Making the Vega dress for Fayma Patterns

Disclosure: This post is an affiliate collaboration with a 25% discount for any purchasers using the code LAINEEMAKES25. I will also receive a commission for any sales. At the time of posting the code is active.

I was thrilled to be invited to take part in a collaboration with Fayma Patterns. This was a new-to-me pattern company that ties in with my quest to master fitting on my garments. Their unique selling point is using your body measurements to create a bespoke pattern with the ideal fit. I’m always game for anything techie that binds my creative and analytical sides together.

I happily agreed to the collaboration and got excited about working on this. The beauty of this idea is that each pattern that you purchase fits you perfectly because it’s based on your body. So I was interested to see how this pans out.

(c) Fayma Patterns

My first impressions of the website were positive. I like the fact that they seem to have considered diversity, to an extent, in the models that they use. There are some models of colour and some older models. Interestingly, although their tagline is “No more sizes just me”, I thought the size range of models shown was still limited.

I was invited to choose a pattern from the huge range that they offer and I chose the Vega dress which is a sleeveless, double-breasted trench-style dress. I chose this one deliberately as it is fitted and designated for advanced sewers. I wanted to test out the system. And I’d just like to point out that although I received the pattern for a nominal fee, I’m going to be completely honest in my review of this system.

Vega dress @Fayma

Okay, to use Fayma, you create an account on their website, but you also need to download their app. You have to use the phone app to set up your individual profile. This is where the fun begins. This is an involved process, you have to take 35 measurements. It’s very thorough and I found I needed help with this so I roped in the Other Half for tape measure duties. When you input the data, Fayma’s system will calculate your body size and process your unique pattern. Once the data is complete, the system generates the pattern.

The Vega Dress

There are a lot of pieces in this pattern, for example, there is a right and left piece for each side. The process seems based on cutting the pieces individually rather than on double fabric and while cutting on single fabric is probably best practice, it feels like overkill. To illustrate, they have you cut out four identical pocket pattern pieces (that’s easy for you to say) when one would do and every mirrored piece is duplicated. I think the purpose of this is to ensure absolute accuracy. While I was taking my measurements I noticed that this app identified that I have one shoulder slightly lower than the other. If this is translated into the pattern, this would be really useful if you have significant asymmetry in your body, for example, you have had a mastectomy or have limb length discrepancy. I did print out both fronts and compared them, they seemed to match so I only printed out one of each of the remaining pairs of pieces and cut double.

Now I’m usually “Team PDF” but Fayma uses a separate PDF document for every pattern piece which is a negative for me. I found this really time-consuming and it generated so much wasted paper. In addition to this, it makes the final cost of the pattern extremely expensive. I printed at home but estimate the additional cost of printing to be about £10 I wish that they would look again at how their AI works and see if they can get it to place the pattern pieces more efficiently.

I found this amazing-looking pure wool cupro fabric at Minerva last year and bought 3m of it. I decided it was perfect for this dress as it has an incredible sheen and is fluid in the hand. It has a dark reverse which almost looks like a self lining so I decided to use limited interfacing – only where things clearly needed reinforcing.

It was actually a more technical sew than I imagined. It is definitely advanced level and you need to be very meticulous in the sewing to get all the finishes to come together well. A stand collar with notched revers means that there are some really intricate sections and I had to go very slowly and carefully. It’s absolutely crucial to use all of the notches and marks to match your pieces up properly as the revers are the make-or-break detail as they are front and centre and near your face.

The instructions are incredibly detailed and I appreciated that. They seemed to have thought of everything and not assumed that you would know how to do things, like seam finishes.

I did hit a snag when I was trying to navigate the all-in-one facing. When I reached a point where I have to join the facing and the main body of the dress I had reason to regret my decision to pick the most advanced pattern.  There are two sets of pieces provided in the pattern and depending on your size you end up with either one side panel or two. If you have two side panels there’s a nice, clear description of how to attach the all-in-one facing before you sew up the sides of the dress and then by some spatial sorcery you can pull it all through the shoulder seams and turn the facing right side out. However, if you have a single side panel like me, it simply isn’t that easy and when I worked through the instructions and got to the crunch point of finishing the armholes and turning it all the right way out, my instructions … just … ended. I contacted Fayma, who came back with a workaround, but I simply couldn’t get my head around it, so the Vega dress had to go to timeout for a little bit while I thought it through.  I did come up with a solution that is almost as difficult to describe as it is to do.

Mission almost impossible understitching

With the wrong sides together you have to reach into the garment and pull the shoulder seams out and pin them together in the seams. Then carefully pin the armholes of the dress and the facing pinning them together as far as you can go around the armhole.  You may have to return to the shoulder seam and work in the other direction to get all the way around.  Then turn everything back inside in and understitch the armhole on the facing, turning in the seam allowance.  Again you won’t be able to do this in one sweep you might have to go back and stitch in the other direction because you’re pulling this through the shoulder channel. Just make sure to press, press, press, using a pressing cloth and ham or other tools to help you get a nice shape in your armhole. By this point, I wasn’t loving this very much but this was the worst part of the process.

After this, I decided I needed my inside to be prettier than it looked at that point, therefore I did need bias binding on the inside around the edge of the facing after all. So I added some contrasting satin bias binding. Then I put the dress down for a while waiting for the pattern update.

Months later I remembered the Vega dress. You know I said that the facing was the worst part, well I had a bit of turmoil with the hem attachment too. There are multiple pieces to match the pieces of the dress and for someone who loves to transpose pieces and suffers from the upside-downsie-back-to-frontsies, it was a bit of a mission. I’m pretty sure something’s not right. Two layers of fabric plus interfacing take away the drape that I think it needs.

I finished the dress with covered buttons and a self-fabric belt with a covered buckle and eyelets. I enjoyed making these elements and I think they give any garment a bit of Luxe.

I’ve got very mixed feelings about this project. The presentation of the patterns is excellent, the website easy to use and the outcome is quite nice. Does it fit? In my opinion, it feels a bit loose, there are some drag lines at the shoulder and it’s not as fitted as I expected. I look at the modelled version and it’s not close fitting on her so maybe there is meant to be this much ease. Also, I have been going to the gym (mostly) regularly in the months since I started making this dress and while I haven’t lost much weight, I think my shape has changed subtly. However, that may be because of my years of teaching that makes me want to mitigate the failings of the pattern. I need to re-measure to confirm this but I’m reluctant to repeat those 35 points. Does it look good? Mmm, maybe, but I think the overall balance is off, mainly due to the lower panel. It’s giving me “crinoline” instead of a fluid drape. It’s making me question whether it was the pattern or was it my choice of fabric or my skills that let it down. However, there were enough exasperating parts to this experience to make me a little ambivalent about the finished item. I wanted to love this system, but the waste and the incomplete pattern instructions were disappointing. Also, I was looking forward to a new fruitful collaboration which seems destined to come to nothing as I’m still waiting on them to come back.

After I finished writing everything above here, I got dolled up and took some basic phone photos in my back bedroom. I’m feeling less bad about the dress as I like the look of it when dressed up. The fabric is stunning and makes me feel better about the project. Can I recommend it? Not 100% but wouldn’t say it’s a No-no either.

The downsides are the paper waste, the mistake in the pattern and the lack of follow up. It’s interesting that while their website is still live, there appears to be no activity on their IG since February when I last heard from them. I have thoughts.

I don’t really know how to end this post so I’m just going to chalk this down to experience and maybe give you an update when the dress has been out in the wild.

Thanks for dropping by,

About Elaine Batiste

I'm a teacher, a lifelong learner, a traveller, a maker, an adventurer and a 'want to do more' kind of gal.

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