Nina Lee Park Lane Dress

Nina Lee Park Lane Dress pattern review

I am a huge fan of Nina Lee's patterns - I think they echo high street fashion well and they are written really comprehensively - my Mayfair dresses are worn a lot in the summer. For the winter season, I wanted to make a longer sleeved dress in a solid colour - something lacking from my wardrobe, so the Park Lane was a natural choice. I wore it a lot this winter and I have ideas for summer versions in different fabrics too.


This fabric was purchased form the Sew Over It stand at the Knitting and Stitching Show before they ceased selling fabrics other than their own brand. It's their luxury crepe at £16 a metre - it's similar to crepe that I have bought from Truro Fabrics before, in case you want to go buy some now. I bought 3m at the time and have just under 1.5 metres left, making Nina's size 10 at this length on my 5ft height (so I'll be taking my chances on 1.5 metres in future). The fabric itself is fairly crease resistant when wearing, which also means that it pops back a little when you try to press it. The gathers at the front of the bodice and sleeve heads were a little trickier because of the crepe; it has a nice drape but is still quite stiff in many ways. This also makes the sleeve puffs more pronounced than they might be otherwise. Another odd property of the the crepe is that it's more difficult to get a hand needle through it - slipstitching the collar down took longer because of this.

Nina Lee Park Lane Dress pattern review

Pattern and Instructions

I bought the pdf version of the pattern for £9 (because I was impatient), but I would prefer to have the printed version as you do get your money's worth with the printed pattern and instructions.
The pattern itself has lots of features that appealed to me. It has variations for a dress and a blouse, and there are options for ruffles or a high collar as well. I was particularly attracted to the waistline of this dress which isn't tightly fitted and uses gathers to create gentle shaping. There are also short, mid and long length sleeve options which made me think that the pattern could be used across all seasons, providing good value as well. There is an invisible zip at the side seam, which I always think looks elegant too. I chose to go for the midi length dress, shortened to knee length, with the mid length sleeves and a high collar. All options I'm happy with!

The pattern doesn't have a lot of fiddly pieces and does come together fairly swiftly for the most part because there aren't darts or a lot of fitting to deal with. The side zip does take a bit more time and care but overall is designed to go in more easily than some others I've attempted before. The only alteration I made was to take in the centre back seam at the waistband by about 1cm each side. I like that the pattern isn't tight around the waist but I do have a sway back and need a bit of shaping otherwise, with this amount of dress all in one colour, I look like a dwarf wearing a sack of potatoes. If I was making again, I might be tempted to experiment with the fitting at the back, which is a bit gapey at the slit, but which might be due to the fabric rather than the pattern.

Nina Lee Park Lane Dress pattern review

Nina's instructions have lots of clear diagrams, which I always find helpful. What I like as well is that the way she puts her patterns together takes care of the finish, with attention to detail that makes handmade items look more professional. I wouldn't suggest the dress for a complete beginner because of the closings, but certainly there are options that an adventurous beginner could use and build up their skills gradually - the blouse with no collar and short sleeves for example could be a good starting point.

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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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