Pattern Review

Dakota Shawl Collar Dress: A Pattern Review

I posted by Project Sewn LBD post yesterday, so here is my official pattern review of the pattern I used, the Dakota Shawl Collar Dress from Named Patterns:

Creative Counselor: Dakota Shawl Collar Dress
Dakota Shawl Collar Dress

Pattern: Dakota Shawl Collar Dress from Named Patterns

Size: 40 (US size 8).

Fit: The fit is really good.  This dress is designed to fit loose, which was perfect considering the current condition of my body!  There are front and back waist darts and shoulder darts for shaping, but the waist is not designed to be fitted.

Fabric: Chocolate brown double knit from Denver Fabrics.  I got this on one of Denver Fabrics’ many clearance sales for about $2 per yard.  I think it’s cotton, but there might be some synthetic in there.  It’s a pretty decent quality, particularly for the price.

Modifications: I omitted the pockets from this version because I wasn’t sure how the flaps would work in my knit and straight patch pockets looked funny.  I really like the pockets though and intend to include them on my next version.  I was also short on fabric, so I had to omit the sleeve vents and cuffs and shorten the sleeves.  I also intend to include those on my next version.

Physical pattern: This is a PDF, and the format the PDF was a little odd to me.  The pattern sheet is in the style of a Burda magazine or a Japanese pattern book — all of the pieces overlapping each other all helter-skelter.  If you are one to cut your pattern piece rather than tracing, know that’s not possible with Named patterns.  You have to trace.

I understand why a pattern company would do this for a paper pattern — it would certainly reduce costs by reducing the size of the pattern page.  But this is a PDF pattern that you have to print out and tape together at home, so it really doesn’t make much sense to me.

Finally, this pattern is sized for A4 paper and only A4 paper.  North Americans take note — when you adjust your settings to 100% and print this, your paper WILL cut off part of the pattern.  I had to eyeball where the pieces should go and insert some filler paper to tape my pattern together.  Often, European online pattern companies will simply make their pattern boxes smaller so that they will work for both A4 and letter-sized paper, but not this one.  It is sized only for A4.  Again, this doesn’t make much sense to me since it would be really easy to size the PDF pages so they could print properly on either A4 or letter-size paper.  And since I suspect a decent number of potential customers are located in the US and Canada and therefore use letter-size paper, this is another aspect of this PDF that baffles me.


  • Classic, sleek look.  This dress is great for the office, which is probably where I will wear it the most.  It’s a very professional look, but I can also dress it up and down.
  • The construction was very straightforward.  Before I started, I wasn’t quite sure how that collar was going to fit together, but it was actually really easy.
  • I love the shaping that the skirt gets from all of the pieces.  The skirt is constructed in 8 pieces and the result is actually quite flattering.


  • Sizing of the patterns.  I discussed this in detail in my Project Sewn post.  When you buy a Named pattern, you only get two sizes of the pattern.  Not a big deal for some, but likely to be quite annoying for others.  Particularly considering the cost of these patterns (I paid more than $20 USD for the Dakota Shawl Collar Dress).  The limited sizes of the pattern probably makes Named patterns the most expensive I know of.
  • The instructions are sparse to say the least.  That didn’t bother me since I’ve constructed enough garments now that I usually only skim the instructions anyway, but this would be a real hindrance to a beginner sewist.  The instruction also contain exactly zero diagrams, so visual learners beware.
  • The PDF on this pattern really is a pain to work with if you are in North America.

Overall grade: B.  I really like the design and construction of this pattern — it’s very professional all around.  But I have to mark it down for a few reasons.  Most notably is the price compared to how many sizes you get.  Also, the instructions make it very unfriendly for beginners, though intermediate or advanced sewists should be fine.

0 thoughts on “Dakota Shawl Collar Dress: A Pattern Review

  1. this is a great dress! i’m sure it will be very useful as your shape re-adjusts. it is a bummer that you only get two sizes in the pattern though. i haven’t added any of their patterns to my list yet (tempted by the jamie jeans!), but i keep watching with interest as they pop up in my reader!

    1. Thank you 🙂 The price of these patterns is definitely a turnoff. I’ll pay it for the Jamie Jeans though (eventually). The pattern is very well drafted and I don’t mind forking out a little more for a good jeans pattern. Have to be very sure of the size first though!

  2. I am not really fond of pdf patterns and try to avoid them. (I am such a baby!) I DO have one- The Lettuce Skirt… But when I printed it there were 43 pages so I have not progressed! I like the Dakota dress- I found you by googling “Named Dakota Pattern” because I was interested in seeing a finished version. It looks nice on you!

    1. Thanks! I hate PDF patterns too, though you may not know it since my sewing room is overflowing with them! But I vastly prefer a printed pattern. The Named patterns may not be so bad for you though — the way they overlap the pattern pieces means fewer pages to print and tape. Thanks for commenting!

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