Pattern Review | Marsha Style Alea Dress
It is no secret that I love the patterns from Marsha Style. With the exception of the Sia dress, I have sewn them all and have been privileged to be a tester on her last three pattern launches (The Shameka, The Grace and the Cortney), so there was no doubt in my mind what my answer would be when Taree asked if I would test again for the Alea dress. And that was before I had seen the pattern.
When I did see the pattern drawings for the Alea dress pattern, I was blown away by the versatility of this one. At its base level, it is a shirt dress, or a shirt (top length) but the pattern provides 3 sleeve options, 2 different lengths, 2 different collars and 2 waist options. So many versions can be created from this 1 pattern!
As always with the Marsha Style patterns, there is an element of laid back cool with the Alea Dress but this is a pattern that can create smarter styles too.
The Alea has been born from a collaboration from Taree with Anna of Sew Lala patterns and it is clearly a pairing that works as I think this one is a winner.
The sizing is inclusive going from a 78cm to 149cm bust and 88cm – 158cm hips. To get going on tthe Alea pattern, the extras you’ll need aside from your fabric are:
– fusible interfacing
– elastic for the waist if adding this option
Pattern & INSTRUCTIONS
The Alea Dress and shirt has a relaxed fit, simple, chic design lines and can easily be dressed down, or smartened up.
With a drop shoulder and multiple options as listed out above, it is really simple to mix up the 4 views that are provided on the packet. And this is what I decided to do.
I made 2 Aleas, my first being a combination of View B and View D, and then my second is view D, but without the pockets.
I found the construction process and instructions to be really helpful, straightforward and the diagrams are always a help. This would be a good pattern for someone wanting to attempt buttons for the first time for example as there is no tricky placket to sew.
One of the interesting elements of this pattern is the pockets which are oversized with an unusual shape. At first I wasn’t sure about them, but I added them to my first Alea Dress and I love how they look. They are really well balanced on the dress.
Having made a lot of Marsha Style patterns, I dived right in with my standard start point, the size 16. I had decided I would be making the dress version of the pattern, with the blouson/gathered sleeves, stand up collar and the waist band. In my head this was going to be my perfect Autumn dress.
I actually found the 16 was a bit too voluminous for me and the waist point wasn’t quite right as a result of having too much fabric above the waist band.
After a fair bit of conferring with Taree and Anna, I decided that I would finish up this dress and make another version, this time sizing down to the 14.
I love the first Alea Dress that I made and although it doesn’t fit as well as my second, it’s my favourite!
There is no question though that my second Alea, view D with cuffed cap sleeves fits so well. The sleeves and shoulders are great and by not having too much fabric above the waist, the skirt of the dress hangs just as it should.
I could, if I wanted a blousier fit, move the waist point on the larger size and this would resolve how the skirt hangs, which is the main problem with my orignal version.
A pattern for all seasons
Being in New Zealand, I often find that I am out of sync with the patterns as they launch. Just as all the new summer dress patterns launch we are heading into winter and as the rest of the sewing world starts to make snugglier projects we start sweltering!
The all-season style that the Alea can offer is a real beauty of this pattern. I can already see that my first version (longer and with sleeves) is going to be a staple for the autum.. just add tights and winter boots. While my View D is going to be fabulous come spring – summer.