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How Fabric Affects the Olympia
Hi everyone! By now you have seen the amazing (affil) Olympia dress just release from Love Notions. I’m Keri, and I was lucky enough to get chosen as a tester for this pattern. Although I will admit, I was a little intimidated. I am an experienced seamstress but, I have never had success with V-Necks. But I dove in and signed up to test because I knew Tami would make it easy. And she did!
The biggest question being asked is…. “what fabric do I use?”
My initial thought was ITY. I am a lover of ITY but then I saw a few testers dresses made with a heavier weight fabric and I loved that look. With all the fabric choices out there, what’s a girl to do? Well, you make five dresses and test out which fabric is best suited! I had a free Saturday and goodness knows my fabric stash is well stocked, so away I went. For this pattern, I chose five different knit fabrics. All fabrics were pre-washed and were two yards each. So that I could get an accurate fit for each fabric, I made all the same size and same sleeve length, XL C Cup with elbow sleeves. Luckily I work a corporate job so my closet can handle an additional five dresses. First thing I did after cutting the pattern was watch Tami’s video on the neck construction. This was a huge help to me and I highly recommend you watch this before starting.
My first dress was made with Double Brushed Poly.
This floral print is from Love Adore Knit Fabrics and is just beautiful. This pattern requires using your sewing machine, something else this serger addict is not used to. My Juki did not love the double brushed poly, but the walking foot really helps. I made this one as a muslin before the pattern was finalized. The bodice is hitting lower on my waist than what I prefer. Tami has fixed this issue by adding two cut lines. I like this dress overall but it’s not my favorite. I think it is a personal preference though because there were several testers that also used Double Brushed Poly and they are all gorgeous!!!
Next up was a Ponte knit I has been hoarding.
This was purchased from Pretty Posh Prints but may be sold out. I knew this one was going to be a huge success, or a huge failure, but I was ready to test it out. The ponte is such a stable knit that it is incredibly easy to sew. Also, because of Tami’s video the neckline was a snap. I tried on the bodice and I knew it was love! The fit was perfect! Next challenge was how would the skirt drape. Stable knits don’t drape well right? Um wrong! This skirt was cut just right and I feel like it is very flattering. Again, because it is a stable knit, it is very easy to hem.
I chose Cotton Lycra for my third dress.
I am not generally a fan of cotton lycra on me. It hugs places that I would prefer it not to hug. But when I saw this print from Mel at Purpleseamstress I decided to give cotton lycra another try! I had two yards of this print but as we know it shrinks. So I had to be very creative to get the full dress out of what fabric I had. The back bodice is pieced, luckily the busy print is forgiving and I didn’t worry about pattern matching. Oh and the sleeves are a little shorter due to lack of fabric. Cotton lycra likes to roll on the edges so it can be a bit of a pain to sew with. An iron works wonders, though. I am happy with the outcome of this dress but, I notice two things. First it is hitting me lower on the torso than the ponte version. As mentioned above, I don’t love that look on my body. Second, because the fabric is hitting lower on my torso, the skirt is also longer. I even made a wider hem with this dress and it is still hitting past my knees. Remember I cut the same size and same skirt length so this is strictly due to fabric. I don’t think the below knee is as flattering so I will cut that skirt off and hem where I prefer. But for the purposes of this experiment, I left the hem as is. All that to say, wow this dress is comfortable! The fabric is breathable and I can see wearing this during these hot Tennessee summers. I will make the alterations I prefer but I will for sure make more Olympia’s in cotton lycra simply for the comfort.
For my fourth dress I chose a solid black liverpool, also from Pretty Posh Prints.
Liverpool is a type of double knit that has a texture on the right side of the fabric. This fabric has amazing stretch and is stable enough to not worry about wearing a slip underneath. My sewing machine really hated this fabric though so that was a challenge. I was worried about the drape of the skirt but hoped it would turn out like the ponte dress. Once I moved past my machine challenges I found that this was very easy to sew as well. When I tried this dress on, I knew I had found the perfect combination for my body. The (affil) Olympia dress and Liverpool fabric! This dress is comfortable and can be dressed up or down. I didn’t own the classic “Little Black Dress”, so this dress filled that void. The bodice fit perfectly and doesn’t show imperfections and the skirt length and drape is exactly what I was hoping for. Liverpool is not as breathable as cotton Lycra so I will reserve wearing this during the summer for when I am indoors.
Last I went with one of my favorite fabrics, ITY!
ITY stands for Interlock Twist Yarn. It is a stretchy slinky fabric that drapes beautifully and doesn’t wrinkle! Yep, no wrinkles!!! For the girl who ONLY uses her iron for sewing, this is a huge bonus. I love to sew with ITY because the end result is always a success. With that said, I would not recommend ITY for someone brand new to knits. It is slippery and can be difficult to work with. Once you are comfortable with knits then I highly recommend you try it. The neck line on this one challenged me the most simply because of the fabric. I thought this one was going to be a slam dunk for me. I am the lover of ITY right? But this one is just meh for me. The skirt is amazing although I did skip pockets on this one due to fabric shortage. However the bodice is definitely a closer fit and it shows every lump and bump. I like it from the front, it’s the way it hugs my back that I am not a fan of. It also hugs my tummy a tiny bit but I feel like adding the belt distracts from that. I won’t give up on ITY though, my next one I’ll just size up a tiny bit. The ITY does give this dressier look and I definitely see this as work attire. I will add a black blazer for work and that will help me hide the areas I am self conscious about while looking completely put together.
Many people have asked what fabric to use since the Olympia came out.
It is all really a personal preference on what look you are going for. I hope this experiment has helped you envision what the (affil) Olympia looks like in different fabrics. My overall favorite for me is the Liverpool with the Ponte being a very close second. Now go make all the Olympias!