Vee’s Caramel Linen Vali Dress
Hi! I’m Vee, a fat sewist from the western suburbs of Melbourne Australia. My Instagram handle is @Vee.Makes if you want to see more of what I’ve been making.
I only recently got back into sewing last August as a way to get through the second lockdown. It not only gave me something to occupy my hands and mind but allowed me to have a better relationship with my body.
Early on in my sewing journey, I stumbled across A+R on Instagram and immediately had to ask Trin to send me some samples of the linen and silk noils, it was love at first sight.
When Trin’s call for blog contributions came up I had to apply for a chance to work with these beautiful fabrics, but I didn’t really have a plan. First I wanted to make the classic M7969, but it was such a popular pattern that everyone had seen it on multiple body shapes and I didn’t think I would be bringing anything new to the table. Then I thought I would make a popular Zero Waste pattern but struggled to find examples of it on larger bodies that appealed to me. Wouldn’t the ultimate waste be making a garment that never got worn?
I cycled through idea after idea and nothing felt “right” or “worthy” of the gorgeous caramel linen I had selected. I let the fabric intimidate me till I reached the point every sewist dreads. I had lost my sewjo!
For a few months, I continued to let the fabric languish while I had my sewing crisis. Still obtaining patterns and fabric but unable to bring myself to make anything major. That was until I came across the Vali Dress by Pattern Fantastique.
It.blew.my.socks.off. Described as a “glam 70’s smock dress” it was everything I’d been looking for in a pattern. It has huge sleeves, a glamorous silhouette, an interesting neckline and most importantly it posed a challenge. Just the thing to reignite my sewjo.
With a 50 inch bust, I came in just under the size 26, the highest size in the pattern and I again struggled to find examples of the Vali dress on larger bodies. But I was so in love I knew I had to try it anyway, so I set to work on my toile.
I only ran into a few problems on the toile and most of those were down to the toile fabric being too crisp for the pattern. The A+R linen on the other hand was a dream to work with, soft and supple with the ability to be pressed down to crisp edges when needed, it was a match made in sewing heaven!
I don't have too much to say about the Vali dress pattern, it was challenging, but not because of the techniques used, but rather because of how precise you have to be. Additionally, the way the instructions are laid out, with multiple steps being shown on one diagram, offered more sources of confusion. However, in the end, it wasn’t as difficult as I expected it to be. If an adventurous beginner like me could do it, I’m confident you can too!
My notes on the Vali dress pattern
- Don’t skip any understitching, stay stitching or stitching for fold lines these all help give you the cleanest outcome when sewing.
- Keep your sewing gauge handy, the seam allowances change from 4mm to 6mm to 1cm often and you’ll have to check the instructions frequently to make sure you're stitching at the right width.
- If you’re struggling to get the thin ties to turn inside out, try a baking skewer, that’s what my Fiance did when I couldn’t get my loop turner to work!
- Have patience, especially when it comes to the yoke. Check the instructions after each step and make sure the right and wrong sides of the fabric are where they need to be
- The pockets are very small. Even for my small hands, and very low. If I made this dress again I'd draft my own pockets and move them up on the pattern.
I’m glad that I didn’t let the instructions intimidate me too much because I’m in love with the end result, my gorgeous 70’s caramel dress might not be getting too much use with autumn coming to a close but you can bet it’ll be the reason I’m looking forward to spring!
Thanks, Trin for the amazing opportunity to work with your sensational fabric!
Note from Trin:
Thanks Vee for your incredible work with our Caramel 100% linen!
This colour is returning soon in our next BIG restock and SS2021-2022 colour release. Add your name to the waitlist in the product listing if you'd like to be the first to know when it returns!