The Vali Dress designed by Pattern Fantastique ticks all the boxes for me for a dreamy spring/summer smock. Best of all, the front and back yokes of the dress provide the perfect canvas for me to stitch some Sashiko on them for a personal touch.
This dress has a romantic silhouette which inspires me to float around in its very swishable midi skirt with a curved hemline. The floating can also be attributed to the two big clouds – otherwise referred to as sleeves – attached to the yokes of the dress. These are perhaps the puffiest sleeves I’ve ever made! They also remind me of cotton candy poofs. The construction of the garment is quite clever as all the gathered seams of the sleeves are attached to the yokes to create an immense amount of volume. There’s an option to make this into a blouse instead of a dress – which is definitely something that I will try out soon. In addition, the front of the neckline opens up into a centre parting, and this parting can be extended into the front skirt to reveal a little more skin. Or give better breastfeeding access.
I sewed up the version with the plunging neckline, which requires making an extra pair of front ties and adding an extra extension facing for the opening in the top of the skirt. Sizes for the dress run from 6-26 and I sewed up a size 8 based mainly on my bust measurements. Since the dress tents out, the main fitting issue to be concerned about is how it fits at the bustline. There were no fitting modifications that I applied. The only adjustments that I made were done to protect the reverse side of the Sashiko stitching on the front and back yokes. To do this, I ditched the original facing pattern pieces (pattern pieces E, F & G), and doubled up the front and back yoke pieces to create full facings for the yokes. I actually like this modification that I made and will continue to use it even if I wouldn’t have any embroidery to protect because it makes the reverse side of the dress much neater – I can hide all the gathered seams between the yokes and the full facing.
This is my first attempt at sewing up a pattern from Pattern Fantastique, and the instructions are sound and the drafting is superb. The designs have unique features and I am going to sew up a Celestial Maxi Dress as soon as I get the chance.
The fabric I chose for the Vali Dress is the glorious Merchant and Mills EU-Laundered 100%Linen in Pink and Mustard. This is an OEKO-TEX fabric so it is earth friendly and heavenly. The smoothness of the feel on the skin is incredible. The pink shade is very light and probably doesn’t show up at all in the photos, but it lends the fabric a certain blush that is a very unusual combination juxtaposed with the mustard. This is a medium weight linen and has a crispness that allows the puffiness of the sleeves its full expression. Also, the lovely drape gives the skirt incredible flow and movement. Best of all, the gingham is spaced out on a ½” grid, and that was very helpful for me when I was stitching in the Sashiko embroidery. The grid of the gingham provided at least half of the lines that I needed to draw a ¼” grid for the Sashiko patterns, which made my life soooo much easier.
I’ve been stitching up Sashiko patterns for some months now and I decided to finally take an online course with Upcycle Stitches to deepen my understanding and practice of this craft. The main treasure of this experience is learning how to execute “unshin” which is the movement or needle of the needle as it travels through the fabric. It involves using the traditional Sashiko thimble and needle, and requires both hands to move in coordination to produce the stitches. I am at a stage of learning that is filled with awkwardness and discomfort because I am so new at it. Even though I am moving as slow as a snail right now while learning this new skill, I am already benefiting from this different way of stitching the running stitch. It is much gentler on the small joints of the hands, and helps me keep better focus and posture while stitching.
I used the stitching on the Vali dress as a way to practise “unshin”, so this garment now has extra-special value for me. It’s my virgin attempt at a new skill, and I am thrilled that my journey with the Sashiko thimble has only just begun. It’s like a rebirth for my Sashiko practice – and a joyful rediscovery of a beloved craft. I am looking forward to more hours of practice and am excited to try out other new stitches. The sky’s the limit!
Please check out my new YouTube video where I share how I stitch up one of the patterns of the front yoke of the dress. This pattern is called Jijuhishikaha (Woven Cross Diamond), and it’s one of the patterns where thread-looping or weaving between the stitches is done. In addition, I share how I apply a full facing to the sewing pattern instead of the original facings provided in the sewing pattern. In the video, I also present a fashion show of almost all the Sashiko makes that I’ve sewn up thus far. Don’t forget to subscribe to my channel if you haven’t done so already and thanks for supporting me on another week of happy sewing.