A Review of The Naomi Backless Dress & Maxi PDF Pattern by Made for Mermaids.
This is my first Made for Mermaids pattern but I couldn't resist trying it after seeing all the beautiful pictures on their Facebook page - especially as they had a 30% off sale. Its worth subscribing to the pattern websites so you know when they have sales - I can't remember the last time I bought a pattern at full price!
The Naomi Dress is described as:
... a beautiful and dramatic backless dress or maxi. Perfect for special occasions, anniversaries or vacations. The bodice has two options- a v-neck and a plunge neckline. The bodice is very adjustable with straps that can be worn several ways. You can easily wear the bodice at natural waist or pull the straps tighter for an empire waist. The front skirt is pleated and the back skirt dips with an elastic casing. The open back creates a natural high low silhouette. Choose from dress or maxi length. Both lengths have a faux wrap front skirt option.
I usually impatiently dive straight in when I purchase a new pattern but this time I printed and constructed the Naomi Dress pdf pattern but then put it away because I wanted to make sure that I waited until I found the perfect fabric. Recommended fabric is a medium weight knit with at least 40% stretch horizontally and some vertical stretch. I was lucky enough to visit Loris Textiles just when they'd had a new delivery and was immediately attracted to this interesting knit fabric. It has the right stretch and a lovely drape without feeling flimsy.
I always read through instructions first before starting any project. The Naomi Dress is pretty easy to make and so the instructions were easy enough to follow but the layout of the instructions is very busy. The instructions are illustrated with photographs rather than diagrams and I didn't find them particularly helpful or clear. It'll be interesting to see how a more complicated pattern is like to follow.
There isn't a huge size range for the Naomi Dress - it ranges from full bust 30" to 51"and the sizes are grouped into colours rather than a number. This may be a good way to ensure that customers actually take their measurements and choose the correct option rather than choosing by their commercial dress size. The pattern is drafted for 5'5" height with an 8" side waist therefore I didn't have to make any adjustments to the pattern before cutting fabric. According to the size chart I made the 'Green' size which came out a good fit. However, the way this dress is constructed means that the fit is pretty forgiving.
I wasn't sure which neck finish to choose but eventually went for the plunge shape for something a bit different. I also opted for the dress rather than maxi length without the wrap. The bodice of the Naomi Dress is lined and there is the option to sew in bra cups if preferred. The lining also ensures that you get a nice neat finish at the neck line and arm holes. The back skirt is elasticated while the front has neat pleats (much more preferable to gathering in my opinion).
The first task in the instructions for the Naomi Dress is to create the straps. This took me longer than the construction of the rest of the dress! The straps are very long and the issue I had was turning them right sides out because I found that the stitches were popping as I pulled the inside through. After a few failed attempts I considered using ribbon instead but even though it looked very neat you couldn't tie a secure bow with it - there was no friction to the ribbon so you couldn't tie a tight bow - these straps hold the whole dress up so it needs to feel secure!
I made it work, in the end, by leaving both ends of the strap open and trimming the seam allowance very closely to the stitches. I then used a safety pin attached to one end to turn the tube right sides out, pulling it through very very slowly. I just knotted the end of the strap rather than trying to sew it closed. For the side loops I used ribbon as I thought the dress fabric would stretch out too much.
The rest of the Naomi Dress construction was very straightforward and quick. I used my sewing machine for the seams and finished the edges with my serger to prevent any over stretching. The elastic casing at the back is very easily constructed although I cut my elastic shorter than recommended as I didn't want the back to dip too low (and flash my knicks!!!!!).
Final Thoughts: This is a cute dress to make and as a maxi dress would be great for a summer wedding.