Theirs and Hers: Plieades Dress and Gosling Shirt with Fabric Godmother Fabric

When Fabric Godmother reached out to me about collaborating on a blog post featuring their new line of vintage inspired fabric, I was prepared to say no because I was busy with ceramics and hadn’t felt very inspired to sew of late. But as soon as I clicked on the link showing all the fabrics they had to offer, I immediately changed my mind. They have prints and apparel fabrics that I just don’t come across very often online, and these were matches made in heaven. The fabric looked soft and drapey on my computer screen but it turned out they were even softer and drapier in real life, with that “loved and worn” texture that cotton gets after it’s been washed a bunch of times), and the print felt bold and extravagant and fun. It took a while to settle on a print, but eventually I chose the leopard- I love the color scheme with the bright yellows and lime greens, and because it’s on a black background I think it allows the colors to pop even more vividly!


To be honest, I think the fabric totally saved this dress because the pattern wasn’t my favorite. Initially I was looking to make a cute, flowy and fancy jumpsuit (most likely the tulip sleeved Burda I took a stab at a a couple years ago but chose the wrong fabric for), but once the fabric arrived and I saw how soft and cozy and pretty it was, I realized I wanted to make something I would wear more frequently, not a special occasion outfit. So I searched around for an interesting silhouette that I didn’t already have in my pattern stash, and someone on IG recommended the Plieades dress by French Poetry to me.

I loved the silhouette and the lantern sleeves- they had a little bit of drama but didn’t seem like they would get in the way of actually doing things, and it felt romantic and flirty but easy to wear. There are actually two versions of the Plieades dress available, the original dress1, which I used, and then a sort of expanded version of the design, dress2, with a button band on the front and a few more options for sleeves, collar and design details.

In the pictures, the dress looks like it’s pretty fitted through the bust and waist and then kind of expands out in the hips thanks to the gathered waistline, which is the look I was going for. Unfortunately the pattern doesn’t include finished garment measurements so all I had to go on were the line drawings and modeled photos. Sadly, the instructions were pretty poor, but I will give them the benefit of the doubt here- it’s a French pattern company and I imagine that someone had to translate the instructions, so I can only hope that the ones in French are much better than the English ones. But even so… in my opinion $14 is a lot of money to spend on a pattern that doesn’t have adequate instructions, even if it had to be translated. The discrepancy, if there is any, should be reflected in the price at the very least. But I would rather just have reliable instructions in the first place!

Right off the bat, the illustrations didn’t match the instructions- you aren’t told to ever gather the shoulder seams and stabilize them but the pictures show that this is what is supposed to be done. The instructions also provide an “Option 1” for the neckline, but there are no other options listed in the remaining pages. The most egregious omission was not describing exactly how to sew the neck facing and get it to lie flat. The front of the bodice is designed to have a delicate V neckline, but they tell you just to sew in the interfaced neck facing and they don’t explain at all how you should change to a shorter stitch length as you get close to the point of the V, pivot the fabric at the apex to sew the rest of the seam on the other side, then clip into the seam allowance so that the facing can flip in to the inside and lay properly.

Honestly this is all super basic stuff, and nothing tripped me up since I knew from experience what I was supposed to be doing, but for a beginning sewist? They would be pretty lost and I don’t think their garment would look as polished at the end as they might want it to. The Plieades dress is such a simple design that could be achievable by an accomplished beginner- it uses gathers, straight seams, a facing, and an invisible zip in the back- nothing too tricky at all. But with sub par instructions, I would not recommend this pattern to someone who didn’t know full well what they were doing.

My other big issue with this pattern is the fit- thankfully I didn’t grade up between sizes in the bust and waist as the measurements suggested I should, but I was smart enough to measure the waist width myself and holy cow there were several extra inches of ease in there! I figured I was just miscalculating something, or that the way the dress would hit on the body would accomodate all that seemingly extra room, but nope- once the main parts of the dress were constructed and I tried it on, I was swimming in it! I’m not sure why the styled photos make it look so much more fitted than it actually is, but I made a size 4 (the sizing only includes 2 to a 16) and easily could have gone down a size and probably taken it in even more, which is just very unexpected. I am only about 1 inch away from being able to pull this dress over my head with the zipper closed, that’s how big it is, and I kind of wish I had realized that early on- I probably could have made some adjustment where I could ommit the zipper entirely!

I’m not mad at the actual fit of the dress- it’s reminiscent of a 90’s babydoll dress with a waistline that is very loose and starts right under the bust, and it’s in turn very comfortable and easy to wear. But I would love to have known that this was what the dress was supposed to look like from the very beginning. The sleeves are my favorite part- I’ve never made a lantern sleeve before and I love how bouncy and flouncy it is, how it gives such a simple silhouette so much detail and is so easy to wear (again, coming from someone who is usually very “dramatic sleeve” averse). The hem is actually super short, which was a surprise to me. I’m 5’3″ and used to shortening hems, not having to lengthen them. I had just enough room to fold a narrow hem at the bottom and I am comfortable with where it lands on me, but I would have preferred to have more fabric to play with so I could make a deeper hem or change the length a bit if I needed to.

Because I ended up making a short summery dress out of this fabric instead of a jumpsuit, I had more fabric leftover than intended, so I decided to finally, FINALLY convince Claire to let me make them a matching shirt, lol. Thankfully they agreed, but only after looking at and feeling the fabric and deciding that it passed their test of comfort and aesthetics!

For their garment I used the Gosling shirt pattern from Sew Sew Def, and I graded between sizes to accommodate Claire’s narrower shoulders and hips- that’s kind of the opposite of how most men’s patterns are drafted but the grading worked great and it actually fits them better than any of the RTW button downs currently in their closet. This fabric gives the shirt major Aloha vibes which I like a lot- and there are some really cute details on the pattern that don’t show up with this print because it’s so busy, but I will definitely be making it again. I love the Sew Sew Def patterns because they have all been uncomplicated and very well drafted, and I love every one of the completed garments I’ve made from them. Plus they are so reasonably priced!





























Thanks to our neighbor Ana for the couple’s shots! Green slides made by me, and animal print oxfords are RTW. Thanks for the beautiful fabric, Fabric Godmother! Every time Claire wears this shirt they say it’s the best thing they own!


5 responses to “Theirs and Hers: Plieades Dress and Gosling Shirt with Fabric Godmother Fabric”

  1. Michelle Carlson Avatar

    The fabric is amazing and you two look absolutely adorable!

  2. Frauke Avatar

    That’s a very cute dress on you and a very nice shirt on Claire! That fabric looks awesome and your description makes me want to go have a look (even though those are not my colors at all).

    Your review of the dress pattern is very interesting to me. Actually, when it first came out, there was one Pleiades pattern with two views with different necklines, which I bought (but haven’t sewn yet, due to second thoughts about my fabric choice). The designer later stopped offering that pattern and is now selling the views separately, I believe with additional sleeve options and possibly a different back skirt pattern piece? It’s not very clear. Anyway, the incongruencies in the instructions may be partly due to this change, not being careful enough separating out the instructions for two views.

    Also, a lot of the samples are in double gauze, which has a tendency to crumple up and be more form fitting than the same pattern in a more fluid fabric. I was wondering about the fit at the waist specifically, since I usually prefer dresses to be somewhat fitted at the waist. So this review has given me even more doubts about this project, in addition to the fabric… I also have doubts about the back skirt, as the front is gathered but the back not, or not as much, which I’m not sure I like. What do you think about the fit in the back?

    1. Jasika Nicole Avatar

      I believe I purchased what is considered to be the original pattern (dress 1 versus dress 2) so am not sure why the instructions would be muddled since it is the simpler of the styles- dress 2 has a button placket and more sleeve and skirt options. But as I said in the blog post, I personally don’t think there is much excuse for charging the same price for patterns without making sure the instructions are clear, concise, and consistent, regardless of whether or not the pattern offerings were changed or expanded upon at some point. I have also made garments in double gauze before which get washed in the washing machine and they still fit pretty loosely all these years later- it does have a wrinkly texture but it doesn’t behave anything like linen, which tends to shrink a bit and be clingy to my body and then loosen up with wear. So I don’t personally think that the fabric of the garment would have that huge an impact to make it look as fitted in the photos as it does, considering how incredibly loose fitting my garment is, even though I made the size to fit my exact measurements. The fit of the skirt all around has a lot of ease and droops down in the back a bit.

  3. Bethany Avatar

    Your experience with the French Poetry pattern mirrors my own somewhat – I tried to make the Gemini shirt last year and it remains to this day the only sewing project that I have ever given up on and quit halfway through. The instructions were so sparse and the few technical drawings were unhelpful at best and actively confusing at worst – the sleeve cuff required a continuous lap placket, which I hadn’t heard of as a beginner sewist but with proper instructions would’ve been able to tackle no problem (I’d successfully made a Paper Theory Olya shirt just before this project, which is way more technically complex). But the instructions offered nothing, just “sew this to that and fold”. I sewed and unpicked that placket so many times and spent a good ~40 mins googling until I happened across both the actual name of the technique and a youtube tutorial for the correct way to sew it. The worst thing about it was that it made me feel like I was a crappy sewist and really knocked my confidence.

    It’s a real shame because I was so excited about the shirt, and was thinking about making a Pleiades dress afterwards as well, but my experience with the shirt put me right off. Your Pleiades looks beautiful and I admire your perseverance in completing such a frustrating project!

    1. Jasika Nicole Avatar

      So sorry to hear about your frustrating experiences! I have absolutely been there, too many times to count. I am of the mind that a confident “beginning sewist” can tackle pretty much any task you put in front of them, as long as you provide excellent directions in a format that works well for them, so yes, I agree, you easily could have accomplished a continuous lap placket if the instructions had been laid out properly. There are some pattern companies that offer very little in the ways of good instructions (BURDA patterns come to mind, although there are many others), but in my experience they either have a reputation for having very flimsy instructions or they say directly on the patterns that they have them (can’t remember the brand but I remember reading one that said “these patterns are designed for confident sewists who are familiar with the general construction process of most garments- details will not be provided”, hahaha. Which is fine! I love having information like that so I can decide whether I want to rely on my own expertise to get through a make or if I want an easier project where all I have to do is follow clear instructions. I guess my point is that the French Poetry brand is marketed as though it is appropriate for beginning sewists, and the actual garments *would* be great beginner friendly patterns if they had clear, concise instructions, but they don’t. It’s a bit misleading and I have heard from SO many people that they had trouble with their patterns in the past. So know that you aren’t alone, and this is a pattern brand that is best avoided (I have probably a dozen of these myself, for different reasons lol).

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