A Review of the Updated Trillium Dress Pdf Pattern by Made-by Rae.
(Formally known as the Washi Dress.)
I have owned the original Trillium Dress (formally known as The Washi Dress) PDF pattern from Made-by-Rae for a few years now and have made three dresses from the pattern. I blogged about it here. I was surprised to receive an email this week with an updated version!
The Trillium Dress has been updated with a new size range and additional bodice pieces for fuller busts. The original Trillium Dress was sized for bust measurements 32 - 44" while the updated version goes up to bust size 59". There are also two bodice pieces to choose from - either bust A/B or bust C/D. In the original Trillium Dress the pockets were part of the main skirt pattern which made it super neat and easy to sew the side seams but did create more fabric waste. The updated Trillium Dress has the pockets as separate patterns pieces.
I found the original instructions for the Trillium Dress easy and clear to follow but they have been further improved with a new 'Choose your size' and 'Adjust your pattern' section as well as more hints and alternative options.
It was a surprise to me when I printed out the updated Trillium Dress that they have chosen not to include the PDF Layers Feature of Adobe Acrobat. With the majority of pdf patterns you can use the Layers Feature to turn off the sizes that you do not want to print out. If you like to print out all the sizes you have that option too. Without the Layers Feature enabled all the sizes print out - wasting ink and making it more of a challenge to cut out or trace the actual size you want.
I didn't make a FBA when I made my original Trillium Dress - its quite a forgiving fit and because I didn't add any shirring or elastic at the back, the extra fabric allowed it to fit across the bust. With the updated version I measured myself again and concluded that the C/D bodice should give me the optimum fit. This bodice has darts at the waist as well as the sides to add shaping which I thought was a nice touch. They have also given this bodice a slightly lower neckline to complement the proportions.
Recommended fabric for the Trillium Dress is a light to medium-weight woven cotton or cotton blend such as voile, lawn, double gauze, quilting cotton, poplin, chambray or rayon challis. I chose to use a medium-weight cheap cotton in the hopes of creating a wearable muslin.
The Trillium Dress is described as:
... a sweet dress or top featuring a cut-out scoop neckline, pockets and shirring in the back for an easy, comfortable fit. Choose from two lengths (dress or top), scoop or cut out neckline, and sleeveless or cap sleeves to create a number of different styles. No zippers or closures are needed, making this a wonderful project for the confident beginner or intermediate sewist!
I chose to make the dress version with cut-out scoop neckline, pockets and cap sleeves. Construction is straight forward enough and the instructions are very clear and easy to understand. The front skirt has pleating and is sewn to the front bodice at the empire line.
The side darts on the bodice are quite big therefore they have to be cut out rather than just folded back. I serged the resulting raw edges of the darts as I thought the woven fabric would fray quite a lot. I'm not sure about the finish of these darts - I have steamed and pressed them but they do not lie as flat as I would like.
The cut-out scoop neckline of the Trillium Dress is the feature that initially attracted me to the design - it just gives it that something a bit different. Its worth remembering not to cut out the scoop shape from your fabric until AFTER you have sewn the bodice to its corresponding facing. I chalked my seam line onto the fabric around the curve to make sure it was neat and even. You also have to notch this seam quite a lot so that the neckline sits nice and smooth when you turn it out.
I have tried shirring many times without success but this time I thought I would read a few more tutorials and watch more videos and practice on scrap fabric. It does seem to be that the settings required are variable - depending on your sewing machine, fabric and even elastic used. What worked for me in the end, was to hand wind the elastic onto the bobbin without any tension. The instructions in the Trillium Dress tutorial suggest tightening up the bobbin but this didn't work for me. After experimenting I found that if I left my main tension at standard (5) and stitch length a bit longer than usual (4) I actually had success and could do some shirring! This gives a neat finish to the back and I'm pleased I persevered with it this time.
Once the side seams were sewn up I tried the dress on to check the fit - it fits well and is actually a bit looser than I expected but looking at the official pattern pictures I think it is meant to be a more relaxed fit. I chose to take 1.5" off the length - I might remove this from the paper pattern pieces before cutting fabric next time to that I still have the original width around the hem.
I chose to add the cap sleeves as I like the overall look to the bodice that they give - sort of subtle shoulder pads. They are a little bit fiddly to sew around the curve so I took my time ensuring that none of the fabric got caught up. With my previous Trillium Dress I serged the raw edges of the armhole after attaching the sleeve and then folded it back and topstitched. This time I used bias tape to finish the raw edges. I made a few attempts to get nice even stitching around the bias tape. I found a sewing foot in my collection that I have never used before - the 1/4" patchwork foot - this worked great as my bias tape was 1/4" once folded - I could get a really neat stitch line close to the edge.
I had previously purchased the Expansion Pack for the Trillium Dress which included sleeve, collar, and bow pattern pieces, along with detailed instructions for lining, elastic casing and gathering instead of pleats. Currently the Expansion Pack has not been updated and therefore can't be used with the updated Trillium Dress. This is a little disappointing. I will have to investigate how to adapt the pieces so they are compatible with the updated Trillium Dress.
Final Thoughts: I am happy with the updated Trillium Dress and feel that it is a better fit for me. I may make another if I find a woven that catches my eye. I'm disappointed that the Expansion Pack hasn't been updated though.