Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Completed: Kate & Rose Giselle Dress (and a GIVEAWAY)

My style has a split personality: in the winter, I like things fitted. In the summer, I like things loose and flowing. When it's 120* and 250% humidity, the last thing I need is something touching my skin.

Winter Style: Tight and Trendy
Summer Style: Bohemian Hippy

When given the opportunity to test for Kati from Kate & Rose Patterns, I knew the new Midtown Collection would perfectly suit my summer style. I chose to test the Giselle Dress. Here's Kati's description:

Giselle is a V-neck dress with shaped midriff and gathers over the bust.

View A has a fitted midriff that hits at actual waist, three-quarter-length gathered sleeves, and gathered dirndl-style skirt. Instructions include options for finishing sleeves with two sleeve band styles, and option to substitute fuller skirt.

View B is a sleeveless maxi dress with narrower shoulders, empire waistline and a tiered skirt. Both views are shaped in the back by elastic and waist ties.

I chose to sew up View A. In the testing phase, I could not figure out how to get those gathers over the bust to sit right. Kati sent me some tips for a SBA, and then I saw Thumbelina's Giselle with a SBA. Because of the nature of my fabric and its stretch (gauze), it's still a little roomy in the bust at the end of the day, but this version fits nicely overall.

Y'all. I had an epiphany after sewing this up. I'm going to start eliminating bust darts/gathers altogether. It's going to make my sewing life so much easier, and it will make my garments fit better.

this is really bright. the actual color is more muted.

I can't tie a bow to save my life, but the tie on the back of the dress is a nice feature. I skipped the elastic.

Pattern: Giselle Dress by Kate & Rose
Size & Modifications: Small. Added a tiny bit of length to the bodice and midriff. Eliminated elastic at the back. SBA. Underlined bodice and midriff pieces.
Fabric: The story of this fabric is a blog post in its own. Originally I planned a dyed version and bought cream 100% cotton gauze (they didn't have white) and cotton thread. But I ran out of fabric and had to go back to Jo-Ann for more. There was no cream gauze left on the shelf, and the employee I encountered was reluctant to help me locate more. So, I bought white and figured everything would be fine. I dyed it shibori style after sewing the whole thing.

Long story short, the result was okay. I had to dye and re-dye it. The RIT dye I used was navy, and you see the dress is purple. Not my favorite color. In hindsight I should've held out for white fabric and dyed the fabric prior to sewing the dress.

Still, the process was fun, and I'd like to try it again. Shibori sounds more sophisticated than tie-dyeing, no? It's essentially the same thing.

  • This style is so easy for summer. I'm guaranteed to stay cool.
  • There are tons of fabrics that would work. I would consider underlining or lining the midriff piece if your fabric is very lightweight.
  • It's so comfortable. And pretty. Hippy chic. Perfect.
  • Kati's directions are clear and the illustrations are extremely helpful. 
  • She includes both templates and written-out measurements for the skirt pieces to allow for either preference. (I prefer the template.)
  • No zippers or buttons - easy on, easy off. The pattern is designated as Advanced Beginner, and I'd say that's appropriate.
  • This pattern takes a lot of fabric. I'd recommend buying a little more, especially if you're getting 45" fabric. I didn't have enough for the bottom skirt panels.
  • The bodice may take work if you're flat-chested. (It might take work for girls with girls, too. I've never been a girl with girls.) Definitely make a muslin of the bodice -- not just to determine fit adjustments, but also to ensure the seam sits at a comfortable place on the bust. (It has the potential of hitting at an awkward spot.)
  • There's gathering. (This may not be a con for you people. Gathering and I have words. Every single time.)
You don't have to emulate my hippy-esque version. Oona's floral version is sophisticated and dreamy (with sleeves!). Or there's this dress from Nordstrom that shows another possibility for the Giselle in black:

original source
Kati was such a wonderful designer with whom to work. She was incredibly patient and appreciative. There's a reason I prefer sewing patterns created by independent designers (146 reasons, actually).

Kati JUST released the paper versions of her Midtown Collection patterns, and today is her birthday! To celebrate she's offering 15% off ALL orders through Sunday, June 22nd. I'm off to order some of her gorgeous hot-iron transfers. Wouldn't embroidery be fabulous on the midriff of the Giselle? Yum.

As a special treat, Kati is giving away one of the PDF patterns from her Midtown Collection to one of you! Just leave a comment below, and I'll get my kids to pick a number out of a hat, choose the comment that corresponds with the number, and you'll get YOUR OWN Kate & Rose pattern! The giveaway will close at 11:59pm, Friday June 20, 2014. 


  1. You look beautiful as always! If I win, you will have to help me!

  2. Gorgeous! Love the solid fabric contrast on the bodice

  3. Oh pick me!!! I want a dress like that! Really nice!

  4. Pretty dress. I love that color purple.

  5. It looks really pretty. Love independent pattern designers too!!

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Gorgeous! It looks like a perfect summer dress! I love how flowy it is... a pet hate of mine is maxi dresses that are too tight around the ankle so you have to take teeny tiny steps!

  8. Beautiful dress!!! I love the hippy stile :)

  9. Lovely Dress. You look stunning in it. I love making tie dye prints too LOL. Thanks for hosting the giveaway as well :)

  10. The dress looks lovely - I bet dying the fabric was a lot of fun! The other versions you are referring to also look great! Long sleeved version will even work for now!

  11. Your dress looks perfect for the summer heat.

  12. I can't wait to sew up the Giselle, but I am scared that I will not be able to make the top fit (teeny chest here). I really fell for the short version, but love the flowy summer version you sewed up.

  13. The fit is perfect! Great job:) I need to start sewing for myself...but I can't seem to find any more time!!

  14. The perfect summer frock:-) Love the solid/shibori combo! I love Kate and Rose patterns, thanks for the opportunity to win one!


    whoops, caps lock was still on. i guess i'll leave it, nice juxtaposition of "zen"... i love your shibori panel, genius!

  16. Gorgeous! A new designer to me. Thanks for the chance to win.

  17. This turned out beautifully, dyeing, gathering, SBA and all -- so many special touches. I've just made the Zsalya -- another easy & effective pattern. Would love to make a Giselle next...


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