sew it, share it, pass it on

The Lisette Portfolio Dress – was there ever a more coveted pattern? It came on my radar not long after I decided to fashion my own handmade wardrobe and there it has remained firmly lodged. I’ve spent many a late night ebay trawl trying to track down a copy of this out of print rarity. An updated version has been released by Liesl + Co but for me, it lacks the clean lines of the original and don’t even get me started on my aversion to v necks.

On a recent whim, I asked if anyone had a copy of the pattern on Instagram and was overwhelmed with the response. Numerous people offered to keep an eye out, @sewjillian and @sarah_randt kindly proffered to trace off their own patterns but were saved from their labours by @annmariemakes and the generous gift of her own uncut pattern – despite me pointing out she could sell it online for a song. This kindness of virtual strangers stopped me in my tracks – why do something for absolutely no personal gain to help someone you’ve never met? And whilst I think I know the answer, such offers are rare finds and ones I’ll not forget.

The pattern travelled to me from America and its journey inspired me so much, I couldn’t stop waxing lyrical about it. During a conversation with a friend, she suggested that once finished with, I should pass it on. And in an instant a plan was hatched –  this pattern was destined to go adventuring, passed from maker to maker fuelled by the currency of kindness.

But before I send it on its way, a few notes about its construction. The pattern is a Size R5 14, 16, 18, 20, 22 Eur 40-48 FR 42-50. I traced off a size 14 and then racked my brains on the adjustments necessary to fit it to my frame. According to the pattern envelope I was two sizes down at the bust, one up at the waist and 2 up at the hips. And I hadn’t a clue how to bridge the gaps. And then I remembered @beyond_measure_uk commenting how experimental she used to be before she honed her craft and I figured I’d just have a go and see where it get me.

Lisette Portfolio Dress- sewing plans

To mitigate potential misery, I made a second trace to play with – in the face of abject failure I’d still have the basic shape in my possession. And then I set about a toile or two, making adjustments using the disparity between nested patterns on the original, as a guide. From the front and back pieces I took 1.5 cm off the shoulders, shaved off up to 1 cm at the neck, 1.5 cm off the sides down to the waist and graded out to 2 cm at the hip. Basically I just played around with it until I got a result that no longer resembled a sack. I also added 8 cm to the bottom as I was hankering after house dress length rather than shift.

With my dress now complete, the pattern is poised to be released into the wild. If like me, you’ve been searching for it in vain, here’s your chance to lay your hands on one without breaking the bank. #pattern relay – this it how it works:

Sew it – you receive the pattern in the post, trace off the size nearest to yours and get stitching

Share it – once you’re done, share pictures of your dress on your blog and/or Instagram

Pass it on – offer up the pattern on your blog/IG with deets on how to get involved in #patternrelay. You decide who the pattern goes to next.

The pattern is to remain uncut and passed on within a month of receipt. Tag me in your posts @wrong_doll and use the hashtag #patternrelay and we can chart its journey together.

So who’s up for the challenge? I’d love to see this girl travel. If you’d like to join in, message me here or over on Instagram next week and share with me your passion for the portfolio. I’ll pick its next port of call on Sunday 4 September.

Bonne chance et bonne voyages Lisette!




24 thoughts on “sew it, share it, pass it on

  1. Ooh! It’s a bit of a stunner!!!! And what an absolutely superb idea! Could I do it justice and not sure I’d have enough sewing followers to offer it on sensibly afterwards…….😟D’ya know what though, I’d sure give it a go!! 😊 #patternrelay
    Going back to your creation though, it’s beautiful. I’ve not started quite adjusting and shaving patterns just yet, haven’t had the confidence, however, I could be persuaded seeing just how beautifully your dress fits! Clever lady xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Lee You always write such lovely things about my makes – thank you – it’s so encouraging. There has been a huge response – I was really wondering if anyone would be interested! Your name is in the hat – it’s going to be really hard to make a decision. Thank you again – you are an absolute star 🙂


    1. Thank you – I’m so glad you like the idea and my dress – I’m quite proud as it was my first attempt at major pattern adjustments and I think I pulled it off 🙂 Thank you for stopping by – it’s really appreciated.


  2. fantastic – its really lovely. I love the style lines – very elegant casual (pockets such a bonus), and that neckline is a lovely shape. I have looked up other makes and it looks like an incredibly versatile dress. Multi sized patterns are so handy as they are much easier to grade (once you get the hang of it, it becomes second nature……. although I am also prone to a bit of overconfidence there as I have just finished an asymmetric dress and had to do some internal fixes with scraps of fabric after! )and your fabric choice is as ever – perfect! looking forward to seeing where lisette goes next!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Eimear – I’m so glad you like the dress 🙂 It was a step up for me as I’m not quite at the second nature stage of grading! How I wish I could pop round and pick your brains when I’m drowning in projects like this! It was actually not that bad – I just lack confidence and am easily thrown off balance. I’m really chuffed with it – particularly the fabric choices which I do love together. Last time I put two different patterned fabrics together it was quite Frankensteinian and I can see how I’ve progressed since then. There’s been quite a bit of interest in the pattern so I do hope she gets to travel far and wide. You are right to be overconfident – you are my refashioning guru!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I used be a lot more confident and when I made my debs dress years ago I made the pattern myself (it was not well sewn btw) but I was spot on with the pattern. in ways the more I have learned since has me second guessing myself so sometimes is the best to jump in – I wish I knew more sew-ers where I live, but at least I now know some knitters and crochet-ers to meet up with now and its lovely to meet / talk to other makers whether here or online. I saw a ‘winter’ version of that dress in denim with a sweater underneath………looked brilliant as well – think its one of those amaing versatile patterns…. looking forward to your chain reaction!!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You are right Eimear – it is great to be able to link up with people here and online – what did we do without the internets! There are lots of interpretations of the pattern out there so it will be really interesting to see what people do with it. I hope it gets to go on a bit of an adventure – it would be nice to see where it’s been a year or so down the line – if the tissue paper survives and the sewers keep up the momentum. Still thinking about your denim dress – it is da bomb!


  3. Fantabi doh so.What a wowser! I was only thinking after seeing the pattern, what mixtures of fabric I would use for myself, and there they were staring at me in your original. I can see this crossing the age barrier – it’s so versatile. Your ‘pass it on’ concept will be one to follow. There could be a Lisette Frock web convention with a raft of pics showing all the ‘passers on’ wearing this coveted design. AMAZING X

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Terri! I pulled it off!! On my second toile I was royally fed up with it but it’s just because I chose the wrong materials. As soon as I decided to put these two fabrics together it was plain sailing. I do hope she gets to travel far and wide and we can chart her adventures. And there will be yours and Carolyn’s versions to throw into the mix as well:) All being well, I hope to write up a little story of her travels in a year’s time. xXx


    1. Ahh thank you kindly – I’m so glad you like the idea. I’m basically collecting all the names of people who are interested in receiving the pattern from me and choosing one on Sunday. That person then has a month to make the pattern, offer it up on their Instagram page/blog and choose someone from the people who connect with them. You should be able to track it’s journey as I’m asking people to tag me (@wrong_doll) in their pictures which I’ll share and use the hashtag #patternrelay. So it’s a bit like the lottery with a chance to win each month! I’ve put your name in my hat 🙂 x


  4. Your creation of the portfolio dress is really lovely and suits you well; you have a real knack for fabric vision. Like you, I went on a bit of a crusade for this pattern for a while because it’s such a perfectly sweet and versatile dress, practical and flattering, but the ones that came up on my searches were going for $50 or more, gulp, therefore, I would love the chance at sewing the dress up on this relay. Thanks for the fantastic passing it forward idea.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the lovely feedback Nicola – I’m so glad you like the idea – it seemed the right thing to do after it had been so kindly gifted to me. I’ll be picking the next person on Sunday and your name is in the mix! Thanks for stopping by – I really appreciate it 🙂


    1. Thank you Louise 🙂 I do know what you mean – I am not at all super confident about pattern and size adjustments – give me a straightforward sew any day! I had to make two toiles and this project sent me into a bit of a meltdown at times! Someone did often to sell me the pattern and I didn’t buy it as I was too worried I would mess up the alterations. But then I was so kindly given it which gave me the push to give it a go. I’m so glad you like the idea x


  5. The dress looks lovely!! I do like you use of two fabrics. Please can you enter me me in the hat for use of the pattern. Like you l found it way too late after simplicity had withdrawn in. I tried the new cappuccino but hate the v neck. I’ tried to adapt it but can’t get the neck facing so if someone were kind enough to to trace off the front and back neck facings for a size 18 l’d be enternally grateful


    1. Thank you Sharon – I’m so glad you like it and are interested in the idea of my pattern relay. There was so much interest in the pattern and it was very difficult to decide where to send it. I wanted to send it to everyone! Keen an eye on it’s travels by following #patternrelay 🙂 x


    1. There really is such a lovely community of like minded people out there – it’s made a big difference to me and spurred me on to be much more creative than if I was isolated in a little vacuum of my own solitary nature 🙂 Thank you very much for stopping by and encouraging me xx


  6. How wonderful for the offers to locate and trace a copy of the out of print version. I too am desperately seeking a copy. Would you mind passing on the names of those who were willing to copy their own pattern? I have spent countless hours and days looking for one…so sad. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Jill Thank you for stopping by and sharing the Portfolio love 🙂 I think the people were offering to copy it for me personally so I wouldn’t feel comfortable sharing their names to others. However the pattern is doing the rounds on Instagram so if you follow me and the hashtag #patternrelay you will be able to see whee it is and put your name in the hat to be the next recipient when it’s being passed on. Good luck and hope you get the opportunity to sew this pattern in the future 🙂


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