DP Studio Le003 - Knit Asymmetric Dress

Want to know a secret? I'm not wearing any knickers... no this isn't the start of something seedy and weird, just the sewing story of the tightest and sexiest dress I've ever owned - featuring zero VPL. Here's my first DP Studio make, the Le003 Knit Asymmetric Dress:

Giving serious goth girl stares in the DP Studio Le003
I came across DP Studio online a couple of months back and have noticed a growing buzz around the French pattern company on social media. I was amazed by the patterns, which shoot well beyond the realms of Vogue-designer in terms of 'fashion forward' and 'on trend'. I'd say some of the designs are even a bit too trendy, but it's so refreshing to see such edgy and current looks available in sewing pattern form! I took the plunge and ordered the Knit Asymmetric Dress, which was quite possibly the most expensive pattern (including shipping from France) that I've ever bought.

I knew it was worth it the minute it landed on my door step, if only for the beautiful packaging and presentation alone! The envelope is deep and A4 in size, and contains both French and English language instructions; a huge relief as I thought I'd be using a translator the whole way through!

Based on the pattern's recommendations, I picked a 2-way stretch, scuba-like fabric from the grab bins in Abakhan Manchester. The fabric weighed in at less than £10, so a pretty cheap way to test run the pattern. It's a decent weight for holding the shape of the dress and giving body to the drapey asymmetric design.

Side view
I fell across sizes 40-44 with the measurements given, but eventually went with the 42 as I thought the stretch would give me a bit more wiggle room (I'd usually go with a size 40/UK 14 with big 4 patterns). I spent quite a lot of time worrying that the dress would come up too small - it looks tiny to make up, but then I guess it's meant to be pretty fitted when finished. I made a few fit adjustments along the way:

- 0.5cm side seams for a bit of extra room through the hip, which was surprisingly narrow (my hip measurement actually fell into the size 40, which would definitely have been too small)! Sonja also found the hips ran quite small in her DP make so maybe something to watch out for.
- 1.5cm arm hole seams - the shoulders were just a bit too wide, hence the adjustment after the first try on.
- Re-cutting the neck band with an extra 1" added to the width - although the neckband would look better flush to my neck in it's original size, there was absolutely NO WAY I was getting it over my head.

Despite some crazy looking pattern pieces, the dress was a breeze to put together and I managed most of the construction in an evening. It felt a bit like making a jigsaw using random fabric shapes.

Mid-questioning the camera angles. Thanks Chris for taking pictures.
The instructions are somewhat minimal text-wise, but the illustrations are some of the best I've ever seen. The pattern requires the maker to apply a bit of pre-knowledge/sewing sense to press out the seams and finished raw edges - it doesn't tell you to do these things at each step along the way - but I followed the each step with total ease. My only small gripe is that the pattern suggests using a coverstitch machine to finish all the hems, which I'm not really sure that many people will have access to (I've barely got to grips with my overlocker yet, never mind introducing another new machine)! I hemmed my garment on a regular machine which worked out just fine.

Milk bottle legs are out to distract from weird ruching in the back

The fit - with the slight adjustments - has turned out pretty well, but the style of the dress is definitely a bit tighter than I'd normally go. When I first tried it on, I wasn't sure whether I felt incredibly sexy, or the immediate need to go for a run. I'm definitely getting more used to it with wear, but still having to forgo the knickers, as it's not the most forgiving of fabric/fit combos - I've never had a desire to own 'shapewear' until now... It probably looks better under dimmer lighting, which is a weird thing to say about a dress that I actually really like, but it's obviously quite dressed up and just more suited to evening-lighting that won't highlight my lumps and bumps. 

The 'can you see what I ate for dinner last night?!' pose

In all, I'm hugely impressed with the pattern, the instructions and the cool and unusual design of the dress. I'd definitely make it again or purchase another DP Studio pattern in future.

DP Studio website
Have you made or got your eye on any DP Studio patterns?

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3 years in, 3 things I never thought I'd be making!

Yesterday was my blog's 3rd birthday! I was always quite shy about putting my makes out there online, but now I see it as a fun part of the 'full circle' of sewing and a great opportunity to make a fairly solitary pastime into a really sociable hobby. So thanks a million for reading, and a special thanks if you've stuck with me from the early days (see my awkward introduction to the world of blogging way back here)! I really love reading other people's blogs and it's nice to know that some of you might take the time to read mine :)

3 years in and getting adventurous!
As the three year mark has been approaching, I've been thinking about how much my sewing and style have changed and (hopefully) improved over the years. I've made things that I never dreamed I'd be able to make and I've pretty much given up my bad high street shopping habits, spare a few sets of underwear and the odd garment here and there. So to mark (just over) 3 years in making, here's a look at 3 things I never thought I'd swap buying for sewing, and how they're shaping my future sewing plans:

1. Shirts (or to be more precise, anything with a button placket)
I've avoided button holes for the majority of my sewing 'career' for no good reason - it was probably a dodgy one early on that put me right off. As a result, I never thought I'd make a shirt or shirt dress of any kind and the last of my very rare high street purchases was in fact a button up yellow shirt from &OtherStories - my excuse for buying it being 'I couldn't possibly make this myself'. All that changed in my desperation to own another &OtherStories garment, an oversized shirt dress, which I took the plunge and replicated with the Ralph Pink Sahara pattern at the beginning of the year.

Shirt and shirt dress sewing!
Since making the Sahara Shirt, I've twice casually treated myself to some amazing buttons from Textile Garden, sewn up the Ready to Sew Jane Shirt, made the Vogue 9186 dress with its concealed button placket, and have a couple more button-holed projects in the pipeline...

Latest shirt, with Textile Garden buttons
And coming up, a Named Reeta Dress for #sewtogetherforsummer

2. Fitted knits
I always swore I'd never move into sewing with knits. I didn't wear them very much anyway and on the rare occasion I did, I thought I could save myself the hassle by buying something from the high street. But the further I got down the sewing line, the more natural it felt to transition into sewing with stretch fabrics. My introduction to closer fitting knit garments was the Papercut Pattern Rise Turtleneck, a firm favourite that you'll probably see me wearing with or under most of my other makes. I even tried a hacking it to rip off a top from Finery. A bunch of basic t-shirts is on the cards once I stop getting carried away with more exciting projects.

Many iterations of the Rise Turtleneck
I've recently made, but not yet had chance to photograph, the DP Studio Knit Asymmetric Dress and wow, I never could've guessed I'd be making or wearing something so 'stretch/body-con' a few years ago. It's probably one of the most interesting garments I've ever made and I can't wait to share it! Here's a sneak peak:

DP Studio Le003 first try on - excuse the messy room!

3. Outerwear
Again, I was sure that I'd never make a coat or jacket of any kind and used this as an excuse to spend a small fortune on the French Connection one, with a lining that shredded at the blink of an eye. I forced myself to step out of my comfort zone and try outerwear last year with the Papercut Patterns Waver Jacket, and so another garment dropped off my 'acceptable to buy' list. Making the Waver was one of my most enjoyable sewing challenges, so I followed it up with the made the Named Yona Coat as last year's winter jacket.

Waver and Yona coats
I'm just about to start making what I think might be my biggest outerwear and sewing challenge so far, and one from my #2017makenine - the Named Isla Trench Coat in denim. Watch this space!
Named Isla Trench

A few things that still haven't made the jump from my 'acceptable to buy' list to the 'I can make this' pool are lingerie and jeans - now it's down in writing, I should probably give them both a go. Judging on how far I've come in the last few years, it's a definite never say never...

I'd love to hear other people's thoughts on this! What's the handmade garment that has surprised you the most? The thing you never thought you'd be making in your wildest dreams?

Thanks again for sticking with me through the last three years - here's to many more to come!

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