Pattern Fantastique: Vali dress & top

I’ve really mixed feelings about my Vali Top. Designed by Pattern Fantastique, it’s a really well drafted and technical pattern, but it just felt really fiddly. On the other hand, the finished product looks ace, and so I find myself asking, can I really complain?!

I decided to make the Vali after seeing so many amazing versions popping up over the summer. Although I love the dress, as I’m still breastfeeding the top is much more practical for me, and therefore more likely to be worn.

Love the side view

The fabric is a cotton gingham from Bawn in Glasgow. It’s my nearest fabric shop, and if you haven’t had the pleasure of visiting, you really must. All of their fabrics are ethically sourced, and it really feels like a boutique sewing shop (as opposed to a sewing supermarket!). There’s a lovely small selection of patterns, books and haberdashery too. I’ve got quite a few of their fabrics waiting to be sewn up, including a yellow version of this gingham.

First try on fresh off the machine

But anyway, I digress…the gingham is really easy to sew with. It’s yarn dyed which made it much easier to cut out on the grain (a lazy sewist’s dream!), and it has a wonderful texture to it – perfect for poofy sleeves. I love the cornflower blue colour – I need to sew with blue more often. And I knew it’d be a great match with the pattern.

So, onto making the top. It’s a great pattern, really technical in that you need to be quite precise with your sewing. What made it feel fiddly for me was the small seam allowances – 3/16s of an inch, lots of small fractions…it’s just very…fiddly. if you’ve made a few garments you’ll be fine making this pattern as long as you’re ok with a slow, precise sew.

I like the layout of the pattern instructions in that it’s sewn the way I often work with patterns – you prep all your pieces first – interfacing, stay stitching, gathering, and pre-hemming. There’s a lot of prep work to be done, and then you start with the yoke and facings with teeny awkward seam allowances and it gets a bit frustrating. But then it gets better. Although I did find the sleeve elastic measurements to be way off too. The sleeves were huge and I took a good few inches off the elastic length.

Speaking of measurements, I think I would make this a size bigger if I were to make it again. The bust is very close fitting despite the volume in the top. I made the size 14 based on my bust measurement and thinking there’d be more ease. It’s still comfy, but I can tell it’s a bit tight. But maybe once I finish feeding it won’t be…who knows…

Anyhow, I do love the end result and I’m glad I made the pattern, despite the frustration along the way. I’m not sure if I will make another. Not this summer, perhaps next year.

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