Since moving to Victoria, I rarely wear dresses. Gone are the warm winters of Queensland where I only need a dress, and maybe a cardigan to throw on. My beautiful summer dresses are still boxed up, waiting for that one warm, non-windy day to come out into the sunshine. And I NEVER wear low cut dresses due to the lack of erm...shall we say chest size? So the M4M Sylvia should be the one pattern I steer clear of right?
When M4M first put out the testing call, I was on the fence about it. But 2020 is the year of boobs and my year of experimentation because let's face it, what else can I do in lockdown?
The M4M Sylvia is a very versatile dress, with heaps of styles to mix and match from.
2 skirt styles: fitted/flared
4 dress lengths: mini / dress/ high low/ midi
5 sleeve styles: cap/ short/ three quarters/ long/ bishop
Truly a style for every occasion!
Date night? How about a bishop sleeve mini dress?
A fun night of dancing with the girls? Here's the high low flared hem, just perfect for swishing around!
And urgh, the work conference you have to attend at 8 am on a Sunday morning? Layer up with a cami paired with the long-sleeve midi fitted dress.
The Sylvia requires a fabric with good recovery, great drape and 40% stretch. Recommended fabrics include drapey cotton lycras, double brushed poly, liverpool, lightweight scuba and bamboo lycra.
Clear Elastic is recommended to stabilise the bust seam
Long Sleeve Midi Fitted Dress, in Single Brushed Poly
During the test, I was assigned this long sleeve midi. I'm 160cm, so I shortened it by an inch. I forgot to shorten the sleeves, hence the mild wrinkling you see. I have left it as due to sheer laziness for now but one day it will bug me and I will shorten it!
I fit squarely in size grey, which is good as I'm not very good at grading patterns for projector cutting in Inkscape yet. Oh, did I forget to mention there's a projector file? There are cup sizes suggested for each size, so you may need a small or large bust adjustment if you fall outside the cup size.
This dress fits me like a GLOVE! Please remind me not to wear it for a buffet, because I will be so conflicted on how much I can eat without a food baby LOL! First world problems my Spanx can solve, once I finally unpack it!
This will definitely look amazing with my heels on. Ah! Lockdown life, a time where makeup, heels and summer dresses stay packed up with nowhere to go.
Cap Sleeves High Low Flared Hem, in 170gsm cotton lycra
Construction-wise, I find it pretty straight forward, with the back cut in 2 pieces to help with shaping. The front has 3 pieces to it, and there are some short gathers under the bust area before attaching to the skirt. The neck has a binding, not a facing, and I had no issues at all.
Well, other than the bust seam. I won't lie, I struggled a bit with it. My red dress ended up an inch shorter than it should in the front because my serger ate more than it should while I was trying to fix Round 1 of mistakes. I would recommend basting it together with clear elastic before going to the serger, maybe even an extra round of basting before basting with a clear elastic.
Don't be overconfident like Kendall. Don't be Kendall and have a big hole in the centre of her dress. Don't be Kendall who swore like a sailor when that happened, just as Mom walked in the room. Sorry Mom, yes you did not raise the kind of girl who will say things like that.
Bishop sleeve mini flared dress, in rayon spandex
Overall, I would give the dress a 8/10 (my sewing level: beginner in clothes making). Love the fit, too much cursing at the bust seam. I am pleased to announce though that my third go (this floral dress) is a whole lot easier and I had no issues at all!
The Made for Mermaids blog even has some hacks to give you even more sleeve options, or turn it into a top or a bodysuit! I can even envision a bell sleeves version by omitting the sleeve bands and hemming the bishop sleeves.
Do you have a favourite date night dress pattern?
Paw five, Kendall and the Cubs