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I titled this blog post ‘Volume’ because just look at those sleeves.  The Vali Dress & Top is the latest offering from Pattern Fantastique.  The PDF pattern was released yesterday, and paper copies of the pattern and pre-orders for garments will be available mid-March.

We’ll be stocking the hard copy patterns at work, so message The Cloth Shop on Instagram or Facebook if you’d like to have one put aside for you.

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Nita- Jane, the drafting genius behind Pattern Fantastique, is a dear friend of mine and I sewed this Vali Top during the testing phase.  The only drafting change between my top and the final pattern relates to bust ease.  The final pattern has 3/4″ (2cm) more ease in this area than my top.

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I amended the pattern to accommodate my forward shoulder, which is a standard alteration for me.  I was a bit worried about the high neckline, so I used a 3/8″ (1cm) seam allowance instead of the suggested 1/4″ (6mm) for this area.  I’m pleased to report that with this minor change the neckline is really comfortable.  I love it when following your intuition works!

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The Vali Dress/Top has two different options for the font split.  You can either choose the ‘standard neckline’ (like I have) or the ‘drop neckline’ which is lower and has two with two ties.
Vali Dress & Top PDF Pattern
Line Drawing Source: Pattern Fantastique

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Now back to those glorious sleeves.  To maximise the sleeve drama you’ll need to set aside some time to discover, using my old friend trial and error, the elastic measurement that suits your arms.  The pattern includes suggested elastic lengths for each size, but I encourage you to thread the elastic through the casting, secure the elastic with a safety pin and try on your top/dress.  What you are looking for is an elastic length where the sleeve comfortably sits on a fleshy part of your upper arm and allows the sleeve to billow over the top.  If you raise your arms above your head, and then put them by your side, you might just have found the elastic sweet spot.  Try it and let me know.

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The front and the back body ‘skirts’ are hemmed before the side seam is sewn.  This method of construction allows for the hem to come into a satisfying sharp intersection at the side seams.  The seam allowance is shaped so it does not peek out and is also top-stitched to the back body of the garment to keep it in place.  Little details like this make me so happy!

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Let’s talk about this glorious orange seersucker… or ripple cloth as the Japanese sometimes refer to it as.  I’m sure you won’t be surprised to hear it’s from The Cloth Shop.  This ‘feathering’ print is available in three colourways – orange, green and a blue remnant.  Next time, and yes, I predict there will be one, I’m keen to sew Vali in linen.

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This is not a quick sew, there are lots of gathers and precision sewing is required in places, but it’s highly satisfying project and I just fall in love with this top a little bit more every time I put it on.

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Pattern:  Pattern Fantastique’s Vali Dress & Top
Size:  10
Fabric:  Cotton seersucker from The Cloth Shop
Alterations:  3/8″ (1cm) forward shoulder adjustment and I used a 3/8″ (1cm) seam allowance on the neckline, rather than the suggested 1/4″ (6mm)
Outfit:  Denim shorts from Cotton On, my favourite mustard wedges and a Trovelore brooch from Tiffany Trelour
Photo Location: Eastern Suburbs, Melbourne

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  • Love your brooch as the finishing touch! I have the Mersis pattern which I haven’t started sewing yet but just fell in love with when I saw it. I have been hanging out for this one so thank you for the review. Can’t wait to see your linen version.

    • Thanks Ingrid. With summer disappearing quickly and the autumn cool upon us here in Melbourne, I think a linen Vali will be added to my 2021/22 Spring/Summer to sew list.