I've just finished making the Sylvie dress by Christine Haynes, in a cream quilting cotton with a pink, purple and yellow pattern on it.
This was my first time making a Christine Haynes pattern, although I've had my eye on quite a few of her designs for a while. It was a great pattern to use - clear instructions, easy to put together, and with a good finish. The midriff band is faced on the inside, so the side seams around your waist and the under bust seam are nicely enclosed - smooth and comfortable to wear on warm summer days. The neck and armholes are finished with a bias facing, which gives a clean and easy finish without needing an extra layer of fabric for lining.
For sizing, I made a size 6, and graded it out to a size 10 at the waist/hips. Based on my measurements, I should have made a size 8 at the bust, but I chose the size based on my preferred ease instead. (There are finished garment measurements on the pattern, which makes it easy to choose the right size to make based on both your actual measurements and your preferred ease.)
The Sylvie dress has two skirt designs to choose from - a straight skirt fitted with darts at the front and back waist, or a dirndl skirt which is gathered into the waist and has patch pockets on the front. I didn't have quite enough fabric to make the dirndl skirt, so I went with the straight skirt, and turned it into a gentle a-line style by adding 5cm on either side of the hem and lengthening the skirt by 2" due to my height. (I also added inseam pockets, because, well, pockets!) Because I have a low bust, I also lowered the bodice darts by 1".
I thought it would be fun to play around with the directional print of the fabric and made the pattern vertical on the wide midriff band, which I think worked quite well. (I'm now imagining this with a lovely feature print or lace overlay on the midriff band... Mmmm....)
I'm really happy with my finished Sylvie dress - the wide midriff band is comfortable and gives a touch of vintage inspiration, and the style will work both dressed up with heels and a cardigan for work, or with sandals or flats for the weekend. Plus the colours remind me of a strawberry milkshake - always a good summertime drink, don't you think? ;-)