I know everyone who sews knows what I’m talking about when I talk about falling in love with a pattern but having no clue what it is. Well that happened to me, and I went down a long road when I did. I ended up falling for a pattern in German, meet La Silla by Schnittgefluster. The pattern is available either directly from Schnittgefluster or from Makerist.
This dress looked so comfortable, and in searching for the pattern I found one that somebody made with a giant draped cowl neck, although this neck wasn’t really shown in the design options in the pattern’s instructions, but it was listed in the actual instructions. I knew this would be perfect for Phee’s rayon spandex as its soft, not tissue thin, and drapes beautifully. I chose the burgundy for this to get out of latest comfort zone of neutrals.
To start, I learned that most European patterns don’t have seam allowances, so I had to add my own. To figure out the amount of fabric I needed, I first converted my measurements from inches to centimeters to find my size, then converted the meters to yards to find out how much rayon spandex I needed to order.
Before tracing my size, I decided to pull out a dress that I wanted it to fit like, folded it in half the long way, and laid it on top of my assembled pattern. The size this dress measured at was about 2 sizes smaller than my actual measured size. I guess this where the weird calculation on the percentage of spandex for sizing came in. The pattern has you calculate your size based off of the amount of spandex in the fabric.
I’m going to leave out all the mistakes I made on this dress, and these all happened by not trusting my own measurements. I will tell you that this pattern works beautifully with Phee’s rayon spandex. The instructions are also pretty easy to follow along if you look at the images. Since you create your own seam allowance, you don’t need to worry about that anywhere in the instructions.
If you want to create your own La Silla like I did, here’s how you can using my modifications.
Eliminate Bust Dart
I didn’t want a bust dart on my dress, I have a B cup, and knew I could get away with wearing this dress with a sports bra (which is what I’m also wearing in these pictures), so I knew it was needed.
- Red line: Begin tracing out the pattern’s center front fold, up around the neckline, shoulder, armcye, and down to the top of the dart. Place a horizontal line directly under this mark on the side seam.
- Teal line: Move pattern so that the center front is still aligned, but the bottom of the dart meets the horizontal line you placed at the top of the dart. Once everything is aligned, finish tracing the front of the pattern, including any marks.
- Once you are done tracing the front, make a smooth line to even out the side seam. Your front and back bodice should now match each other in length.
I had the body of my La Silla sewn together, front, back, and sleeves, I thought I was almost done. I tried it on only to realize either German’s have extremely wide shoulders or I needed my regular narrow shoulder adjustment. Since I love the fit of my GreenStyle Green Tee, I knew it could help me out.
I removed hundreds of serger stitches, I had my sleeves completely sewn on, and I removed the front from the back just to the waist, as it felt good there. I got out my Green Tee pattern, folded my front in half, then lined it up. Best part was, the waist on my dress matched perfectly with my Green Tee! I left the neckline and cut new shoulders, armcyes, and side seam down to where the Green Tee flowed into the dress. I repeated the same for the back. For me this was so much easier than doing a complete narrow shoulder adjustment.
I also cut new sleeves from the old sleeves, I did have to move them down a bit and lose some of the length, but since I was already adding longer cuffs with thumb-holes, it was perfect. I like to add thumb cuffs and have room to fold them up where they are only folded over the actual cuff and not the sleeve.
I sewed the dress back together and it was perfect!
The pattern cut layout looked like it has you laying out just one of the large cowl pieces to cut, I also noticed that the grainline on this was completely off from how it show’s in the instructions to be placed for cutting. Instead of trying to figure out the instructions, I just went with my knowledge and cut 2. After sewing each one together, I then place them right sides together along the top of the cowl, and stitched. Turned it right side out, and then pinned this to my neckline.
My La Silla and German Patterns
I am so in love with this dress! The rayon spandex is super soft, and it makes this dress so much more amazing, especially with the drape of the cowl. I also feel amazing, which is worth a way more than anything.
It was an interesting time trying a pattern in another language, but not nearly as challenging as I thought it would be. As long as you have some sewing experience and basic knowledge, it shouldn’t be too difficult. I won’t say this will be my last international pattern that I sew, I just bought another German pattern last week! It probably also won’t be my last La Silla, as I really want to make one with the pockets.
Before I leave you, I want to let you in on a couple of tips I’ve learned while on this journey I had to purchasing a German pattern.
- Use Chrome as your browser, it will translate the page for you so that you can navigate the site and check out with ease.
- Google translate is your friend. I copied instructions from my instructions PDF to a word document without the images, and then uploaded it to Google Translate. There is a max file size on this.
- Don’t forget there’s a 90% chance you need to add your own seam allowance.
- Patterns will most likely need to print on A4 paper. I had some legal size paper easily available, so I just used that, and it worked great!
- To search for a variety of German patterns Makerist is an amazing resource!