Pattern Review: Cake Patterns Red Velvet Knit Dress

I waited and waited for Cake Patterns to release the Red Velvet Knit Dress.  I was so excited! I love the Tiramisu Knit Dress so much I have made 4 for myself, and two others for my sisters. I couldn’t wait to have another TNT pattern from Cake Patterns, especially since it would allow me to mix and match two bodices and three skirts between the two patterns. Once it was released I could not squelch my excitement.


That was until I made a muslin.

Now before I get into what I don’t care for in this pattern (my personal preferences and my opinion) lemme assure you that I have made a dynamite dress and am planning at least one other. Here’s proof:


I LOVE this dress.

But, she took a little work.

Here are my gripes about the pattern:

1) No usable pockets, only a small hidden ticket pocket in the midriff. I like to put my hands and keys in pockets, so I knew I would need to add either the Tiramisu side seam pockets or draft something else.

2) Bust pleats. For the life of me I could not get these pleats to look decent on me. I moved them in, out, up, down, lengthened, shortened, pressed down, stitched down, you name it. Nothing made them look like anything except prominent, and sometimes ill placed, nips. That’s a no-go for me. So, I converted the pleats to darts. Easy fix.

3) Bodice length is too short. Now, you can chalk the first two gripes to my personal preference, but by my count there has been exactly ONE person (besides Steph) making or have made a Red Velvet dress that has not *needed* to lengthen the bodice length and she even said that she should have. Mmmmmm……. This is also an easy fix, and Steph even has two great photo tutorials on how to lengthen the bodice on her website, but I am not sure everybody should have to do this.

4) I’m on the fence about the faced neckline. I was at first put off by it, and managed to make two muslins with gaping necklines due to my mishandling on the neckline. It wasn’t until try #3 and after I added stay tape and stay stitching to the neckline that I achieved no gape.


I understand Steph’s rationale behind opting for a facing instead of a binding, but I am not sure what my personal preference ultimately will be. If you are struggling with the facing as an idea, give it a try. You may change your mind, and if not, you can easily convert the facing to a binding. Another easy fix.

OK, enough about what I don’t like. I really DO love this dress. I made my usual pattern changes based off my body and once I worked through the gripe list I ended up with a dress I adore.


Look, Ma! Pockets! 🙂


I added the Tiramisu side seam pockets to my muslin, but I decided I wanted something else for this dress. So, I drafted a slash pocket (cutaway pocket) like Sunni did using the same tutorial by Casey. The top piece of paper is my template with my measurements for the pocket, if you are interested (I used the 37.5″ waist and side seams for the skirt). The bottom left is my pocket and the bottom right is my pocket facing. You can also see my skirt pattern piece all the way to the right with a line drawn for pocket slash. I just folded this down when cutting out my front skirt.

ImageHere’s the pattern specifics with the raw numbers for those of you interested:

Pattern size choices based on measurements:
35C front and back bodice
37.5″ skirt
Used 35 and 37.5 points to “connect the dots” and draw midriff lines

Other pattern changes:
1) added 1.5″ length to front bodice
2) moved bust pleat 3/4″ closer to side seam and converted it into a dart
3) lengthened the sleeves 3″
4) 1/2″ forward shoulder adjustment
5) moved underarm curve 1/2″ closer to sleeve hem (to give my slightly broad underarm/shoulder area a little more room. I have done this on all my Cake Pattern makes with great success and mobility)
6) Trued the midriffs a bit
7) shortened the midriffs 1″ each

ImageBack View

I chose the boxy pleat for this version and cut my midriffs on the bias to break up the plaid in the dress.


I really adore how the boxy pleat looks with a directional fabric. It adds a lot of character and gives a pleasing visual design element to the skirt.

And, for those of you who are afraid it will add bulk to your midsection……


……. it doesn’t 🙂

****caveat***** providing you choose a fabric on the thin side. This dress is made in an ITY (perfect type of fabric for this dress, in my opinion) and it works beautifully. My “wearable muslin” is in fabric that is of sturdy t-shirt thickness and it doesn’t add bulk, per se, but it is a teeny lumpy and the skirt doesn’t hang quite right over my backside. She is now a lovely house dress. With pockets. 🙂


There are some drag lines on the shoulder that I need to fix for version 2, but other than that I am tickled with the fit.

And something else cool? Unintentional plaid matching at the side seams!


I paid absolutely no attention to matching plaids while cutting this dress out, so imagine how happy I was to find that I could match up the side seams. Nothing else matches up, but I figured the print is busy enough no one will notice, or care.

I finished the sleeves and skirt hem by finishing the raw edge with my serger, turning up 1/2″ (and securing with fusible webbing) and stitching with a twin needle.

All in all, I am quite pleased with Red Velvet. I did attempt the petal collar on my muslin and decided I don’t really care for the shape of it. I will probably use it as a base to draft a collar for a future version with a shape I like better. Maybe more petals to make a scallop.  Maybe a long and pointy Peter Pan. So many possibilities.


Happy Sewing!

16 thoughts on “Pattern Review: Cake Patterns Red Velvet Knit Dress

  1. You’ve done a fab job! I really like your pockets, I also felt I needed some pockets, but this is the first time I’ve sewn with knits for a long time, so I didn’t risk it! I finished mine today, so I’ll post something soon. You’ve really got a good fit, it looks great on you.

  2. Oh- heheh- no, I just want to say, I lengthened my own bodice, too. I *never* intended to give the impression I didn’t. RV’s bodice is probably on the short side, but *but* bust length is pretty subjective and also variable, it has to do with bras and age and gravity and genes and tissue distribution and who takes the measurement and where they decide the underbust seam should go.

    So I thought- patterns are templates, we’ll make it easy to shift around the seams as needed and put all the resources into your hands (length measurements on the pattern, approachable vis refs for alteration that doesn’t involve “surgery” etc) and go from there. For Tira, peeps thought the bodices were too long (for 30-35’s) so this is the other side of it.

    But- I’ve been thinking about it and if there’s some emergent trend in the lengths, I can update the pattern. Almost like we’re actively building better sewing patterns by…. sewing with them… That appeals to me. What do you think about that? I know it’s weird but I already do things others don’t…

    This fit looks great on you! I’m so pleased with your sewing, Melanie, and really proud of the progress you’ve made this year. I know you’re not *really* one of my students like the ones here but I feel the same pride in your work, and the way you work to help others improve their sewing, too. 🙂 Tip of the hat.

  3. Love what you did with the pockets and the boxy pleat does indeed look sensational with that fabric. I really enjoyed your very comprehensive and honest review too.

  4. This is lovely! The bias midriff panel is a really excellent touch and your pockets are absolutely perfect. Fine work!! I also appreciate your honest opinions about the pattern, spoken kindly and thoughtfully.

  5. Great review Melanie, thank you! The finished dress looks fabulous on you, and it’s really helpful to see both styles of skirt demonstrated on my ‘body double’ to help me make up my mind. I’m not normally a pocket fan, but those cutaway ones you made look really neat. Altogether, it’s a lovely piece of sewing, well done!

  6. Oh, I love this review. I figured that I’ll have to lengthen the bodice when I get around to Red Velvet, but I hadn’t realised there was a trend. You’ve done a great job with the modifications- I really love the bias midriff (and the accidental pattern matching on the side seam! I think a pointy Peter Pan collar would be really cute!

  7. I agree with everything you’ve said! I made one up and I hate those bust pleats! Thanks for the idea to just turn them into darts. I think it’s because I chose the larger size as my measurement was the start measurement (35 to 39 I think it was).
    Yours turned out great. Don’t you just love accidental pattern matching?!

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  9. Thanks for your neckline tip – I used bias fusible stay tape on my neckline and it worked very well! The bust pleats were fine on my dress – maybe b/c I had to reduce my pleat size because I had to take in the side seams to match my chevrons. Plus I have a small bust. 😉

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