next week's Quilt Market in Minneapolis? If so, please come to see me!

C&T, the lovely publishers of my newest book, How to Speak Fluent Sewing, arranged for me to give a Schoolhouse Presentation (where they will be giving away some copies of the book) as well as a book signing! All the details are below, so please come and say hi and get yourself copy of the book! Hope to see you there!

Schoolhouse Presentation
Thursday, May 14
(Note: I am sharing the time with Heidi Staples)
Conference Room 211B

Book Signing
Saturday, May 16
C&T Booth 1440