A Review of the Gala Gown PDF Pattern by Patterns for Pirates.
The Gala Gown is described as:
a stunning dress with options that will suit your preferences every time for any season! It includes tank, cap sleeve, 3/4 and long sleeves. You can choose from knee length, floor length or floor length with a front slit. The bodice features flattering princess seaming on the front and back and is lined for an easy v neckline! It comes with a high and low v neck option for both front and back, which you can mix and match. You can’t leave out the pockets either! Perfect for your large phone, keys, lipstick, or just somewhere perfect to keep your hands all night!
Unfortunately, I have no events to attend this Christmas but I couldn't resist the Gala Gown. I really couldn't justify making the full-length gown so decided to go for knee-length with 3/4 sleeves. I dared to go for the low front neckline although this does make the dress less suitable for some events. I went with the tank back neckline as I felt that a low back and low front would probably constantly slip off my shoulders (the instructions do actually give some tips to avoid this).
The Gala Gown is drafted for stable knits with at least 30% stretch and I happened to have some light-weight scuba in my stash from Loris Textiles that was perfect. I'd picked up this fabric a few months ago with no particular pattern in mind. In the photographs it looks like a lace overlay which is a really pleasing affect. I lined the interior of the bodice with a stretchy mesh-like fabric - this is comfortable next to the skin and thin enough so as not to add any bulk to the bodice.
The pdf went together well. The instructions for assembly of The Gala Gown are really comprehensive with lots of useful tips along the way. There are also YouTube videos to accompany the instructions. I liked the simple tips such as don't trim the serger tails straight away as they might unravel.
There are, however, no fitting instructions. I was concerned that the princess seams would need some sort of FBA (Full Bust Adjustment) - many patterns include this now. I didn't make a muslin as I would need to buy more scuba but tried the bodice on at regular intervals to check fit. I didn't have to make any adjustments to the princess seams in the end but I did take 1 inch out of the bodice length so that it finished exactly on my waist. I'm very happy with the finished fit of the bodice. Quite often when sewing with stretchy fabrics the pattern relies on the stretch of the fabric to provide the shape and fit so its nice to have an actual fitted garment for a change.
Having a lined bodice is always a nice touch and a more satisfying finish. The bodice lining for The Gala Gown is drafted slightly smaller than the main bodice fabric which means that the main fabric is slightly pulled over to the inside - this means that the lining doesn't show at the front and, for me, no under stitching or top stitching was required.
It doesn't suggest it in the instructions but I chose to baste the lining to the main fabric before attaching the sleeves and skirt to keep everything lying flat and even. I also opted to sew clear elastic into the seams of the shoulders and waist just to add a bit of extra support as the skirt is quite heavy.
The low v-neckline has quite a sharp point but its easy to achieve as the inside is lined and the instructions are thorough. I marked out my stitch line to help me with accuracy though.
The pockets for this Gala Gown are much bigger than usual - its a great asset - imagine being at a party and not having to worry about your handbag! The instructions tell you to machine sew the sharp corners of the pockets and then serge as the serger can't turn sharp enough. I chose to machine sew the whole side seam and then serge it. I'm very pleased with the result and have a much tidier finish than I did with The Laurel Dress. The skirt is a 3/4 circle made up of panels. This gives a very flattering finish as it skims over lumps and bumps without gathering at the waist.
Final Thoughts: I really like the Gala Gown - its comfortable yet flattering. I'm just waiting for an invite to somewhere fabulous to wear it!