What seems like forever ago, Lisa of Paprika Patterns generously sent me a copy of their Zircon Sweater/Dress pattern to review. I was really excited to get a chance to sew it up because the design details really intrigued me. Then life happened. And then Christmas happened. And then more life happened. And now here it is, the first day of spring, and I'm reviewing a top that I had initially planned as perfect for cozying up in through the long cold winter months. Oh well. Depending on your own fabric choices you could easily make this one for whatever season you wanted! So, lets get on with my better late than never review of this versatile pattern from Paprika Patterns!
Zircon, as I mentioned, has a some really neat design details. The geometric shaped yoke and insets look really challenging to sew, but in actual fact are no where near as bad as it would seem. It does take time to achieve nice crisp corners, but if you take that time and go slowly its well worth the effort! Lisa walks you through it pretty thoroughly in the pattern instructions but if you're still hesitant or struggling, she has a tutorial up on the Paprika Patterns site as well which will guide you through.
Other than the yokes and insets - spoiler alert: the insets for the top are super easy especially since you'll be so practiced on the yokes by the time you do it. It took me a few minutes and I didn't even use pins at all and they came out pretty darn good if I do say so myself! - the rest of the sewing is very easy to do.
Fit wise I have absolutely no complaints. I chose a size seven based on my measurements (and previous Paprika Patterns designs) and only added a bit of length to the body for personal preference. Zircon comes in the usual vast range of sizes for Paprika Patterns - sizes 1-10 or a finished bust of 35" all the way to 50 1/2" and I found it to be right in line with the sizing of the other Paprika Patterns garments I've sewn in the past. I do really love it when I can trust that a new pattern by a favourite designer is going to give me the same great fit I've come to expect from their previous designs and Lisa does a fantastic job of delivering on this. I've not been disappointed yet.
For me the biggest challenge of Zircon is fabric choice. One of my delays was my initial choice of fabric. As soon as I laid out my pattern pieces on my fabric I realized what a poor choice I'd made. I was on the fast track to resembling none other than an ill fated Star Trek "red shirt". Thank goodness I realized it before putting scissors to fabric! I quickly realized that my next choice was still pretty Star Trek-ish although at least I'd likely live to see another day, unlike the red shirts. Don't get me wrong. I am a Star Trek fan to a certain degree, but that does not mean I want to go through life looking like a Star Fleet wannabe. So, back to the drawing board. I eventually settled on using a somewhat texturized looking knit for the body and it's plain reverse side for the yoke and inset detail. I'm not crazy about the fabric, but it's definitely better than my previous plans!
My only slightly negative thought, (and it has nothing to do with the pattern quality at all) is that the neckline feels a touch too high for me. I've been mulling over this since finishing my top (ok - really I finished it just before lunch and it's only 2pm now, so it's not been a lot of mulling) and I feel that the high feeling neckline is just me and my preferences. I generally sew/wear tops with a lower scoop or v neck as I find they feel a bit more comfortable and flattering on me, but I'm going to give it some more time to see if it grows on me before I change it up at all. I didn't worry about finishing the edge of the neckline at all, so if I do decide to change it down the road, I won't have to fight with removing serging.
I actually only serged the hem and the sleeves (and of course once I make a decision about the neckline I'll finish it off with some serging too). The rest of the pattern was easier to just leave the seam allowances as is so as not to add any bulk on the corners. The stable knit I chose doesn't curl at all at the edges and of course being a knit, it won't fray either, so I wasn't worried about finishing them off. I just notched all the corners before pressing to get them to lay flat and smooth. (holy cat hair, Batman! Fluffy the very annoying feline sewing assistant was sitting on my fabric while I was working on it and it shows. I guess he felt it the comfiest spot in which to chew on the thread as it passed by. Damnable cat. He thinks thread makes the best kitty dental floss ever. Especially if it's moving through the machine at the time. Aggghhh. Anyways. Apologies for the frightening amount of fur in the photo!)
All in all, I give the Zircon Sweater/Dress pattern a two thumbs up and highly recommend it! It'll be a great addition to any wardrobe and depending on fabric choices can take you from season to season. I feel it could easily be dressed up or down too, depending on the fabric from downright comfy weekend sweatshirt to something much classier and going out or office appropriate. So a big thank you to Lisa for sending me the pattern!
*Just a quick reminder that although I did receive the pattern for free all opinions expressed here are my own, so you can feel confident that if you choose to sew up your own Zircon you'll really be getting your money's worth with this pattern.