Saturday, August 24, 2019

Magenta Cielo Dress: A Pattern Review

I made it in magenta-colored linen. I'm sort of obsessed with this fabric right now! I also made a shirt in this same magenta linen, and a dress for Lily, and I'm not done yet I think...

Random fact: "cielo" is sky in rome, which is the opposite on the color wheel from magenta.

Okay, back to sewing. The pattern was so FUN to make. Very quick and clever construction. The pockets are part of this weird folded pattern piece that makes up the lower front of the dress, and the back has a yoke-like feature on the shoulders. I've seen some cool color-blocked versions, it definitely is calling out for that kind of treatment. I also love it in solids, obviously.

Closet Case Patterns definitely nailed chic Italian style in this dress, I could totally see an elegant Italian woman in Rome wearing this for a stroll down cobblestone streets, probably with a gorgeous tailored coat thrown over her shoulder...

However, I was skeptical that it would look good on me. I'm not a straight and narrow body type in my post-baby days, so I would usually avoid a style like this. However, it just looks so elegant on the Closet Case models and the instagram feed, so I decided I would give it a try. I sewed it up to measurements... I'm a little foggy on what I chose, but most likely a 16 bust graded to an 18 waist/hip. No muslin. Didn't even try it on until I had it all done and needed to nail down a hem length.

And... I HATED it.

It fit... just fine. I could sit (some people have mentioned they didn't have enough ease in the hips, and I didn't have this problem). However, I felt that my bum was pulling the dress back and my belly was pushing it forward. If this was a knit, it would have just been curve-accentuating, but in a woven, it was just weird to wear and unflattering.

I felt like a clunky uncultured American trying to fit into an elegant Italian woman's clothes. Actually that's a pretty accurate description of how I feel when I'm in Rome. I love Rome dearly, but I'm clearly not a native!

However, I don't want my sewing to be quite that truthful. No I was not brave enough to take any pictures, I just threw it in a heap on the floor and went to bed.

The next day I woke up with a crazy plan. I had lots of fabric, so I cut out an ENORMOUS pleat-- 18 inches wide, not including the seam allowances, long enough to go from shoulder blades to hem. I did an inverted pleat, which ended up being 6 inches wide. I then inset that baby into the center back of the dress, sort of the way the inset is done on the Charlie Caftan. I interfaced the top of the opening to help support the weight of the pleat.

Now, I love my dress! 

The linen has weight and moves in a languidly swishy way, and it feels very me.

It's also super cute with my Jasika Blazer!

I'm not sure if I would make it again quite in this way, the giant pleat is too much of a statement to have more than one in my wardrobe. Next time I might just add some additional ease into the side seams, and/or build a smaller pleat into the back of the dress. The simple design would be great for showcasing a lovely fabric. It is a quick sew, so I could see just making one up on a whim on an afternoon.

While I think the pockets are super cute in this fabric, I might also choose not to make them if I was sewing this in a less structured fabric. Fortunately, there's a view for that (view D). 

I think the Pietra pants may have to be up next in my sewing queue...!


  1. I think it looks Great on you!
    I never wear dresses, or else I'd be tempted to give this one a try...
    :-) Chris

  2. I love your pleat fix; I'd make more than one. Signing up for your emails now.

  3. Wow!!! Amazingly clever save. Just beautiful.