Never Fira, Rachael's Here!
I recently took a trip to Florida to watch my best friend, Ed, get married. It was sure to be one heck of a good time. Two best friends, now living thousands of miles apart, seeing each other for the first time in years and meeting significant others for the first time – that’s a good time! So, when Ed texted me that his officiant canceled, a month before the big day, I immediately sent back:
“If all else fails, I gotchu 😘”
I didn’t think twice. My best friend had a problem so I had a solution. The next day, Ed had to double-check, “How serious would you be about officiating?” And again, without hesitation, “I would sew myself a dress in coordinating colors.” Alright, so I’m a month out from a wedding that I’m now officiating (a first for me) and I need to sew myself a dress. Time to get busy!
What to Make?
Flipping through our catalog of independent pattern companies, my eye was drawn to Liesl + Co patterns. Liesl Gibson, the incredible woman behind the brand, used to design for big-time fashion companies (such as Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger) before starting her own indie pattern company. The silhouettes in her patterns are classic and elegant while still being comfortable and easy to assemble – just what I was looking for!
One of her newest patterns, the Fira Dress & Top, called out as the winner. It included both dress and top views, plus separate pattern pieces for an A/B, C, and D cup! I saw myself making multiple iterations of this pattern, and no one at The Confident Stitch had made it yet so the whole team was excited to see how it would turn out! Now it was time to pick the fabric!
The Fira Dress is suitable for light- to medium-weight woven fabrics like voile, lawn, shirting, poplin, and linen! I had my eye on a trio of one-of-a-kind Hemp Silk blends that recently came through our door. Made by the Organic Cotton Plus company, these fabrics featured unique, custom-printed, geometric designs.
The wedding colors were teal and burnt orange, so I elected to make my Fira Dress out of the Heritage Organic Hemp Silk Blend in Blue. It shrank about 5% lengthwise with regular washing and drying, so – to combat any future shrinkage – I opted to follow my larger measurements and make a size 14 with the A/B cup top.
When laying out my pattern pieces, I was dismayed to discover that the custom geometric print wasn’t completely true to the crosswise grain of the fabric. This stopped me up short. If I cut the pattern pieces on grain, then the print would be slightly off kilter and visa versa. I fussed over each piece for an evening, feeling defeated, and vented my frustrations at work the next day. Kate took a look at the fabric and assured me that, once it was all sewn up, no one would notice that the print was slightly off. The most important thing was that I cut my pattern pieces on grain.
Okay. I needed that little push. I took some breaths and started cutting out my pattern pieces. No pattern matching, not perfectly symmetrical, but I was making progress. Progress over perfection, right?! Next, I pin fit the pattern pieces with Kate’s help and we were both happy with the overall fit. Time to get sewing!
A Push in the Right Direction
If you are hesitant to try a new indie pattern company, I encourage you to try a Liesl + Co pattern. The instructions are clear and thorough, plus the pictures are great if you’re a visual learner. Liesl also includes helpful tips whenever possible to save you a little time and hassle. I followed each tip along the way and found the overall process to be quick and smooth!
The Fira Dress is recommended for beginners, (which we refer to as our Up & Coming Stitchers) like me! Overall, I probably spent 12-15 hours on this dress, from fussing over the pattern pieces to the final topstitching and hemming. Not too shabby for my first time with a new pattern! I finished the dress with three whole hours to spare before my flight to Florida. If I had a little more time to spare, I would have slowed down when topstitching the yoke. It looks nice enough, but I could use a few more miles of topstitching practice.
The Big Day
The wedding was held right on the harbor on a beautiful sunny day. The joy was palpable as Ed and Jimmy said their vows in front of a small group of family and friends. My dress was the exact right amount of classy and casual, a balance that Liesl + Co strikes perfectly with each pattern. With a little encouragement, both my dress and the wedding script were a success! Thank you, Ed & Jimmy, for entrusting me with your big day. And of course, thank you, Kate, for telling me to clock out and sew the day before my flight when my dress was still in pieces. I couldn’t have done it without you! 💙
Happy Sewing! – Rachael 💙