Pattern Review: Decades of Style No. 101 The E.S.P. Dress

Hello Lovelies!

Almost exactly a year ago, I finished making my first dress from Decades of Style’s ESP 101 Pattern. It’s a part of their Decades Everyday pattern collection that is meant to be easy, accessible, and fast to make. I bought the No. 101 E.S.P. Dress pattern because it is a really good fit with my fashion aesthetic, and I thought it would be a good project for me to work on my machine sewing skills.

My legs are doing weird things, but I’m cool and comfy in my ESP 101 Dress

Of course, it took me all of last summer to make the thing (that’s what happens when you have the sewing attention span of a gnat and a cross country move that same summer), and I’m just now getting around to being able to blog and photograph it. However, I wanted to give a little review of the dress pattern for those who might be interested or are a beginner looking for a good first project.

The Good

Overall, I really love this pattern and I am planning on making more dresses out of it. It’s a good shape and design that is flattering for women and can be dressed up or down with fabric choice. (Seriously, can you imagine how glamorous this dress could be in just a black silk taffeta?!)

I found the instructions fairly easy to follow, which is important to me as I do genuinely consider myself to be a beginner when it comes to machine sewing, even though I’m an expert hand sewer. My biggest hang ups were adding the facing and setting in the zipper, and as far as I can tell, that seems to be normal with beginners. I got everything in and attached fine, but I do think my finishing work on the facing around the neckline could be oodles and oodles better. I also still get confused with terminology on stay stitching, etc. with facings. I just don’t think I’m used to them yet.  However, for not using a zipper foot on my machine when setting the zipper – I’m pleased with how it worked out.

My favorite parts for this dress are: the pockets (who doesn’t love a dress with pockets!), the fact that the dress has sleeves, and I find the neckline to be very pretty. When I didn’t deviate from the instructions (more below…), everything went together smoothly, and could probably be completed if you worked the entire day. It really is a great dress pattern for your collection!

I did a red zipper because I like just a little touch of quirk. 

The “Meh”

This is more of a personal body quirk, but after wearing the dress a few times I’ve realized that it is just too short in the waist for me, and as a result, it sits just a little short in the hem too. (My legs are really short, and so I would be shocked to see how short this dress was if I had legs that were, oh, I don’t know, proportional to the rest of my body.) I like my skirts and dresses to be at least to the small of my knee and this one is just above. I don’t really think this is a pattern problem, because I do have a long torso, but it is something to keep in mind if you have a longer torso or prefer your skirts to be a little longer. While the shorter torso doesn’t really bother me, I do wish my skirt was about 1-2″ longer for my own personal comfort.

I also did deviate from the pattern with the skirt – the instructions called for gathering and I opted for pleating. While I understand and agree that gathering is easier to pattern and to sew, I think pleats are more flattering.  As you can see in the photos, I did small box pleats all the way around. It worked fine, but I would have liked there to have been more fabric to the skirt so that way I had more to work with in the pleats. I wager I would probably feel the same way about the skirt if it had been gathered. It wasn’t quite as full as I was expecting it to be.

When I make this pattern again, I’m going to add to the length and width of the skirt and the length of the bodice, too.

Final Verdict

As I said already, I have every intention of making more dresses out of this pattern – including out of wool and silk for winter and more formal occasions. I just think that I will need to be more careful when it comes to slight alterations to better flatter my body & fit my personal tastes.

If you’re a woman who loves a dress with pockets – then this is a pattern for you – doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or highly experienced! Decades of Style’s No. 101 E.S.P. Dress is a must have in your pattern collection! If I can do it – then you can definitely do it! 🙂

Woo! I did it!

Have you made the No. 101 E.S.P. Dress? What do you think? Is there something I could do better next time (like use a zipper foot…haha!) Leave a comment and let us know! <3 <3

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