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Hinterland Sew-Off and Pattern Review

Several weeks ago, when Tori of The Doing Things Blog and Sara of The Sara Project announced the Hinterland Sew-Off, honestly, I wasn’t super-pumped. I was feeling kind of overwhelmed by the projects I had lined up for the fall, and wasn’t interested in buying any new patterns. They were hosting a giveaway of the pattern (by Sew Liberated) on Instagram, so I entered, because I thought it was a pattern I would want to make at some point in time.

I forgot about the sew-off, until I won the pattern giveaway (yay!). Still, I didn’t think I’d get to be a part of the Instagram challenge, as the pattern was being mailed to me from the States and I didn’t expect it to arrive with enough time for me to meet the challenge deadline. Spoiler: It did. It arrived by courier 4 days before the challenge was scheduled to end.

Once I had that pattern in my hands, I knew I had to make one.

I am not exaggerating here – I got started immediately. Within 6 hours of opening the package, I had the fabric cut out and ready to go (luckily I had this lovely Cotton+Steel rayon in my stash already washed and it just needed a quick press). I didn’t even bother with a muslin – I did a hasty tissue fit to make sure everything seemed to be in order and moved right along.

I made a few changes to the pattern that used up more fabric than I would have normally used. It was actually very satisfying to see a small pile of cut bits remain after moving away all the pattern pieces. It was tight, fitting it all in to 3.5 yards of 44″-wide rayon. I opted for a facing rather than a bias-bound neckline, and even squeezing that out was tight. But I did it.

I followed Sara’s instructions for hacking the sleeve to make a bishop-style sleeve, but I reduced the fullness quite a bit. I wanted more of a subtle “poof” in the sleeve, since my fabric already has quite a detailed pattern. As Sara did, I also raised the neckline (by 2″) and made the bodice without a button placket. In an effort to copy the style of a RTW dress I own and love, I added a 1″ waistband along the bottom of the bodice – I sewed the waist ties into the waistband, rather than into the main bodice pieces.

I was a little concerned when I tried on the bodice (I like to try on after every step of sewing – I’m impatient to see how it’ll look before it’s finished) – the darts didn’t look right at all. I hoped the fabric print would hide it and I could still get away with wearing it. Once the skirt was sewn on, it added some weight to the dress and the darts “grew” – and they ended up looking fantastic! I do think that if I make this dress again in something stiffer like a cotton (which I already have in mind), I would have to do some sort of bust dart adjustment. Also, like some people commented on Instagram, this dress needs a major forward-shoulder adjustment for me. This is a change I always need with Big Four patterns and only with some indie patterns, so when I sew indie patterns I always wrongly assume this isn’t change I always need to make. So next time, I definitely need to make that fix.

I honestly didn’t have high expectations for this dress. I always feel unsure about boxier dresses, and even though the Hinterland looks great on so many other sewists on Instagram, I wasn’t sure it would suit on me. Once I added those waist ties and cinched everything in the back – I was in love. The bishop sleeves were the clincher for me. I am crazy about this dress. I stared at it and stared at it when I finished it.

I love how many variations of this dress can be made and the hacking possibilities it has (I’ve already considered trying a version with a gathered waist or elastic-cinched waist). I would love to make one with a button-placket when summer rolls around again. Once I get the right alterations down, oh baby, the possibilities are endless!

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