A while ago I had a lovely message from Coralie on instagram. Coralie is the owner and designer of the French pattern company C’est moi le patron. I have to admit that I didn’t know her patterns – but once I checked her website I saw a whole bunch of patterns I really, really liked. Coralie asked me if I’d like to sew one of her patterns that she was going to release soon. I said yes and chose to sew Axelle, Coralie’s pattern for the month of April. (Yes, she has a new pattern every month, and she plans them half a year in advance!! Impressive, right?)
Axelle is a sheath dress, designed for woven fabrics. It has a modest V-neck at the front and two options for the back neckline: Another simple V-back, or a very deep V-back with two short straps between the two parts of the V. The dress comes in two different lengths, too: a little shorter than knee-length or ankle-length. The second option includes a side slit. The dress is closed with an invisible zipper on the left side. It is finished with facings and has the option of lining it, too.
A few words about the pattern in general: The pattern is available in French and English as a PDF and on paper in French only. The instructions are thorough, accompanied with clear illustrations. The pattern comes in sizes 34 to 46 and the pages are easily assembled. It is not possible to toggle the different sizes on and off, which means you have to print all sizes, which again makes finding the right size a little more difficult in areas where many lines overlap. The pattern pieces for the dress include different lines for cutting the lining, too, something I really liked. It meant printing way fewer pages and I could cut the main fabric first, cut the pattern pieces along the lines for the lining and cut the lining. Less paper, less taping, saved time!
I fell in love with the deep V-back with the crossed straps. I went with the short version to be able to use the dress a little more often. And I actually had the perfect fabric in my stash! About a year ago or so I bought two metres of a beautiful floral brushed twill – a fun cotton/rayon/wool mix. It’s so soft, easy to work with and has the perfect combination of stable and drapey for this kind of dress. I chose to line Axelle and bought a really nice viscose-poly lining at Stoff & Stil. It’s manly viscose, very smooth, but not slinky as other linings. It’s really comfortable on the skin and keeps nicely in place. I think I’ll have to buy a few yards of this for future projects.
I made a size 36, only changing the length of the dress. I added 2 cm above the waist and 4 cm at the hem. I added about 3 extra cm because of my height, the other 3 cm are simply to make the dress a tiny bit longer than the dress is designed to be. I rarely wear dresses that are shorter than the length my Axelle ended up being, so I’m happy with the added length.
Sewing Axelle wasn’t very difficult – Coralie’s instructions were easy to follow, and if you have sewn an invisible zipper and added an all-in-one facing before, there aren’t many difficult steps left. Adding the straps to the back can be a little confusing, but I found the instructions easy enough to understand. I followed the instructions thoroughly – the only thing I did differently was understitching the V in the front and back to make sure the facing stayed on the inside of the dress. I partly understitched the armscye, too – as far as the thin straps allowed me to. Owing to the facing and the lining this dress is as beautiful on the inside as on the outside – something that always makes me incredibly happy.
I absolutely love the fit of Axelle! It isn’t designed to sit very tightly, but sits rather loosely around the waist. In my case it sits rather loosely around the bust, too – mainly since I picked the size on my regular with-a-bra size, while I ended up wearing the dress without a bra, for obvious reasons. But I don’t think it matters at all! The straps keep the dress in place and there’s no danger of a straps falling down the shoulder, either. The back is just loose enough to be very comfortable and easy to wear, without looking too big.
There’s nothing more left to say but: I really, really like this dress and feel very good wearing it. The fabric-pattern combination is perfect and when wearing a cardigan over the dress I can see myself wearing it at work, or even at a wedding or something similar without a cover-up. Thank you, Coralie, for letting me sew one of your beautiful patterns!
– I got the pattern for free as an exchange for blogging about it. However, all opinions are, as always, my own. –