Papercut Pattern’s Axis Dress & Skirt first caught by eye back in May, when browsing through the various #memademay2020 posts on Instagram. Since then, I’ve completed one practice muslin dresses, two dresses and one modified skirt, all in the pencil skirt silhouette. I very much enjoyed the process of putting these together, and hope this review helps you if you are looking for a new dress pattern to try out.
Variation 1: Practice Dress
For me, making a practice piece was critical for this (or any) dress. Based on measurements, I went with a size 2 throughout. I also shortened the bottom length by 2.5”, for no reason except that I ran out of pattern paper length lol.
This was my first time sewing an invisible zipper, and I’m glad I was able to practice on this first. I followed this YouTube tutorial, for anyone who is looking to do the same. I totally messed up the placement of the zipper and put it too far down (read the instructions!), but that was OK since it was a practice.
Ultimately, the fit was good with a few exceptions – the hips were a bit snug, torso a little too long and the neckline felt too high. I adjusted for all these in the next variation. Additionally, I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what interfacing to buy (and most were sold out at the time), so I went without. I thought the structural integrity of the dress was just fine, so I didn’t bother using interfacing later.
Variation 2: Quilting Cotton Dress
For this version, I cut a size 2 top graded to a size 3 bottom. I also added 2” length to the top of each strap piece, while removing 1” from the ‘body’ portion of the back pieces if that makes sense. To match that adjustment, I removed 1” from the bottom of the front bodice piece, and moved the dart markings up accordingly.
Once I tried it on, I realized that the size 3 bottom was too generous – so I had to take it in to somewhere around a 2.5 size. Overall, I was pleased how this came out! The adjustments worked out really well – I was worried about shortening the torso correctly, but it came out great. This is a wonderful summer dress if you make it in a crisp cotton or linen material.
Variation 3: Rayon Dress
Really love this rayon print called “She” from Ruby Star Society. I am a sucker for rayon and silk if you can’t notice, despite the challenges with sewing them. I made the same fit modifications as above, with a size 2 top and size “2.5” bottom.
For the skirt, I decided to turn the front slit into two on the sides, which was an easy modification. And despite some… cutting wonkiness (I was half lazy cut the fabric on the fold, when I should have done the larger pieces one by one…), it still fit great.
The only part I need to adjust is the bodice side seam where one of the back ties passes through. Due to the softer nature of rayon, it pulls and gaps a little bit, so you can see my skin here. Not entirely sure how I’ll fix this, but I may simply add extra fabric to the inside layer to cover the gap inside. If anyone has advice, please do let me know.
Variation 4: Rayon Skirt
Earlier this summer, I found this perfect Cloud9 peach print rayon (sold out, but similar here). I wanted to capture the essence of Reformation and also this Amour Vert skirt. To do so, I changed the front of the Axis Skirt from two pieces to three, and created one slit between two of the panels. Instead of a zipper for the back (read: lazy), I decided to use elastic after seeing the Amour Vert style. While I used the original pattern as a base, I cut it more like a rectangle at the top instead of narrowing.
While cutting the pieces, I also added an extra ½ – 1” width on each of the sides, as I became very concerned that it wouldn’t fit over my hips. Turns out, I needn’t have done this, as I ended up cutting that extra width off to slim the silhouette. It would have fit just fine had I stuck with my original measurements!
I like how this turned out, with the exception of two little things. I now understand why people use interfacing… because the waistband is thin and soft, it has a tendency to fold / roll over if I’m sitting or bending. It’s not the end of the world, but now I know.
Additionally, I had cut the front skirt panels on straight lines, but you can see they curve slightly outwards at the top where they meet the waistband, due to the tension there. If I were to make this again, I would cut the lines of the panels to curve slightly inwards at the top. Despite those two minor details, this is a 100% wearable skirt that I’ve already worn multiple times this summer.
Lastly, some additional learnings:
- This was my first foray into something a bit more complex than a flowy top. I found it best to divide the project into different days – one for pattern tracing and cutting, one for sewing, and one for any final / finishing touches or adjustments. I would say it took me about ~45 minutes to cut the fabric, and anywhere from 4 – 5 hours to sew depending on the fabric type…
- Speaking of which, this was the first pattern I used on both cotton and rayon. The cotton version was fairly straightforward, while the rayon variation took more time for both cutting and sewing. Like silk, it can slip easily and is delicate as well. Ultimately, I find the pain worth it because I love how rayon drapes.
- Don’t be afraid to experiment and change up the pattern. And when you do, trust your measurements – I find it comforting that constructing garments is fairly straightforward and logical. If your math is solid, trust it!