As soon as Fancy Tiger Crafts debuted their newest pattern, Fen, I knew that I wanted to give it a try. I really like simple, woven shirts that I can pull over my head without any closures (Scout tee, I'm looking at you.). And the fact that it has a dress option? That sold me.
I bought the paper version of the pattern on the day it was released. I prefer paper over pdf for many reasons, some of which are: 1. I HATE taping computer paper together. All that trimming! I'd rather spend my time sewing; 2. There are three women in this house with adult sized bodies and we are all different sizes so it makes sense to invest in paper patterns that are easy to trace; 3. I have yet to find a good storage solution for taped together pdf's. With a paper pattern, I can fold it all up in its little envelope before I tuck it away. Win!
The pattern is wonderful. Beyond choosing whether to make a dress or a top, there are two neckline options (round and v-neck), two hem options and two sleeve lengths. The versatility is top notch. The instructions are well-written and very easy to follow. Especially clever is the way the neck binding is top-stitched into place using a double needle which, in turn, finishes the raw edges on the inside at the same time!
For my version, I chose to make a top out of this lovely Loominous Big Love plaid that I picked up at Craft South in June. I really thought I would save this fabric for a dress, but I am glad I used it for this top. It's a great transitional piece that I will wear a lot more this fall and through the winter into spring. It does wrinkle – I wore this all day before the photos were taken – but I can live with a little ironing in my life. I went with a rounded neck and the shirttail hem, both of which are just more "me" than the other choices. I lengthened the front and the back by 1" and it looks good. I do think another 1/2" would be even better – duly noted for the next one. I chose to add the optional sleeve and debated on how to make it look right with the scale of this plaid. I had a wild idea to cut it on the bias so that it would look deliberate when the plaid didn't match and I am happy with that choice. I love how it looks! Still, had it not worked out, I still had an extra 1/2 yard of fabric to cut the sleeve again. Got to love a good insurance policy!
Once I had all the pieces cut out, the sewing went smoothly and extremely FAST. I had the whole thing sewn up in about two hours and that was with changing to the double needle and back to the single and some fiddling to get the hem right. And, truthfully, the hem could be better, but I'm not pointing out what I think the issues are because I am probably the only one who sees them.
I made a size 12 and the fit is good. I could probably have graded out to a 14 at the hip and I might try that on another top. I don't think that would be necessary on the dress as the waistline is high enough that the 12 will be the correct size for my torso and the gathered skirt would be full enough in the hips. Someone on Instagram asked if I did a full bust adjustment and I didn't have to. I'm a full C, small D and I think there is just the right amount of ease. Much bigger and it would be very baggy under the arms.
I think that about covers it all. Questions? Hit me and I'll answer them in the comments for everyone's benefit. Also, has anyone else made the Fen? Let me know so I can take a look-see.