In our fourth ambassador post Laura has made a Named Clothing Valo Dress colour blocked in our heavenly washed linen. We are in love with the look. Over to Laura:

Sometimes a pattern just passes you by and it isn't till you're browsing options for a blog post that something you'd never considered before jumps to the front of your queue! I don't get out to in person shops as often as I'd like to (who has in the last two years?) and it is easy to fall into a pattern hole of previous makes and Instagram faves, so it’s refreshing once in a while to take a step back, look at some pattern companies who you don't usually make and see what there is to spark the imagination. I'll confess that the Named Valo is certainly a pattern that had never crossed my mind to make - the pattern cover sample definitely isn't my style and sometimes that can be hard to overlook when there are just so many patterns out there!

I was initially hesitant and nearly disregarded the pattern because the bust darts are not shown on the line drawings (a real frustration!) and although a quick search of the instagram hashtag didn't reveal many makes, the few that were there gave me the nudge I needed. Once I'd got it in my mind this was the pattern for me, I kept dreaming up all the possibilities. Those who follow me on Instagram will know I'm a big fan of bold patterns, but I've been absolutely loving bold colourblocking recently and the combination of the unusual style lines and colourblock opportunity had me sold.

The washed linen that Backstitch stock is just lovely to work with and wear. It has drape but would hold a pleat or gather beautifully too - and I decided it would be a great transitional fabric choice for my Valo. Narrowing down the colours was the hard bit! I went with the sunshine and royal colourways which are both bright but not in your face bright - a really lovely combination for the Valo.

I was so impressed with the bust dart placement that I was even more shocked they weren't on the line drawings! I usually end up lowering my bust darts on most patterns, and Named seemed to have taken the time to account for differing apex heights for different sizes, they were spot on in my quick toile so I actually made no fit adjustments to this at all - which feels like such a blessing!

I did make a couple of changes/hacks though and this pattern has so many opportunities to hack I can't wait to make some more versions. I changed up the sleeve length to hit halfway between the short and long sleeve option on the pattern, and I removed the seam at the hip in favour of a waist seam. I found this to be far more economical fabric wise as well as my preference visually too. I just split the top pattern piece at the waist, attached the two skirt pieces together accounting for seam allowances as I went.

And all in all its a really nice simple sew - the only exception being the points of the yokes which you do want to make sure you follow the instructions for a nice clean finish. You end up with this really nice hybrid pattern - you get the benefits of set-in sleeves and the casual style of dolman, you get a nice fit around the bust but plenty of room for wearing ease and comfort.

It's also a really versatile pattern in terms of fabric choice - it is designed for linen, but could be made in really any woven fabrics - it would look wonderful in double gauze and I have a viscose version planned - and you could even make the most of beautiful quilting cottons for those yoke pieces too.

I've had such fun with this project and I can't wait to show you what I'm planning with the extra linen I purchased with my Ambassador voucher.

Pattern: Named Clothing Valo Dress
Fabric: Washed Linen in Sunshine and Royal
Size: Laura measures Bust 46”, Height 5’7” and made the size 50.
Adjustments: No fit adjustments but a couple of hacks outlined more in the text!
Notes on construction: You need to be careful and take your time over the yoke to give a nice even point at the centre front and back - but otherwise a very quick and easy make.
Notes on future makes: So many hack options to this pattern! Next time round I'll take a larger seam allowance on the shoulder seams as I near the neckline.

About Laura:
Laura is an engineer and maker based in Hampshire with her husband and growing family of cats. She loves trying her hands at all crafts but sewing her own wardrobe of bright colours and bold prints brings her the most joy.