Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Jennifer Lauren Raine Dress

Sometimes a new pattern is serendipitously released just at the same time as I get my hands on some perfectly suited fabric. That's what happened for this project, when Jennifer Lauren introduced the Raine dress to the world just as Seasalt had a fabric sale and I picked up some pretty cotton voile (sadly no longer in stock).

The Raine dress is a 1940s inspired dress with a gently curved waistband, sweetheart or scooped neckline, slanted pockets, and a gathered or pleated skirt.

I particularly like the sweetheart neckline - it's a little more angular than sweetheart necklines often are, which I think makes it look slightly more contemporary whilst still retaining a vintage influence. I also like the fact that the curved waistband (which I'm hoping you can see more clearly in the photo below than in the photos of me wearing the dress where it's pretty much camouflaged!) makes it a bit different to other patterns I own, so I snapped it up pretty much as soon as I saw it.

Another nice feature of the Raine dress is that it comes with multiple bust cups (A to D), which should help to eliminate some fitting adjustments.

Having said that, the bust cups and general body measurements did make me a bit unsure about what size to pick - I'm firmly an A cup (or if anything, less than an A according to the measurements in the pattern!), but my actual bust measurement (38") put me between a size 14 and 16 for the A cup bodice measurements. My waist and hip measurements both put me in a 14, so I decided to go with the A cup bodice in a 14 and see what happened when I made a toile.

Thankfully, my toile fit fairly well so I think that was the right choice! I just needed a fraction more room around the bust, so I resewed the side seams with a 1cm seam allowance instead of 1.5cm. I also adjusted the shoulder seams by the same amount, because I felt like I needed a tiny bit more space in the sleeves/armhole.

I also did my standard bodice lengthening adjustment (this time by 2cm), and cut the skirt at the length for the biggest size, which effectively lengthened it by a couple of centimetres (for reference, I'm about 5ft 8"). If I make this again (and I'd definitely like to!), I'd probably lengthen the skirt just a tad more, but I'll happily wear the skirt this length in this version.

The Raine dress is rated as being for intermediate to advanced sewists, and I think that's probably fair. There are a couple of steps that are slightly trickier than an average unlined dress, such as the all-in-one facing and the side zip. The instructions are really clear and thorough though, so if you've got a couple of dressmaking projects under your belt and you feel like a challenge then just take it slowly and you should be OK.

I really like the finish on the inside of the dress - the all-in-one facing and a facing/lining inside the waistband mean that I'd say that it's the neatest looking non-lined bodice that I've ever made.


The instructions do also call for you to topstitch around the waistband and neckline, which I elected not to do mainly because I couldn't find quite the right shade of blue thread, and when I tried white topstitching it looked a bit too prominent for my liking.

I also deviated slightly from the instructions when it came to gathering the skirt. The instructions call for you to gather the whole skirt including the pockets, but my pockets completely refused to gather so I gave in and just gathered the front skirt in the middle between the pockets. It's a bit different, but I think it looks fine.

All in all, I'm really pleased with my Raine dress. It was a pleasure to sew, and it's lovely to wear. The vintage inspired silhouette is really pretty, and the cotton voile is nice and breezy to wear in this glorious weather. What more could you want from a summer dress?!


  1. Your dress is fabulous! I get what you mean about the shape of the neckline, it's really nice and I haven't seen anything like that before. And who doesn't love it when a fabric and pattern plan come together??!!

    1. Thanks Lynne! It is a lovely neckline - I'm thinking of trying to hack it on to a simple top pattern so I can enjoy it even more!

  2. I really love how you gathered the skirt, I initially thought it was part of the pattern. It makes a lovely and slightly different shape and I imagine makes it easier for your hands to find pockets (I sometimes struggle to find my pockets in a full, gathered skirt.)

    The neckline is gorgeous too. I love how Jennifer Lauren adds sweet vintage details to her patterns yet the resulting clothing still feels very wearable and contemporary.

    1. Yes, the pockets are easier to find with the skirt just gathered in the middle. And I know what you mean about Jennifer Lauren's patterns - they're the perfect mix of vintage inspiration without looking costumey!


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