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Gemma’s Frida Dress

In March Gemma received the Luxury boxes and paired the Dashwood Studio viscose with the pattern included, the Emporia Patterns Frida Dress

Opting for a Luxury Box gives you the bonus of receiving patterns as well as fabric, which are often new releases and companies that perhaps you might not have seen or thought to try before. The idea is that the fabric and pattern are a perfect match, and this month’s combo looked like it would work really well, so I wanted to give it a try. 

The pattern is a new-to-me company – Emporia Patterns, an indie company based in Kent. The ‘Frida Dress’ is a loose fitting dress with a full gathered skirt that hangs from the bust, so perfect for viscose fabric. I like the look of the large patch pockets on the front skirt, as they are very handy for holding essentials. It looks like a great summer staple, and can also be made as a top. 

Having not sewn an Emporia pattern before I was looking forward to seeing what another indie company pattern was like, and as a big Frida Kahlo fan anything labelled ‘Frida’ gets a thumbs up from me!

The fabric this month is a gorgeous block coloured viscose, with lots of drape. It’s wonderfully soft, and my favourite type of fabric to work with! There were two colour ways available and I received the green/blue version. The colours really gave me a 60’s vibe, slightly reminiscent of vintage London underground seat colours! Such a simple print seemed like a great pairing with the pattern, to fully show off the colours.

First impressions of the pattern seemed promising – I love that the pattern sheets are colour coded for each size, as that made tracing out super easy. I was a little confused that the only measurement to go by is bust size (especially as I was in between sizes) but having sewn it up I see the only fitting area is the bust, as the rest of the dress is quite voluminous. I decided to go with the size 18, to make sure it had more than enough room.

Construction wise the dress is pretty simple – the top is a split panelled yoke on the front with grown on sleeves, so not many pieces to cut out, making it great for beginners. I do feel the instructions could have added a few extra steps that were not mentioned, for example finishing the bottom edge of the facing before attaching to the dress, which you may not automatically think of (I certainly did not until after I attached it, and had wished I did!).

I also think it could have shown attaching the bodice to the skirt, as you may not know how to line up the front split with the gathering. But other than that it is so simple and I really enjoyed pulling it together in a couple of hours.

However once finished… I wasn’t in love with it. I love the fabric, and so felt slightly disappointed when trying it on with how it hung on me, as I feel the dress style didn’t suit my curvier figure as much as I had hoped it would. 

Having such a high bust/skirt line means it is very loose fitting and doesn’t have any shaping and although that makes it super comfortable I found it too ‘smock’ like and didn’t flatter my shape. However styling it with a belt at my natural waist really pulled it together, and although not how the pattern may be intended I much prefer the fit it gives me. 

I do think it is a great pattern though, and can see it working as a great wardrobe staple for lots of people. I may make another one as long as I consider pulling it in at the waist, but I think I will be more likely to give the top version a go, as I think paired with jeans it would be great! 

This is one of the reasons why I love receiving a mystery box – it gives you the chance to try something new and experiment with different styles, fabric and patterns, and although not everything may work out how you think it will, there are always lessons to learn and new things to try! I am glad I made it, as I know it will get a lot of wear during the summer!