Breaking the Pattern Solina Dress

I have been screenshotting, saving and pinning images of dresses that look pretty much like this for ages. High necks, long sleeves and midi lengths all in glamorous floaty fabrics that come together to make an elegant dress that you can wear out  in all seasons. There certainly is a gap in my wardrobe for something like this. And then along came this book, so I knew what I had to make first out of it!


I bought 3m of this polyester for £5 a metre at the Knitting and Stitching Show at Olympia from the Textile Centre. It is an unusual fabric, similar to a peachskin with a soft handle and a balance between drape and structure. It's really nice to wear because it has enough weight to it to keep you warm but is still breathable. I love a dark floral so it was a certain purchase, waiting for the right project. It does press to a reasonable extent - enough to press a hem before sewing, but getting the tension correct on this has eluded me. Practically every seam is puckered. I do however have about 1m left, so it could potentially be feasible to get this dress out of 2m of fabric, due to the pattern drafting.


This pattern comes from Named's book 'Breaking the Pattern'. This book features ten patterns with enough variations to give you 20 different projects and a lot of guidance throughout on construction and alteration. It is 30 Euro direct from Named's site, but can be found elsewhere online for a lot less. (I bought mine from Amazon for about £13, with free delivery). You have full size paper pattern sheets at the back of the book, and the option to download pdfs. The ones in the book are multi pattern sheets so you do have to trace off what you need, but seam allowances are included (which isn't always the case with Named patterns).

Overall the book is designed to have a clean cut and modern aesthetic, with the patterns being compatible for use as a capsule wardrobe. They range in difficulty so somebody new to sewing would be able to progress their skills as they move through the projects. I'm particularly keen on the Sade blouse and the Kaste cocktail dress for future makes. I think there is a lot of mileage to be had in these patterns and you can use these as the basis for a lot of simple, classic garments. There are a fair few sewing books in my collection and I think this one is a good addition, just on sheer numbers of pattern possibilities.

The Solina Dress has a range of variations, including jumpsuit and top, but seeing as the dress is almost exactly what I had been looking for, I dived in with that. The dress has a high collar and a panelled front that is pulled together with waist ties and pleats to create shaping. This means that there aren't a lot of pattern pieces and fitting the dress is also a lot easier. The sleeves also feature decorative ties at the cuffs and the garment closes with an invisible zip at the back and hook and eye closure at the neck.


This was a rare occasion whereby the size that matched my measurements was a perfect fit. This almost never happens and I almost always have to take in at the waist or back. On this dress though, the waist ties remove a small element of fitting and the rest sits just as it should. I like the amount of ease in this - just enough to give some swish but not too much.

Obviously I still reduced the length of the hem, but kept it quite long for me.

The only alteration I made was to cut down the length of the waist ties. They are meant to wrap around a bit more, but the fabric is quite heavy and they just wouldn't stay in place so I cut them down to just meet and tie without an extra wrap, which sits much better.


This is so against what I normally wear, and thought would suit me, but looks great on. It's an elegant silhouette and fits nicely. I also had relatively little in the way of issues in making this so found it to be quite an enjoyable project. I would make another one in a lighter fabric and I would recommend others to try it too. In fact, I think the book in its entirety is a good addition to a dressmaker's collection due to the different style of the patterns and the range of variations. Thumbs up from me!


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Welcome to Sewing and Other Stories; my journeys with sewing and knitting; pattern reviews, tips and guides for beginners. I'm also the designer behind West Beach Knits knitting patterns and I host a Knitting and Sewing channel on YouTube where you can see all of this in person. Come have a look!

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