*The fabric used for this dress was a pr product from Rainbow Fabrics
The pleiades 1 dress was the first pattern I’d come across from French Poetry and I bought it immediately. It looked like the perfect tea dress which is a style I sometimes drift away from but always come back to. It’s the style that always feels the most “me”.
The first snag I hit with the pleiades 1 is there are no finished garment measurements. This is always a big red flag for me as it is so much easier to choose a size from finished measurements than body measurements as if there is a reasonable amount of ease I’ll make the size down as I like my clothes fitted. I went by the body measurements and chose to make the size 8. For reference my measurements are 36/29/40 so I was between the 8 and 10. I decided not to grade between sizes as the photos looked like there was a fair bit of ease in the skirt.
I had 140cm x 2m and it recommends 2.5m for the version without the ruffles hem. I managed to get it out of the 2 metres but as you can see from the photo I only cut one “bottom of lantern sleeve” piece by accident. If I’d realised when I was cutting I’d probably have been able to shimmy some pieces around so I could fit it on but I only realised when I came to attach them and by that time it was too late. I think it looks nice with the short sleeves though so I’m not annoyed at that.
The fabric I chose was a pr product from Rainbow Fabrics Kilburn. It’s a viscose crepe which isn’t usually a fabric I sew with but I really liked the print. The samples on the pattern are made in double gauze but I think crepe was the perfect choice as it’s got enough body to create the sleeve shape but it drapes enough to flow nicely over the body.
Making the dress was quite a straightforward process. The instructions are amusingly sassy. At one point it tells you that if the facing doesn’t fit then it is that you’ve stretched it out, not that the pattern pieces are wrong. Spoiler alert: my neckline stretched a LOT as it’s cut on the bias but I managed to ease it in. If you have the same problem then try making the main piece fit the facing instead of stretching the facing. It’s a bit fiddle to do but with a lot of pins and a hot and steamy iron it’s possible.
Saying that, if I were to make this again (which I probably will as I like how it looks on me) I would fully line the bodice as I don’t rate how it looks with the facing. It’s such a beautiful dress that it seems a shame to make the insides look just average. I would also adjust the neckline to sit 1cm lower and remove the curve in the centre of the neckline so it was a true v-neck.
I like that the pattern tells you to attach the zip before sewing up the side seams as a) it is easier to do and b) you can check the fit more easily. And trust me, with this pattern you need to check the fit. I ended up taking in the sides at the waist 3cm each side. You can see in these photos how much I took out. I love a smock dress but instead of looking deliberately oversized it just looked too big. This is why finished garment measurements are so important to include! The black line on the photo below shows how much I took out each side.
The sleeves have enough space in them to fit my arms comfortably and not restrict my movement. However I do think that the way the sleeve head sits is a bit odd as the gathers feel too far back and after looking at versions friends have made it looks the same on all of us. I’ve adjusted my pattern piece so the gathers start 2cm lower on the front and 2cm higher on the back so I’ll see if that helps next time I make it.
The last thing I’ll say on it is you definitely need to hang the dress before hemming it as it will drop due to the shape of the pattern pieces. I didn’t have anyone around to help me level the hem so I did it by eye and kept the excess in the hem so I can unpick it next time I’m with a sewing pal and get them to help. I took 7cm off the length in total. For reference I’m 5 foot 4 so I usually need to shorten dresses.
This pattern is available in US sizes 2 to 16 so it isn’t a very inclusive size range, however if you do measure an inch or two above the top size there is a chance it would fit as there is a lot of ease in the pattern. Overall I do love this dress and now I’ve made the adjustments to the pattern I’d be up for making it again. And I have to say, it looks just as good dressed up for winter as it does in the summer sun.