A couple of weeks ago I received an email from Deer and Doe to review their newly released Passiflore coat dress.
I was immediately on board because the first pattern I made when I discovered the whole world of indie pattern sewing was the Myosotis dress. I had a blast making the Passiflore. It was the first time I attempted a notched collar and let me tell you, I am so proud of this make!
The Passiflore is a gorgeous light-weight coat dress with princess seams. It can be worn closed in a wrap-style with a belt that has D-rings attached, or it could be worn open and serve as the perfect transitional piece during months like Spring and Autumn.
It comes primarily in 3 views – a shirt length, a knee length and a maxi length. The sleeve pieces are designed to be mixed and matched. They have included other variations in their instructions, which is pretty awesome. I wanted my knee-length version so have short sleeves, so that is the one I opted for. In future I’m definitely going to make one with long sleeves, especially now that winter is on the horizon for us folk here in the southern hemisphere.
I’m obsessed with the aesthetic of this coat dress. It has a vintage nod yet looks so modern when paired with a fabric like the one I chose. It’s the perfect wardrobe staple to add to your collection. I can see myself getting a lot of wear out of this dress, especially when it’s worn as a layering piece as I’ve done in my photoshoot. If you scroll further along you can see what it looks like when all buttoned up and tied with the belt. I am inlove!
I’ve chosen this this deliciously drapy and lightweight Euro Linen fabric from Studio47 in Brackenfell. I bought this last year, but they have since sold out, unfortunately. I’m so glad I had enough for the version I chose to make (View B with short sleeves). I had about 3 meters. It may have been just about enough for the long sleeves version, but I wasn’t going to risk it. I had a quite a decent remnant left over which I’m going to use for a scrap-busting sewing project.
Other supplies required for this project includes light-weight fusible interfacing, buttons, and D-rings. I had a couple of these in my stash, but they were not the right size, so I ended up adjusting the width of the belt accordingly. Sometimes you just gotta make do with what you have, especially during this lockdown where supplies are not readily available.
The digital PDF pattern size range goes from 34 to 52. You can view the sizing guidelines on the Deer and Doe website for more details, but to give you an idea, and using the full bust as a reference point, the bust size range is 31½ inches (80cm) – 45⅝ (116cm). My bust size is currently 35 inches (89cm), but due to my pear-shaped body type, I chose to go for a straight size 40 and it turned out to be perfect for me.
Before sewing the final garment, I first made a wearable toile in a viscose. After trying it on, I was actually quite impressed with the fit. I didn’t have to make any adjustments. Usually I’d grade out my hips to a larger size, but I was very happy with the overall fit, so I just went for it.
I was aware that the pattern was rated a level 4/5 by the designer, which basically means it is a project for an advanced sewist. I am by no means an advanced sewist. I like to think of myself as an advanced beginner, maybe a bit more intermediate, but I’ve never been the kind of person to say no to a sewing challenge like this.
I’ve sewn so-called “advanced” projects waaay back in the beginning when I started sewing without knowing they were even considered advanced. It’s always been in me to try and up skill, no matter how hard something may be. What’s the worst that could happen… I mess up some fabric? There’s always more fabric! Bottom line, I never pass up an opportunity to learn something new, and I did!
Although the instructions are clear with diagrams at each step, compared to other patterns I’ve worked with I could tell that this pattern was not created for a beginner. There is prior knowledge assumed. For example, stay stitching necklines and curves, using tailor’s tacks and hand-sewing lock stitches to anchor your pieces when matching seams before doing the final sewing.
The first few steps are to interface your garment. This project requires quite a bit of interfacing and you need about 1 yard or meter of lightweight fusible interfacing. I have a huge stash of black, white and grey fusible interfacing (thank goodness), so I chose grey for this fabric. Since there is lots of prep work involved (i.e. cutting, markings, interfacing, etc), my advice would be to do what I did. I spent a Sunday evening doing all the prep work, I even threaded my overlocker and sewing machine, so that the next day all I had to do was put it together!
I have to be honest, I was stuck on the steps where I had to attach the collar. It was really confusing for me as a “beginner”, and I actually cried just a little bit. After consulting with my husband, we both decided I should adopt my usual “wing it” approach. So I simply decided to wing the collar and somehow it just worked!
I’m someone that follows my intuition almost all of the time. I’m not a recipe follower (which is why I suck at baking), and I generally don’t read instructions – I like to figure things out as I go along. That’s what I love most about sewing. At the end of the day, you’re given all these clues and reference points in the instructions – the notches, the shapes, etc, and if you just go with it in a logical way, it’s going to turn out fine! That’s how I’ve always done it, anyway.
I hardly used my overlocker. The only visible seams are the side seams and armholes. There’s some hand-sewing involved in this garment – e.g. when you attach the inside facing to the front of the garment along the princess seams. I did the hand-sewing on my wearable toile, but I was too lazy to do it on my final garment. I ended up using fusible webbing (like a heat’n bond) instead. We’ll only know if it’s fine after I throw my dress in the wash. But it’s okay, I could always hand-sew it later on, so I’m not too worried about it!
After the collar, the rest of the garment was pretty easy to follow. When it came to attaching the buttons and buttonholes… that’s when I had to really just take my time and breathe. Buttons and buttonholes freak me out in general, because once that button hole is there, you can’t go back!
Thankfully there are lots of markings on the pattern, so I simply followed those. I also hung my dress on my dress form and followed the way my garment was hanging/draping to determine the exact spots for the buttons and buttonholes. I took my sweet time with this, and although it’s not nearly as perfect as I would have liked it to be, I think it turned out pretty good, if I may say so!
I have learned A LOT while working on this project, so I thought it would be fun to list everything in bite sized bullet points here. I’m also going to include some notes I have taken while working my way through this project in the hopes that it might be of use to you too!
- Even though the pattern has 3 primary views, Deer and Doe has included other variations as well as the fabric requirements for those, giving you a good idea of how much fabric you will need when coming up with your own combinations – making mixing and matching a breeze! I thought this was really handy.
- The sizing charts included in the pattern are in inches. I have a printable where I have listed all my measurements in both inches and centimeters, so if you haven’t already, please visit my FREE resource library to download the Body Measurements Template for yourself.
- I loved that the designer has taken into consideration the pattern assembly layout. You will only print what you need. For example the sleeves are in separate files, which means less paper wastage! For the version I chose (i.e. Version B with short sleeves), I had to print Sheet 1ABC which was 33 pages, and sheet 2AC which was 6 pages. Total pages printed for this garment was 39 pages… less than what I normally would print, which goes to show you that the designer has taken the time to think about the layout and not have much white space which ends up wasting paper. This made me super happy.
- I also loved the way the A4 pattern pages were numbered. I’m not going to reveal what it is here, but let’s just say I love being able to know when the next row starts, and the designer has certainly made that easy for me!
- The PDFs are layered so you only need to print your size. I always appreciate this feature, especially when I have to grade between sizes. It’s less confusing than having millions of lines everywhere.
- Make a muslin/wearable toile/test version first, especially when tackling more advanced projects like this. I found that taking my time on my toile, making mistakes and figuring things out there, made my final garment construction process a lot smoother and more pleasurable. Plus, I now have two dresses!
- Don’t forget to transfer all markings from the pattern to your fabric pieces. As mentioned before, there are a lot of markings and if you don’t do these ahead of time, you’re going to kick yourself later.
- Don’t over press your fabric. I think I may have gone to town with mine because I noticed my fabric stretched out a little in certain places. Use a pressing cloth and some steam if needed.
- If an instruction doesn’t make sense to you, just breathe, and use your common sense.
If you have been sewing for a while and you’re up for a challenging sewing project – this is a great one to go for. There are some tricky bits, I’m not gonna lie, but I pushed through and persevered and it was so worth it! I think as long as you make a wearable toile, something you can use to “practice” on you will be fine. Take your time working through the instructions and you will be successful. I’m definitely going to be making this pattern again. There’s so many variations, why wouldn’t I?
There is a post on the Deer and Doe blog with all the reviews for the #ddpassiflore. There are some stunning variations of this dress that are so inspiring!
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