Test: Fibre Mood Giulia

I was lucky to be invited to try one of the new patterns in Fibre Mood 11 which is published today. Fibre Mood is a Belgian sewing magazine and web community that releases a collection of new patterns six times a year. It has gained a huge following since the launch two years ago.

Most of the designs are relatively simple to sew, but there are one or two more committed projects in each issue as well. The patterns are mainly for women, and the designs and styling make them look very current. To my eye, this is the magazine that currently best reflects the need for not just patterns, but patterns that are both on trend and very achievable within a reasonable effort for the home sewist. However, what attracts me more is how they invite sewists to play with their patterns and participate in a “link party” to show off their makes, producing a much greater variety in sizes, fabric choices etc. then what you get in the magazine itself. Of course very beneficial for them, too, and a very effective marketing of their products at a very low cost. This is a deal I’m happy to do because I’m curious to see what’s next, and most of all I enjoy the sense of community.

My choice of pattern from the September issue is the Giulia dress, a rather sassy number with dolman sleeves, elasticated waist and a long skirt with side slits. The pattern suggests a woven fabric but states that almost anything works as long as it has sufficient drape. I had a piece of navy viscose jersey languishing in my collection that seemed suitable for this project, so jersey it is.

There is a couple of things worth knowing about Fibre Mood patterns: The pattern sheets and the A0-version does not include seam allowance, but if you choose the A4-version for at home printing and assembling, you get the seam allowance included as an option. This is very practical. The patterns are quite sparse with only a few notches for matching up the pieces included. There is no lengthening/shortening line in the pdf version, but as long as you are careful not to distort the grainline it’s very easy to add this yourself.

I always start a new project by checking the finished measurements of the garment to be able to choose the correct size and make adjustments. Fibre Mood definitely designs for much taller women than me (I’m 1.63), so the first move is shortening the pattern pieces. I would actually like to know what height they design for, it’s always very helpful when that’s included in the measurements. I received a pdf pattern and printed it out in size M which corresponded best with my bust and hip measurements and excluded the other sizes from the printout (because the pattern is layered). I removed 3 cm from the bodice and a whopping 14 cm from the skirt, and the dress still hits me mid calf. I definitely don’t have long legs! Longer skirts have grown on me lately, but I am still not sure what length is best for me. Mostly I settle with right below my knees or at mid calf, just above my ankles. As long as the waistline sits a little high, I think this works quite well for me.

The dress has a small design feature, a cute pleat which sits in the back at the neckline. Otherwise it is a relatively straight forward t-shirt dress with grown on sleeves. I added a strip of lightweight stabilizer along the shoulder seams in addition to the recommended interfacing of the slits and hem, and I used bias stabilizer for the neckline. The fabric is so soft that I feared it would stretch out otherwise. The waistline is made by encasing the elastic band which provides a neat finish. The neckline is finished with bias tape – but in jersey there’s no need to cut it on the bias, it has enough stretch as it is.

I haven’t had my coverstitch machine for long and I still find it a little challenging. This time I tried to sew angled corners, with medium success. The stitches unravelled and I had to redo it a couple of times, so there’s definitely room for improvement there. I used it for hemming the sleeves and neckline with no problems. Because of the interfacings the slits and hem are nice and flat and hang well.

I really like the shape of this dress, it’s impressive how a little elastic can create shape. The neckline sits beautifully and the side slits make a longer skirt more wearable. I have a couple of ideas for modifications already. By elongating the sleeves and adding a cuff or elastics I think it would be more wearable in colder seasons. It can easily be made knee length, too, and the simple shape is suitable for a number of occasions from beach to parties, depending on the fabric choice. I will probably not be going to a beach anytime soon, and parties are few and far between these days, so I’m thinking of a lined version in light wool suitable for work – maybe with a belt in self fabric. A simple winter dress for work is on my to-do list, and this one might be it.

Fabric: 2 m viscose jersey with stretch (8%)
Pattern: Giulia dress from Fibre Mood 11
Difficulty: Easy
Time: 3 hours

Disclaimer: I received the pattern for free, but fabric and sewing time is my own.

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