with pockets! but i didn’t want to overdo the alliteration. oh my, are you guys ever in for a treat. april rhodes has done it again. here is yet another pattern very suitable for beginning seamstresses that turns out a fun, sophisticated, comfortable, versatile wardrobe piece in just a matter of hours. thank you april…oh, how i LOVE this dress.
you may remember how i wriggled my way into pattern testing for april over the summer. in my mind, this made us familiar enough that it was totally appropriate to route a road trip this fall directly though her hometown of columbus, and also impose on her to open her mom’s adorable shop on a sunday just so i could lay eyes on it. i’m bold, i know.
anyhow, most of you already know, either from reading here or following her blog, she is an absolute delight. during our memorable visit in her mom’s cozy little shop, april donned an early version of this very peplum, and we chatted about her budding pattern development plans. you may or may not have noticed my affinity for peplums (here, and here)…i am constantly looking for ways to hack a tank into something skirted, flirty, and charming, but with only moderate success. when april asked if pattern testing was something i was still interested in (wait let me check YES), i started sending her brainwaves to polish off the peplum.
and by brainwaves, i mean very suggestive texts about how excited i was to make a peplum, complete with several photos of potential fabric choices. she might now wish she never volunteered her phone number, but it’s too late.
after clinching my spot on the pattern testing team (honestly, one of the coolest things i get to do, ever) i got my copy just two days before art fair opening night. art fair was going to kill my friday-sunday, and david was working overnights all weekend. if i wanted to get this baby sewn and photographed, i would have to really commit and make it my premier outfit, snapping some shots en route (hence the gloomy lighting). and you guys, she made it very easy.
in this pattern, you can expect everything you’ve come to know and love about april rhodes designs. clear, thorough instructions. step by step photos. tips and tricks for bias neck and armholes, curved hems, etc. see that awesome, giant skirt that had me leaping and twirling all over town? she even includes two ways to cut the pattern so you can still get the full circle skirt even out of 45″ of width, as my fabric was. hurrah!
this fabric that i’m kind of obsessed with is actually from sew to speak! i had to break my fabric fast in that lovely and well appointed shop, and these days it’s very difficult for me to resist a plaid. i had it slated for yet another plaid tova (really, can one ever have enough of those?), and this was *not* one of the nudging photo texts i sent april. but when i sat down to actually make the peplum, this fabric totally called out to me. not only did i suddenly, desperately need a plaid peplum (and i implore you, who does *not* need a plaid peplum?), but how perfect that april herself helped me select the fabric?! meant to be.
it came out better than i could have imagined. by the grace of the sewing gods, i somehow managed even on a really tight time table to match print better than ever before–i bet you didn’t even know there was a seam down the center front and back of the skirt. i made the dress version (the pattern also comes with a shirt variation), and i love the oh-so-april way the hem drops in the back for subtle drama. i love the fullness and movement of the skirt when you walk (or prance), and the nice drape when you’re standing still. you’ve also surely noticed by now that i added some in seam pockets, because…why would i not? with no closures and only two darts (waist, not bust! so easy!!), i spent 7 minutes making a bodice muslin as recommended, didn’t change a single thing, and proceeded with zero issues until it was done just a few hours later.
this pattern is incredibly versatile. you can make either a shirt or a dress, and the dress can be worn layered in the fall and winter as it is here, or i could totally see it in an airy voile or a slinky rayon for the summer. you could take in the side seams and add a zipper for a more tailored look. and, wouldn’t a peter pan collar be totally adorable?! you also could really dress it up with a nice, drapey black fabric–with that skirt, it’s begging to go dancing, right? i will be making this one again. and again. and…again.
anyhow, i continue to be really impressed with april’s talent for creating approachable, simple patterns that make new seamstresses feel confident, but equally appeal to the more experienced for their ease and amazing style. she’s got a real niche in the market and i so appreciate her work. what’s more…she appreciates YOURS. having had the pleasure of meeting april in person, i can confidently say she is a humble, creative perfectionist with fears and insecurities just like you and me. she looks at EVERY picture and reads EVERY story of any garment created from one of her patterns, and every single one means so much to her and inspires her to go on creating. you are adding so much to our crafting community by supporting her small but mighty business ventures, so she can in turn support her two adorable girls and continue creating amazing things for us to sew. i am always eager to see what she comes up with next…what a great service to home seamstresses, right? thank you, april! now all of you hurry and snatch up one of these! i want to see a flickr pool and ig feed full of swingy, sparkly, metallic, festive peplums for the holidays!