Let me introduce the Cassandra dress from Valentine & Stitch. I made this dress as part of the Facebook Group Sew Alongs & Sewing Contests “Something New: Breaking Ground” challenge. The idea is to challenge members to try a new to them pattern company and, although I have followed Valentine & Stitch for a while I haven’t managed to sew any of their patterns. Then Helen, from V & S agreed to sponsor a couple of prizes for the Sew alongs group and gave me the Cassandra pattern to try. So generous!
All this was going on whilst I was in Tasmania, so as soon as I got home I shopped the stash and found this lovely wool piece that I bought at Knitwit from their $20 pile (I bought quite a lot from that $20 pile!)
I printed out the pattern and chose the scoop neck with the straight hem and long sleeves.
I didn’t quite have enough fabric so lopped 7cm off the length which means that I lost a little bit of width, which is a shame, although I don’t think the longer length would suit me.
The only thing I wanted to change about this pattern was the addition of pockets. I didn’t want in seam pockets so faffed around and finished up drawing two circles with my trusty compass, and chopped the top off. Then I bound them with black bias binding. Then I panicked. Was I about to turn this lovely pattern into a 1950s apron? I sent my problem out to the brains trust on Instagram and got enough supportive comments that I pushed on. I am so glad I did, although I think I made the pockets a little small, but still, I can get most of my titchy hands into them. Diane from Dream.Cut.Sew suggested that the pockets gave the dress a ’60s vibe and so I tried it out with some flat shoes that always remind me of the 1960s. It works equally well with heels or flats.
Pattern matching was required with this fabric and I did ok with that. I was also concerned about pattern placement, but honestly, just gave up worrying about it and I think that worked out fine as well.
I love the fact that this dress is a little bit twirly in spite of having most of the flare lopped off. I need to mention that the hem is level most of the time and then it dips like crazy. I spent hours on it trying to get it consistently level but it seems to depend on how I stand.
This fabric is beautifully drapey and feels soft and lovely to wear, but it’s quite loosely woven and I did have trouble binding those pockets – the bias binding kept shredding off. I am not sure if this dress will stand the test of time in this fabric, but I am sure going to enjoy it whilst it lasts.
As soon as we had a whisper of cool weather I had it on and really enjoyed wearing it. I am already planning another.
The Cassandra also has an extension pack which includes a top with a high low hem and a cardigan. I have these planned for the cooler weather too.
Now for the bad news: Helen and her husband have had the security of their accounts compromised and are having to shut them down, which is just the most awful news. Helen has a lot of friends on IG and we are all devastated at the news. This means that if you want to buy this lovely pattern (or any other of the V&S patterns) you will need to do it before the end of March.