Sunday, April 23, 2017

Saldana Dress from Sew Sew Def Magazine

I'm always looking for a new maxidress style because I love them. They are a staple of my spring/summer wardrobe. So I was intrigued by the Saldana Dress in the inaugral issue of the digital sewing magazine Sew Sew Def.

Let's start out by stating that this is a digital/online magazine and the pattern is included as a pdf. Now y'all know I had to really want this maxidress to print out a pdf pattern for it!  I am a card-carrying, full-fledged member of the "No PDF Patterns" club, but as in most cases exceptions can be made.

Printing out and taping the pattern together ~
The printing for this pdf was pretty painless. The instructions provide excellent details on how to set your printer and print the test page. I was seriously impressed with these instructions because they didn't assume that you know "how" to change the settings on your printer. I always feel like I'm guessing when printing out a pdf pattern test page ~ another reason they don't really appeal to me. It seems more like luck when it works then skill. These instructions gave me a clear understanding of what to do.

My next challenge with pdf patterns is cutting the pages out and taping them together.  Now while there were some terrific tips making the process easy, I still am not a fan of this part of the process. As I spend an entire afternoon cutting and taping, I'm always aware that in the time spent I would have already alterated pattern. That's before I even get to the third step of the tracing the pdf pattern to make alterations to it. However, this is my challenge and no fault of the designer.

The Instructions ~
Honestly I was really impressed with the instruction sheet/package. I love it's appearance, it's easy to read and has a wonderful table of contents. Every piece of information you need to successfully complete this dress is in the package. The sewing instructions are clear with large easily understandable graphics. May I say again how impressed I was with the presentation!

Materials ~
- I used a lightweight borderprint scuba knit purchased from Chic Fabrics.
- White ITY knit from the collection
- Stay Tape to stabilize the shoulder seams

Pattern Alterations ~
This pattern goes up to a size 2X and while the hip circumference is wide enough for my hips I wanted a little more ease for my personal comfort. So I did a pivot and slide technique from the waist down to add 4 more inches to my hip area.

The other pattern alteration I made was to the sleeves because I have bodacious biceps and even though I'm using a knit, I needed more space. So after the sleeves were traced, I cut the sleeve from hem to the sleeve cap (leaving an inch) and then spread the sleeve. This gave me the additional space I needed. Then I traced off a new longer sleeve pattern.

Construction ~
I made this a considerably more challenging task by picking a borderprint scuba knit with a minimal amount of stretch...and with stripes to match.

The construction of the maxi is easy and the instructions are really good so I just followed the instructions. Although, I did end up taking a little of the width out of the skirt bottom because it wasn't hanging well.

Design Changes ~

This is where my version deviates from the pattern. One I used a scuba knit instead of an ITY knit or a knit that has the stretch recommended by the pattern. I have challenges wearing tightly fitted clothing and will always default to closely fitted.

The binding for my neckline is made from some white ITY knit from the collection. The scuba knit didn't have enough stretch so I used a fabric that did. 

I felt like I needed some of the color from the border in the top of the dress. All of that stripe manipulation was great but I needed something to tie the top and bottom of the dress together. That's why I added part of the border print to each of the sleeve hems and to fill in the v-neckline. The neckline was just a little too low for me, although to be fair, the pattern does state that it has a low cut v-neckline. 

My side slits are also sewn shut. I added enough fullness to the skirt that I can walk easily in the dress without them. Actually when I was thinking of sewing this, I never saw the side slits in my mind. These are the "design" changes I made to my version.

Pictures of the finished dress ~ 

Conclusion ~
Since the dress is supposed to be made from a knit fabric with a certain amount of stretch (which is clearly marked on both the pattern pieces and the pattern instructions) it can be constructed on your serger.  I did a combination of sewing machine and serger sewing. My initial stitching was on my sewing machine using the 1/4" setting because ALL of the seams are sewn with a 1/4" seam allowance. Another thing that's clearly marked everywhere, but I was grateful for the setting on my sewing machine and the sewing foot so I didn't have to remember. A wonderful feature of my machine since it's a quilters sewing machine!

If you bought this issue or subscribed to the magazine, the pattern is included. I do recommend that you download the pattern and make your own version. If you're on Instagram you can see more versions of the dress using the hashtag #saldana, #saldanamaxi, #thesaldana. 

I really like my maxidress but I probably won't use this pattern again. I have a couple more maxidress patterns I want to try this summer and a couple I want to revisit from last summer.

One last thing, I'm kinda proud of these pictures because I took them myself - even the ones outside on the deck! Next on my cutting table is a version of McCalls 7542 - that's what's up next! always more later!


  1. Great dress, and good job with the photos.

  2. 1. I love how you manipulated the fabric to fit your vision.
    2. The pics are great!!
    3. I love the detailed 'design' changes. That's a big help to people who want to straight up copy you :)

    Can't wait to see what's next. :) g

  3. Great photos and pretty dress. I really like your design features. Thank you for the alteration tips.

  4. I'm so happy to see someone sew up a Sew Sew Def pattern! I'm always curious when a new line comes out, and I'm hoping that this line fits my body type better than Seamwork! I'd love to see a review of the magazine itself, if you ever have time!

    1. Gillian - sure no problem. Don't know why I didn't think of writing a review before this. I think the pattern will work just fine for you. I think you can buy it without having the magazine subscription.

  5. Love your dress! I've just printed this out, too, but I was thinking of the color blocked tee for myself. I was pretty delighted to learnt that Designer Stitch had done the patterns for SewSewDef mag- her designs are well done and patterns easy to follow.

  6. I like your dress, I really like the stripes, adds a nice touch. I had a similar issue with the neckline. I also want to see what M7542 is all about, can't wait to see what you make. MadebyLaquana

  7. I love stripes and this is a fabulous use of your beautiful fabric. Thank you for the details of your alterations, which I always love and try to remember (also have bodacious biceps). The photos are great - I'd love to know how you set these up, so professionally.

  8. This dress is gorgeous! I really love how you have used your fabric - it is so eye-catching! This is the second review of this pattern - saw a top made from it that was very flattering also. I will definitely look this magazine up! By the way, I always cut up my pdf patterns while I watch tv or listen to audio books, etc. Sometimes that gets me in trouble, as I cut the wrong part or something, but I can always reprint that page which is what makes these patterns so great.

  9. This looks great on you. I bought a subscription to SewSewDef over the weekend and can't wait to try this out. Thanks for all the fitting and design inspiration.

  10. Looks good on you! I love the fabric and how you made this dress your own! You go girl!!

  11. As a customer service person who spends a lot of time making being a customer better, thanks for your notes on their PDF instructions. That's the hard part of the job, and good ideas are always great to read.

  12. This is a bold dress and design. I love it and I love it on you! Thank you for detailing what you did. My favorite part is actually the upper back portion with the interesting stripe arrangement and the border inset piece. I think this dress is a real winner.

  13. Love the bold stripes! Thanks for the review, I'm encouraged to go ahead and get started on a tunic-length Saldana. I really enjoyed the first issue of Sew Def and am not surprised that the PDF instructions are so thorough.

  14. I checked my wallet and I am one of those members also, Carolyn. Thanks for the insight that they help the tech limited people like me. Love how you used the fabric for this dress and thanks for introducing me to ANOTHER pattern company;-)

  15. the dress looks beautiful on you and i thank you for writing your alterations. I am new to altering patterns so i love to hear what others are doing

  16. in a word, AWESOME!!!! It looks absolutely smashing on you! Cindy (Creative Hormone Rush)

  17. Great dress Carolyn!Good idea adding some of the border to the back and sleeves. I understand your feelings on PDF's....not my favorite but I have succumbed to them as well.

  18. is the dress pattern available by itself anywhere?


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