Class Samples: Fen Dress

Honestly? I’d never have looked twice at the Fancy Tiger Crafts Fen Dress pattern if Periwinkle Quilting didn’t have it in stock even before I first started teaching there. But things grow on you, and the skirt IS really cute, and I floated it as a possible class for this summer, maybe as an alternative to the Myosotis dress. I was pretty surprised when Patti decided to run both.

Also, I did not pick it with the expectation of being pregnant this summer. But it does work well for that, too.

So, fun features of the dress? I love the gently hi-lo hem. It’s probably exaggerated by my belly, but I’d rather that these days than have an even hem that rides up in front. Maybe everyone else in the world is over this trend, but I still like it. It is pretty short though–or maybe that’s just from my belly–but the bias-facing I used only eats up 1/4″ of length for the hem and I wouldn’t want it much shorter.

I love the pockets. I’ve been routinely helping my students add pockets to the dresses we make, but it’s especially nice when they’re included already.

I also like the scoop neckline (which is a little wide because I did not finish it as per the pattern instructions) and the small amount of fabric required. The pattern called for three yards, so I bought three mètres, but I actually had about .8 of a mètre left, plus a long skinny strip on one side that I partially used to make the ties.

I don’t like how huge the sleeves are, and when it’s done being a class sample I might raise the underarm by an inch or so (a pretty common alteration for me for this kind of cut-on sleeve.) in the pattern’s defense they are also longer than they should be since I went with a bias tape finish that only eats up 1/4″ of length. I think I will wear them cuffed up so the bias shows.

I added ties to the side, for improved adjustability and maternity-friendliness. They definitely help with that, but on the other hand they kind of anchor the dress in place which makes the arm movement a bit restricted, which is one of my pet peeves. It’s not terrible, but to raise your arms over your head the whole dress needs to move up, and it can’t when it’s tied.

Maximum arm lift without the entire dress shifting.

If I were going for a real maternity hack, I would raise the waist seam about an inch, so it sat a little closer to the underbust. And probably go up a size or two in the skirt front, though I also like the gentleness of the gathering.

My belly is definitely borrowing fabric from the back, making it sit not great across my butt. But, I don’t have to look at that part so I’m not going to sweat it.

In the end, it was a fun and quick sew and I think it will make for a fun class project. And not such a bad maternity dress, actually.

6 Comments

Filed under Sewing

6 responses to “Class Samples: Fen Dress

  1. That’s a sweet dress on you. I think you demonstrate the issue with the cut on sleeve: it makes everything move up when it moves up. There was a whole discussion around adding sleeves to the Closet Case Kalle shirt, and this demonstrates why this is kind of a problem. Unless you make them wider so your arm can move inside the sleeve. Or, just don’t raise your arms. Of course, you will never have to do that again with babies.

    I’m fascinated by your shoes. You are still wearing heels. You’re not outrunning a velociraptor or anything, and there they are on your feet.
    May your feet stay the same size and your shoes always fit. That’s my pregnancy wish for everyone, everywhere!

    • Yeah, short of adding a gusset it’s kind of a feature of this kind of sleeve. As for the shoes, well, I’m not exactly hiking to work in heels like this (but then I never was). My feet haven’t swelled or changed size in the past, or so far this time. I guess we’ll see as things progress. 😂 that’s a good pregnancy wish!

  2. Jill

    Is that your fabric stash in the totes behind the dressmaker’s dummy? If so, I don’t feel as badly about my stash, which takes up at least that much space.

    • Sadly, yes! It kind of ballooned out of control when I worked at Fabricland.

      • Jill

        I know how that goes. Between working at JoAnn’s for 13 years and being the Dungeon Minion to the EvilFabricQueen (Ressy) for several years, I reached SABLE about 10 years ago. I really, really need to sew (a few wardrobes).

        • Yep! I was only there five and a half years before my store got closed, but boy were there some good deals! I’m not sure if I’m STABLE for life (I don’t have huge amounts of certain key fabrics) but I definitely have a wardrobe or two in there!

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