A Review of The Valentina Dress Pdf Pattern by Designer Stitch.
The Valentina Dress is a fabulous and stunningly unique design and is flattering, slimming and stylish on all figures. The draped front tie bodice along with the mock wrap skirt screams STYLE and SOPHISTICATION. The Valentina is all about feeling SASSY, SPIRITED and downright SEXY.
Source: Designer Stitch
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I bought The Valentina Dress last year when it was on sale along with some beautiful crepe fabric from Minerva Crafts. I printed out the pattern pieces and made a muslin of the bodice. Happy with the fit I experimented with the crepe fabric and found that I needed to order in some new needles to use with the finer crepe. However, as the weather got colder and we went into another lockdown I put The Valentina Dress aside to make more practical garments.
The Valentina Dress comes in UK sizes 6 - 30 which is full bust 32" - 56" and includes cup sizes B, C, D and DD (E). It is recommended for a very advanced beginner plus.
The Valentina Dress is a mock wrap dress with an asymmetrical front tie. There are two sleeve options: sleeveless bound armhole or a tulip shaped cap sleeve. It comes in two lengths: 60 cms or 75 cms and has a centre back zip.
Light to medium weight woven fabric with drape is recommended for The Valentina Dress such as:
The Valentina Dress Pdf comes in A0, A4, US Letter and Projector versions with Layers enabled.
I chose to make the short Valentina Dress with sleeves. You choose your pattern size using your high bust measurement and the instructions guide you through calculating your cup size. My upper bust puts me at a size 4 D cup whereas my waist and hips put me in a size 6. I wasn't sure how to grade between these sizes on the bodice piece because of the darts but Designer Stitch were quick to respond to my query. Here is their reply: "I want you to fold the dart out which means fold the lower dart leg up to the upper dart leg and pin to hold then draw from under arm at size 4 to size 6 at waist. Then cut along this line. Then unpin the dart and you will see that the dart end has been proved to follow the exact angle of the side seam." This process worked very well and is a very useful skill to know.
The pdf instructions for The Valentina Dress are well presented but there are occasional typos and sometimes the instructions aren't all that clear. I think Designer Stitch cater for the more experienced sewist so you aren't lead through every single step - it's assumed that you know what you're doing! Where this is most obvious is that there are no instructions regarding finishing the raw edges of The Valentina Dress. Some pattern designers will tell you where to do French seams, zig zagging or serging seams but these instructions do not. I found this a little frustrating because the recommended fabric is the type that frays easily and there are some fiddly areas of construction.
I inserted an invisible zip into the centre back of The Valentina Dress. I did not follow Designer Stitch's instructions, instead using the method demonstrated here. This is more time consuming but, for me, always gives the neatest most accurate finish.
Once the bodice and skirt pieces of The Valentina Dress are complete the rest of construction is quite straight forward. I did find that I had to ease the sleeves in though as I had excess fabric. To do this I sewed a basting stitch between the front and back notches on the sleeves and gathered it ever so slightly until I had the perfect fit for the armhole.
I used ready-made bias tape to finish the neckline and decided to run it straight across the opening at the front neck. I did this because I knew that the fabric would just flap open anyway. I added a button just for fun! However, after washing, the bias tape frayed really badly - I think I didn't sew close enough to the edge. I removed this bias and cut new from the original crepe fabric.
I'm happy with the finished fit of The Valentina Dress but I didn't enjoy making it! I found the construction fiddly and frustrating at times. Also, I couldn't get the settings on my sewing machine right so I'm unhappy with the quality of the stitching. I try really hard to get a professional finish on my hand-made garments but I don't feel I achieved that here. Perhaps I was being too over confident, thinking I could manage with a light-weight woven fabric. I'm not sure I'll make another Valentina Dress - I'll see how much wear I get out of this one. I have to admit that it is a very flattering design and I do love the colour and the fabric feels wonderful against the skin though.