The Solina Dress designed by Named Clothing can be found in the book, Breaking The Patternwritten by sister-duo Saara & Laura Huhta. The styling for this book is impeccable, and all the pictures make me want to sew up all of the delicious patterns.
I decided to start with the Solina Dress because its prettiness is irresistible. The front waist pleats that are connected by front waist ties, and the wrist ties make this a stunning dress. Other details that I like are the soft, modern mandarin collar and the front slit in the midi-length skirt.
The fabric I chose to pair up with this lovely pattern is a soft pink viscose challis with little dabs of black dots. This fabric was gifted to me by Minerva in exchange for a blog post and I love it! The feminine shade and the slight quirkiness of the black dots would match up well with the design of the dress. It also has a beautiful drape to give the skirt enough swish and swirl.
The only thing that I was worried about is that the fabric might be too light in weight for the pattern. I took the risk anyway, and I think it turned out quite nicely. Thank goodness! But I reckon this is the lightest weight of fabric that can withstand the long invisible zipper in the back. I filed that in my notes for a repeat make of the Solina. There are other views available to try out for this pattern – a jumpsuit and a top. And I will take the title’s advice to heart, and break this pattern by inserting a more traditional mandarin collar for a cheongsam hack.
This dress is oh-so-pretty but oh-so-impractical. More accurately, the wrist ties prevent the wearer from doing anything remotely functional. With the exception of fulfilling its aesthetic function, the ties get in the way of hand-washing (*ahem* toilet etiquette in general), curry-eating, blog-writing and everything in between. You would also require an in-house dresser (in my case, my kiddos) to help you get those wrist ties in nicely-tied butterfly bows, unless you have acquired the skill of one-handed-butterfly-bow-tying. I haven’t.
So my next Solina will either be sleeveless or it will have sleeves without the ties. I am thinking to either elasticise the sleeve hems or gather them into slender cuffs. I might even go ahead and make this adjustment to the current dress so that I can get more wear out of it. Simply because I can’t quite think of wearing this to any event (in the pandemic-free future) where I wouldn’t have to eat, drink or visit the bathroom.
Nevertheless, the dress is one of the sweetest, prettiest ones I’ve ever made. So I wouldn’t write it off. A minor adjustment at the sleeves would make it a more functional garment. And although the ties are lovely-to-look-at details, what actually makes the dress for me are the flattering folds created by the waist pleats. The folds gently curve around the bust apices and run elegantly all the way down towards the hem. They have a lengthening effect and are the standout details of the dress.
Sizes for the patterns in the book come in 1-9, which caters to a size range of 88cm-124cm at the hips. It’s not a large size range, which is unfortunate because the designs of the patterns are so beautiful. My size fell between 1 & 2, and I went with size 1 so that the chest/bust area will have a better fit. Later, I let out more at the waist pleats so that it’ll fit better for my 66cm waist.
The other adjustment I made was to the length of the skirt. It is drafted for a 172cm lady, and I chopped 12cm off the hem to fit my 160cm frame. Surprisingly, I didn’t have to make any length adjustments to the bodice section because when I measured the the shoulder-to-waist length, it fit my vertical measurements exactly. This usually doesn’t happen so it made the shortening task much easier.
The instructions in the book are clear enough and the patterns are arranged in the order of sewing difficulty. Each pattern builds on the sewing skills required for the pattern that comes before it. In addition, PDF patterns of the designs are available to print when you enter some numbers that are in the barcode at the back of the book. This is very helpful to me since I don’t like tracing off the paper patterns provided in the sleeve of the book.
I will definitely make my way through this book. Some of the designs are calling my name, and I look forward to many other makes that can be created from the sewing patterns. In the meantime, I am going to “break this pattern” and remove the wrist ties. I will get busy figuring out a better solution for the wrist hems. But I’m glad I got to take the wrist-tie version out for a spin before I chop them off.