Heather Makes the Pauline Dress in Lots O’ Linen

Hey y’all! It’s finally my chance to share a couple me-made versions of our latest pattern, the Pauline Dress. I always make our patterns at least twice during development; one during the testing phase, and then again once we’ve worked out the kinks. This time around, both of my Paulines are in linen, but I am also making a cozy fall version in a dense, warm cotton using an upcoming fabric from our shop, Core Fabrics.

Pauline was such a fun pattern to work on. We started it in the depths of lockdown last year, and it was such a hopeful design to develop during that difficult time. It really helped us to think about a world where you could actually get dolled up and wear a beautiful dress again, and thankfully that has actually been possible in Montreal with bars and restaurants open since the spring. This is exactly the kind of thing I want to wear after a year in sweat pants; romantic, dramatic, and loaded with character.

My first “test” Pauline was made using a washed linen from Blackbird Fabrics. It was a great choice since it has a nice heft and a lovely drape, which really sets off the drama of the puff sleeves and gathered skirt panel. I made this in the dead of winter while I was living alone in the woods at my cottage – it was weird to make something so elegant when the most exciting thing I was doing was driving to town to get groceries, but trust me, she has seen some serious action since then.

This Pauline was made before we made final tweaks to the pattern and I found the square neckline a bit too wide. I ended up taking out a little extra dart at center front to get it to lay flat against my chest. This actually worked super well since the fabric is pretty drapey, so if you find you have the same problem and have already cut your good fabric, this is one way to salvage it.  It creates a touch of volume around the bust but in a drapier fabric it’s not super noticeable unless you take out quite a bit of width. You can also make the bust darts a touch wider if you like.

For my second Pauline, I wanted to make something a bit more casual, so I went for the mini skirt with the shorter sleeve. This time I was able to shop from Core Fabrics, and chose a lovely terra cotta linen (unfortunatrely it has since sold out, although we have a similiar weight in a lovely toffee colour).

This colour is definitely not something I would have gravitated towards a few years ago, but lately, I’ve really been loving these warm, earthy colours. I’m sure there is some kind of psychological connection with how grounding and stabilizing they are in a time of great uncertainty etc. etc. Whatever the reason, give me your mochas, taupes, terra cottas… I am here for it. Especially if it means I get to match my dog.

Looking at these pictures I think the neckline is still a touch too wide. I have a fairly narrow upper bust so this isn’t unusual for me. For my next one, I’ll be sure to remove the excess 1/4″ or so by slashing and spreading, and rotating out at center front. Regardless, I love this make and since it’s fully lined, I think I can get more wear out of it this fall with tights and boots; I always try to make linen season drag out as long as humanly possible.

You might notice a scenery change as well! Those windows behind me are in our new conference room. We found them at an architectural salvage shop and had a long journey to get them installed and painted, but it certainly gives our big white box of a studio some character. We’ll be sharing a tour of our new space pretty soon, and I’m excited to show you where the sausage is getting made… it’s a pretty huge upgrade for us and has made coming into work every day a true delight!

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Pauline Dress
from $16.00
Core Fabrics

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Hi! I'm Heather Lou, a pattern designer and sewing educator for the modern maker. At Closet Core Patterns, we transform your imagination into step-by-step implementation that helps you create a wardrobe you love - not one you're limited to buying off the rack.

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