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.
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!