Pattern review: the Overture set

Howdy ho! I hope you’ve all been having a wonderful summer – mine’s been crazy stressful thanks to the demands of a shitty project (hence the radio silence over the past two months). I haven’t felt like there’s been much time for anything and I ended up being told to take a week off once the project went live. I had grand plans for that week. I was going to do ALL the sewing, but it coincided with a heat wave and all I wanted to do was spend time in the coldest place in south west London. Turns out it’s the fruit and veg section of the Colliers Wood Sainsburys, but that’s another story.

Pattern envelope

The only thing I did manage to make was the Overture top by Storybook Patterns which came free with the latest issue of Simply Sewing magazine here in the UK (it was still available in Sainsburys yesterday… I spend too much time in that place). It’s a floaty dress/top with a little pointed collar and a pleat in the back to give it a bit more volume. The full shape was something of a departure for me, as I usually prefer a more fitted silhouette, whether it’s a cinched waist or slimmer bodice, but I figured it would be good for big dinners and hot temperatures.

The samples in the magazine were made up in cotton lawns, but I knew something with more drape would look good. Luckily I had some funky and floaty pineapple print viscose that I bought on a recent trip to Copenhagen in my stash. I also had some black crepe for a contrast collar, so I was all ready to go.

Pineapple viscose

Pineapple viscose from Stoff & Stil in Copenhagen. Our hotel was two streets away. I had to visit; it was FATE.

Assembling the pattern
If you’re going to have a go at this pattern, I’d recommend looking at all four pattern sheets together before you start tracing/cutting out. Because the pattern has a lot of fullness, the back bodice pieces won’t fit on a single sheet, so you have to trace or stick them together – four separate elements make up the single pattern piece. I didn’t realise this and got myself really confused. I suspect it’s something to do with printing/paper restrictions, but I almost gave up as a result.

Fit and drafting
My measurements corresponded with size D and I was pretty pleased with the results, cos it fit me straight out of the packet. Normally I’d grade out for the hips, but looking at the finished measurements, I was confident I wouldn’t need to. The drafting was also spot on with everything matching up nicely.


The front. The hem is higher at the front than the back.

Judging by the level of detail in the instructions, the Overture set is aimed at ambitious beginners. It’s a reasonably simple pattern, but it teaches some useful skills including two different seam finishes, pleats and inserting a collar. These are all explained really clearly and are accompanied by pictures, which is great and I felt there was something to learn in there for more experienced sewists. For the most part I skimmed the two sheets of instructions, but I appreciated having my hand held a bit more when inserting the collar. I have to say I couldn’t be bothered with the Hong Kong binding used on the back bodice, preferring to use the overlocker, but the side seams are nice and Frenchified.


Here’s that back pleat. In the wind, the back billows out like a cape, making me look like a superhero. Unfortunately these photos were taken on a still day. Shame.

This top took me four days to complete, what with the heat, stops for ice cream breaks and not being able to fathom out how to assemble the pattern properly. I’m quite pleased with the results. I’ve done a reasonable job in pattern-matching in places, and I’m happy with the finish, which is lovely and neat with a hand-sewn collar and hem. I may change the button at the collar, as it’s a little too big and is making the collar itself sit awkwardly, but I’m generally happy with the way it’s turned out.

Back collar

Kind of difficult to see in this photo as it’s all black, but the button has skewed the way the right hand collar piece sits.

I really enjoyed sewing this top, and I like the floatiness, but practically speaking I’m not sure how much wear it’s going to get – for now at least. In this fabric, the shape doesn’t lend itself to layering, so now we’re leaving the summer months behind I may not get a chance to wear it as is.

The Overture top is the first pattern I’ve made that I’ve got free with a magazine, and I’m impressed with the results. Looking at their website, Storybook Patterns are only just setting up, but I’d be interested in seeing what else they have to offer. One to watch!





10 thoughts on “Pattern review: the Overture set

  1. Naomi says:

    Nice work! A really cute wee top. And congrats on delivering your project. August has been like that for me too – two huge deadlines on 31 August! This week I am taking a day off and as I only work 4 days a week that means I am finally getting the correct balance in my week: 3 days at work, 4 day weekend! Whoop!

    • Jo Laycock says:

      Thanks! And well done to you on your deadlines too! The thought of having a week off was what really kept me going towards the end of it – was just fed up with spending too much time in the office!

  2. Lynsey Welch says:

    Super top, I think it looks great in a drapier fabric and it has lovely details, I’ve not heard of Storybook Patterns before but will look out for them, it’s so helpful to get reviews.

    • Jo Laycock says:

      Thanks! I think they’re just setting up – according to their website this looks like the first pattern they’ve released. In the last few days I’ve been talking to the lady behind the company and it sounds like they’ll be doing ‘official’ releases in 2017.

  3. emmaandhermachine says:

    I’ve been checking this out as I’m finally getting round to trying it… looks a little tricky for me but I’m hoping the instructions will be as clear as you say and make it a little easier on me!

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