I'm always a little perplexed when it comes to making alterations to patterns, and Pamela's Patterns advertises that their patterns already include the most common alterations, including high round back, forward shoulder, full bust option, extra hip/tummy room and a great fit in the neck and shoulder. That sounded good to me!
So, I couldn't wait to try their newest patterns- #114- the Pretty Peplum Top and #115- the Softly Pleated Dress. Here are my versions:
For both patterns, the first step- picking your size-asks you to choose your size based on your high bust measurement. Each pattern has two front pattern pieces- one with a dart, and one without. If there is more than a 3" difference between your full bust and high bust, she suggests using the darted front. So, since my difference was right at 3", I decided to use the darted front for both.
The pretty peplum top has both long and cap sleeve options, and a keyhole or scoop neckline. I chose the scoop neckline with the long sleeves for this top.
The Softly Pleated Dress pattern includes a crew or square neckline, long or cap sleeves, and three different length options. I originally made mine the longer dress length, but it was way too much pink! So, I shortened it to the tunic length. It's still pretty bright, but it should brighten up a drab winter day.
I used the square neckline. Here is what it looks like from the outside:
And this is what it looks like from the inside. You just make a tiny dart at the edges. My fabric is a little too thick to flatten it out, but ideally, you would press these tiny darts flat. The directions encourage you to use Stay Tape for thinner, drapier knits, which would be a fantastic idea. These particular knits were quite firm, so I skipped that detail.
The back of the Pretty Peplum Top truly is pretty! The peplum is not too full- just enough fullness to give you some shape.
You can see the back of the Softly Pleated Dress also has pleats to add a little back interest as well.
I liked the method Pamela has you finish the necklines on both tops. You press the seam allowance of the neckline seam towards the band, and then fold the raw edge of the band back over the seam allowance and stitch "in the ditch". This gives the band a little filler so that it stands out more. You then trim off the excess binding close to your stitching on the wrong side.
I made one change on the Softly Pleated Dress, and that was to add pockets. I love having pockets to carry my phone. I didn't want to use the double knit fabric for the pockets in case it would be too bulky, so I found a similar colored silk twill and just used an inseam pocket pattern from another dress.
I placed the top of the pockets three inches below the waistline seam in the side seams, and it is just right. You can see them from the inside here, as well as how the pleats are sewn in place.
Pamela also has You Tube fitting videos on these tops to guide you in making any adjustments to fit your own shape. I liked where the waist hit me on both of these tops, so I didn't change it, but she recommends basting in these seams until you can try them on and look in the mirror to check the fit.
I'm getting a small fold right above the bust on the Pretty Peplum Top, which Pamela suggested might be because my armhole is too long. She does include shorten/lengthen lines on the front, back and sleeve for this alteration, so I will try that with my next version. Overall, I'm really happy with both tops! I think there are many great possibilities with both patterns, and can see using them quite a bit in my future sewing!