All Your Sylvie Dress Questions Answered!


Okay, so I don't actually know what all your Sylvie Dress questions are, because she's only been out for two days, but I can make a pretty good guess as to what some of your questions are! So here is what I think you're wondering and my answers to the questions...

Does Sylvie fit just like the Emery?
No. This is not the Emery Dress, even though Sylvie has a fit and flare shape option, the two dresses are 100% drafted differently and all the important shaping details are in completely different places. I do start all patterns from the same block, but no two patterns are the same and therefore no two patterns are going to fit the same. The ease is different, the shape is different, one has sleeves and one doesn't, and on and on...

Do I need to make a muslin if I already fit into size X in the Emery?
Yes. Read the above paragraph! This is not the Emery, nor does it fit like the Emery, so please for the love of god, MAKE A MUSLIN!!! Was that clear enough? ;) Please, make a muslin!

How is Sylvie different from the Emery?
Sylvie has three small bust darts under each breast unlike one bust dart from the side seam and another dart coming up from the waist on the Emery. Also, Sylvie has no upper back neck darts, but rather has a shaped center back seam. They do both however have upper back darts from the waist, but because Sylvie has a wide waistband, they will hit at slightly different places. Sylvie has a seam directly under the bust and Emery does not. The skirt on View A of the Sylvie is a dirndl (a giant rectangle) where the gathered skirt on the Emery is an a-line shape. Emery has a fully lined bodice, where Sylvie is only lined at the waistband. Also, Sylvie has a pencil skirt option, where Emery does not. And the Sylvie was drafted to be sleeveless, which anyone who has made the Emery without sleeves knows, is not the same as drafting for a bodice with sleeves.

In short, there are many differences and they are not the same. So again, make a muslin and see how the fit is different on your body before just cutting into your expensive/rare/vintage/heirloom fabric!

Are you going to do a sew-along for the Sylvie?
No... there's something even BETTER in the works for this dress! But I can't tell you more about that just yet. But yes, you will be able to watch me put it together! hint hint...

Are you going to do a FBA and SBA post for this dress?
Well, I'm not, but my pal Devon will be! Both of us are fleeing to Europe right now, but when she's back in early July, she will be doing posts for both of those adjustments for my blog. So if you're interested in that, it is coming!

Why did you make the neck and armhole binding one giant piece for all sizes, instead of sizing it for each pattern size?
Because this way, you can raise and lower both the neckline and armhole with no domino effect to the binding pieces. Both are just trimmed to fit, so you can change either one as much as you like! I really wanted to make this dress polished, yet easy and un-fussy, so facings, linings, and bias pieces were used as minimally as possible. And this allows me to use one set of instructions for either handmade or pre-made binding.

Can I use pre-made bias binding or piping? 
Absolutely! For the contrast white piping on the sample of View B and inside all four of the samples, I used pre-made bias binding and pre-made piping. The orange piping on the other sample of View B was made to match the dress to illustrate how elegant that looks. But yes, you can 100% absolutely use pre-made binding and piping.

If I use pre-made bias binding or piping, will this reduce the yardage required?
Yes! And by a lot! Both the binding and the piping are cut on the bias, so it eats a ton of fabric. If you are going to use pre-made binding or piping, I suggest cutting out all your pieces and see how much yardage you can reduce based on your size. I wanted to give everyone the option to make their own and include that into the yardage, because I hate thinking I bought enough fabric to make my binding for a dress, only to remember after the fact that the pattern designer didn't include that into the yardage! DOH! But if you don't want to make it, no worries!

If I am using non-directional fabric like a solid, can I get less fabric?
Yep! I lay out my pattern pieces all in one direction so no matter what your print purchased, the yardage will work. But this is an unlined dress with just a bodice front and back, waistband front and back, and skirt front and back, so it really doesn't take that much fabric if you lay your pieces out non-directionally and if you skip the handmade bias binding or piping. This can be made with much less yardage in that scenario. But just in case you have a directional print fabric and you want to make your own binding, I want to make sure you've purchased enough fabric so that's the way I figure out the yardage on the back of the envelope.

Can I blend from size to size?
Absolutely! Because the intersecting seams are only at the waist and there are no side seam darts, you can easily make the upper part of the dress to a smaller size, then simply cut from one size to another between the armscye and the waistband. From there simply cut the waistband and skirt to match and you're all set!

I like the a-line skirt on the Emery more than the dirndl. Can I use that instead?
Yes! That's the wonderful thing about a gathered skirt, you can swap it out as much as you like! Because the gathering is just gathered to fit the waistband, you can absolutely swap out the Emery Dress skirt for the dirndl skirt on the Sylvie Dress if you prefer.

I would like my skirt less/more gathered. Can I do that?
Again, the joy of a gathered skirt is they are gathered to fit! So yes, want less gathering? No worries! Just cut the skirt to a smaller size and when you gather it to fit your waistband, there will be less gathering! And on the flip side, if you want more gathering, simply make it as wide as you want!

I love a pleated skirt. Can I make my skirt pleated?
Yes! Truth be told, I wanted to make this skirt pleated. However, that poses a lot of patternmaking issues when you get into sizes above 10 or so. Because the pleats eat so much fabric, the skirt would have to be pieced to make it wide enough for it to work on larger sizes, which is fine, but I really wanted to keep this dress as quick and simple as possible. Also, I loved the idea of featuring a border print, so gathering was a better choice for that. But if you want to pleat your skirt, it would be beautiful so go for it!

I see that the waistband and pockets on the gingham sample are on the bias. How'd you do that?
Simple! I cut them on the bias! There are grainlines on these two pieces that allow you to line them up on the bias. The pocket can also be used on the crossgrain as well so it can match your border print skirt. If you choose to use the waistband on the bias, it is stabilized by the use of the interfacing on the inside of the fabric. Also, I suggest cutting the interior waistband on the length of grain so it keeps its shape and provides the support on the interior of the dress.

The dirndl skirt isn't lined, so isn't that an issue with eyelet fabrics?
Sure, that can absolutely be an issue, so plan ahead if you are going to use a fabric that is see through. You can line the skirt and underline the bodice if you want to, easy peasy! But again, I wanted to keep this simple so I only lined the waistband for stability purposes, but this is your dress, so you can make it however you like!

What hashtag should I use?
I absolutely LOVE seeing your finished makes of my patterns, and I know other people do too, so please use the #sylviedress hashtag, and the #christinehaynespatterns tag is great too if you are so inclined! Before I make a pattern, I always search the web and hashtags to see how it looks on people, so it's not just for me to add this, as others want to see your finished makes too!

Who are your models?
My lovely models are my friends Liz and Tessa. They both have been modeling for me since my very first book, which we shot in 2008. We all met at that shoot and have since stayed friends! Liz is a brilliant songwriter and also acts, models, and sings too! She's a triple threat! Tessa is also an amazing talent as an in-demand DJ and can be found spinning at the hippest clubs and restaurants in LA, as well as weddings and special events too. Big hugs to these ladies for always stepping up when I need them!

Where did you get the fabrics and shoes for the Sylvie photos?
I purchased all the fabrics at The Fabric Store in Los Angeles. And the shoes are my own personal shoes, and are made by Sven Clogs.

Have a question I didn't answer? Ask me below in the comments and I'll answer it! 

EDIT: 
Two additional questions that have come up that all might like to know answers to:

The drawing waistband looks narrower than the sewn versions. Is this the case?
Yes and no. The drawing version is slightly narrower than the sewn versions, but also things can look very different when sewn up and put on a real body. I like my flat drawings to be as accurate as possible of course, and yes, the drawing does imply that the waistband is slightly narrower than the real version. For that, I sincerely apologize for any confusion! If you want to make the waistband a little thinner, this is very easy to do! The patterns for the waistband front and back have straight lines at the top and bottom. To narrow it, simply fold or cut and overlap the paper your desired amount, in the center of the piece. Do not change the top or bottom of the pieces, just slash it in the center, make your changes, and go from there with the top and bottom unaffected. If you need clarification on that, let me know!

Why didn't you add in-seam pockets to View B?
Because it is a fitted skirt, and the addition of in-seam pockets at the hip will add bulk to that area of your body. You can add them if you like, just make sure to choose a fabric that will glide easily inside the skirt, as there is not a lot of ease there for bulky pockets!