Pattern Fantastiqué Sleeveless Celestial Dress in Summerweight Denim
Over Summer, my much loved light-weight denim Aeolian dress met its sad, untimely end after a run in with a dropped bottle of black nail polish. It was replaced with a denim version of another Pattern Fantastique ‘classic’, the Celestial Dress. Made in the midi length, I enjoyed months of swishing around in it until the weather turned... so I promised myself that as soon as a suitable denim arrived in store, I’d make a sleeveless pinafore version of the same as its Winter alter-ego.
Fast forward a few months and a fresh delivery of our beautiful Japanese denims, produced in the well-regarded denim manufacturing prefecture, Okayama. Among them Summerweight indigo denim. Winter swishing was on! This fabric feels a little stiff straight off the bolt, but starts to soften impressively after the first wash. It has turned out to be the perfect weight and drape for this generously skirted dress.
The Celestial pattern has been kicking around for years, so I'll keep it brief. This is a multi-sized pattern from sizes 6 to 16, equivalent to bust measurement (the most important one for fitting this trapeze-style) 81 to 106cm. My measurements put me close to the top of the existing size spectrum, but the sizing/fit is spot on, especially for this version where I wanted some extra ease for layering. The only shame about this lovely pattern is that the largest size is a 16 - it would be great to see an expansion of the size range on offer.
To make the sleeveless version, you need to download the free pinafore ‘hack’ file from Pattern Fantastique here. This complements the printed pattern by replacing the sleeves with an underarm facing. You then cut double one of the yoke pieces and forego some of the others. There’s a bit of two-and-fro required between the printed pattern and ‘hack’ instructions, particularly while figuring out what is needed for each version. This is a good pattern for someone with some garment sewing experience behind them, or someone who would like to learn some new techniques like the burrito method, which is used to sew the enclosed seams on the yoke.
This midi length pinafore was cut from 2m of the 150 wide denim. You could also *just* squeeze the width of the skirt pieces on a 110cm wide fabric (but allow for more meterage to cover the yoke pieces, too!) For anyone interested, I squeezed the sleeved midi version out of 2.1m of 140cm wide non directional fabric rather than the recommended 2.8m.
My favourite feature of this dress is the roomy pockets. These are top-stitched to the front skirt to prevent any annoying pocket flapping, and conveniently provide some nice subtle stitching detail. I also love the length. This is sewn straight from the packet and is a proper mid-calf length on me, at 167cm/5’5” tall.
One more thing
It’s a personal preference, but I won't be wearing this without a shirt underneath unless with a strapless bra, as the neat 90 degree angle where the yoke attaches to the pinafore cuts right in at the front. But for layering, this is *exactly* what I had hoped for. I have worn it an almost embarrassing amount of times already in the month since I finished it. Already planing another for when this one is in the wash! Perhaps using one of our textured twills, or it would also work nicely in one of our new Japanese Fine Wale Corduroys.