Welcome to the Breaking Ground Blog Tour 2018. This week over 20 bloggers are joining together to break new ground by trying a pattern designer that is new to them, try new techniques, new styles, or whatever way they want to push themselves.

We’d love to see how you’re Breaking Ground this month. Share with us what you’re working on by using the hashtag #BreakingGround2018 across social media.

Better yet, join the Sew Alongs & Sewing Contests facebook group to sew along with the Breaking Ground theme for the entire month of March. In the group you’ll find support and encouragement for your projects and fun themed challenges.


Hello and welcome to Breaking Ground 2018! This year the Breaking Ground tour has teamed up with the Sew Alongs and Sewing Contest fb page! To find out more about our group and this partnership hop on over to fb and ask to join our page!

The objective of the Breaking Ground tour is to have bloggers sew and introduce a new to them pattern maker or company. Bonus points if a new style or technique is a part of your pattern choice.

Valentine and Stitch (V&S) pattern designs is new to me and is the designer for my Breaking Ground sew!

V&S is an Indie pattern maker based in the UK. I had never heard of them until a fb sewing friend brought them to my attention and they became a prize sponsor on our fb page offering a free pdf pattern to be awarded at the end of March AND a great discount code to our membership valid through the 16th! Currently they offer 7 women’s patterns (including 2 free and an extension pack!) and a couple of patterns for younger girls, all which are very well priced. They also offer a few tutorials.

For the tour I chose to sew up the Cassandra dress purchasing both the dress and the extension pack for some knit shirts later on.

I had no trouble purchasing, printing, assembling and cutting the pattern pieces. Aside from the normal variations I get from my printer, the pattern went together very easily. As of this post, V&S does not offer a layered version of the Cassandra, all sizes are printed. As long as there are not a bunch of lines intersecting and overlapping (which there are not), I do not have an issue with this. Also, the pattern is sized Small, Medium, Large, etc… so one doesn’t have to wade through a bunch of different sizes.

Intially, I wanted to sew the dress with stretch velvet fabric I had left over from my Vogue 1520 make. But, here in southern Indiana it is spring and breezy, flowy dress time. Darker, heavy velvet seems more suited to fall/winter and I wanted something that could take me through summer. Velvet will have to wait. From my stash I found 3 yards of 60” drapey double faced knit; doublesidedfabricmedium heather gray with a marble look on one side and light colored with small pinholes on the other. Slight hesitation because grays are not my best colors.

The dress pattern has two neckline options; one round and the other a plunge. I was confident I would have to take up the length in the front shoulder strap no matter which option I chose so I went with the plunge neckline which is a more flattering neckline for me. Based on the V&S size chart, I chose a size L.

Plunge neckline with 1″ taken from front straps

The dress can be made with long or short sleeves and a straight or hi-low hem. Considering my fabric, I thought a flutter or cap sleeve would be more attractive. In the spring I could layer with a cardi and for summer the sleeves will be just right.

I decided to take a gamble on the hem. I have always had this idea that a hi-low hem would look terrible on me. The hi-low on the Cassandra was not extreme and considering the drape of my fabric and the less formal style I was going for, the hi-low seemed appropriate. I went for it!

First, I drafted my flutter sleeve using the Cassandra sleeve pattern piece and this Craftsy tutorial. Then, using a large piece of a tissue knit remnant I made a quick toile. In hindsight, it was a mistake to use this remnant for a toile. It was very fiddly and slippery and I spent more time just trying to line up seams than really focusing on what I should have. When it came time to insert the sleeves I was so annoyed with the fabric, I skipped them. Because I skipped them, I did not think about my usual narrow shoulder adjustment which I do on all patterns! Also, I was short on fabric so had to cut the front piece of the toile on the crosswise grain which had zero stretch. The toile ended up not being very similar to what I would end up with and all together not very useful!

Styled this way, the hi-low hem and flutter sleeves turned out okay!

However, my actual fabric was very easy to work with and the dress sewed up quickly and without issue. One thing I was able to ascertain from my toile version is that I would need a 1 inch front strap adjustment. I probably should have taken up another half inch or more. I made the same adjustment to the front neck facing and then folded out about 1″ from my flutter sleeve at the center.


What I sewed:
Cassandra in double faced cotton knit
size large
1” front strap adjustment
self drafted flutter sleeve
hi-low version.

I ended up with a pretty good fit even though I did not make the alterations I should have.

What I should have sewn:
Cassandra in…something else: better color for me; more interesting fabric, more fluidity or more structured?
size medium bodice graded to large at the hip
1.5” front strap adjustment
¼ to ½” narrow shoulder adjustment
cap or short sleeve OR longer flutter
regular hem version shortened or lengthen to fall just at knee.

At first and through no fault of the designer or the pattern, I thought the dress as sewn made me look like an extra in the Lord of the Rings and it was a definite NO to hi-low hems.  And while I still don’t think it is the most flattering hemline on me, when styled properly, I can manage it. Without the belt, I find it is almost a bit too house dressy but that may be more to do with my fabric choice and the fact that I am on the short side.

I do want to try again, with the Cassandra, all the things I should have done in the first place! It is a good foundation dress to which any number of style options or details (like pockets or decorative stitching) could be added. At its’ minimal, a fast sew and with more interesting fabric, could also be a statement piece. I had no problems with the pattern drafting or instructions and can recommend this pattern.

However, you read it here: there are (probably) NO hi-low hems in my future.

So this concludes my first Breaking Ground blog and tour with the Valentine and Stitch Cassandra dress! A big thank you to Melissa for organizing the Breaking Ground 2018 tour and to Valentine and Stitch for their generosity to our fb group!
withsweaterSew Alongs and Sewing Contest is a facebook group hosting monthly themed sew alongs. For the month of March, we have teamed up with Melissa and the Breaking Ground Blog Tour 2018. It is not too late to join us on fb and to try something new for March! And, you just might win a prize!

Monday March 12- mahlicadesigns, Sewing Vortex, Sewing A La Carte, Little Heart Threads, The Sewing Scientist

Tuesday March 13- Musings of A Seamstress, A Custom Clothier, Octaves of Color, Aurora Design Fabrics, Sew Altered Style

Wednesday March 14- Flaxfield Sewing, Chook n Duck, Tales of a Tester, Sewing By Ti, Sewing Vortex, Kathy’s Kwilts and More

Thursday March 15- Very Blissful, Manning the Machine, Sew and Tell Project, Musings of a Seamstress, Stitches by Laura

Friday March 16- Lulu & Celeste, Tenille’s Thread, Sewing A La Carte, The Bear and Pea Atelier, Aurora Design Fabrics, Sprouting Jube Jube, Kathy’s Kwilts and More

To make the tour even more fun, our Breaking Ground blog team member, Gail is offering 2 patterns of choice from her pattern shop Flosstyle to one lucky winner.

Enter Here!


As always, thanks for stopping by today.