If you’re thinking that I’ve been doing a lot of pattern testing for my summer “off,” you would be right. There aren’t too many things that entice me to unpaid pattern testing anymore, but one of the rare reasons why I will do so is if I’m looking for motivation to make a particular category of garment. That was my reason for testing the KBSD shorts I showcased earlier this week, and it was also my reason for testing this new pattern from Blank Slate Patterns — the Leralyn Dress.
A loose shift dress has been on my need-to-make-now list foreeeeeever, but other projects always kept jumping in front of it. I knew that testing would finally give me the kick in the bum that I needed to add this dress to my wardrobe.
And it did! Leralyn is a basic shift dress with a few details that kick it up a notch. The pockets for one. It has kangaroo-style welt pockets, which means that they look really sharp and they’re huuuuuuuge! The center seam and notched collar offers a lot of fun design opportunities, and I’m seriously crushing on the maxi length possibilities.
For my tester version, I did a basic shift dress with pockets and no hood. Assembly is a little more complicated than a quick, easy-peasy shift dress, largely because of the pockets. If I eliminated the pockets, I’m pretty sure even slow old me could whip this baby up in an hour.
The neckline uses a facing for a nice, clean finish, and the cap sleeves are finished off with a bias facing. Overall, the finishing techniques on this dress are great, and make the insides look really pretty.
My version is from the initial tester version and has a tiny bit of back pooling that actually led Melissa to do a second round of testing to get the fit exactly right. That pooling tendency was largely eliminated in the final pattern! Even so, I’ve been wearing my dress quite often since it’s really comfortable and easy to wear in the summer heat.
I used an anchor-printed chambray by Robert Kauffman (looong since sold out), which worked very well for this dress. The nice thing about this style is that is really does work equally well in something like chambray or (dare I say it?) even quilter’s cotton as well as drapier fabrics like rayon or silk. I’d actually love to make a maxi version in rayon challis, though. I think that would be heavenly!
Pattern: Leralyn Dress by Blank Slate Patterns
Price: $11.95 (currently on sale for $9.95).
Techniques Required: Sewing welt pockets, sewing darts, attaching a facing,
Fabric: Robert Kauffman anchor chambray. I can’t for the life of me remember where I bought this, but it’s sold out pretty much everywhere.
Fit: Really good. This was the initial tester version, and I have a little bit of pooling in the back, which was largely remedied in the final pattern. Other than that, my fit was excellent.
Pattern format: PDF. I didn’t have the maxi version in the tester file, and I imagine that is a bit of a beast. The knee-length version is very manageable though.
- Welt pockets are a great feature and look very professional.
- The options on this dress can take it from super-casual beach coverup to office-appropriate. I’ve been wearing mine to work a lot.
- Really comfortable fit and silhouette for summer.
- I love the loose maxi look — I think that needs to go on my list!
- I don’t particularly care for the visible top stitching around the welt pockets. Next time I would use a different method to do the welts that doesn’t have that visible topstitching.
- I have a bit of a swayback, so I may add a center back seam to mirror the front so I can add a little more shaping to the back.
Overall Grade: B+. This is a versatile, well-done pattern and a lot of work went into it.