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Review: Nina Lee Mayfair Dress in Polyester Jersey (with Photos)

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red jersey Nina Lee Mayfair dress worn by mannequin
top half of Nina Lee Mayfair dress worn by mannequin
back view of red Nina Lee Mayfair dress worn by mannequin

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What I loved

pleated v-neck of the Nina Lee Mayfair dress

So far, the Nina Lee Mayfair dress is hands down my favorite sewing pattern.

I love how feminine it is: the deep v-neck, drape, and pleats are scrumptious.

Getting the right fit is easy. The dress is a simple column. It’s not fitted anywhere. The belt is the secret behind the nipped-in waist.

Nina Lee Mayfair dress wide fit
Full length back view of the Nina Lee Mayfair dress worn by mannequin

Even the complicated-looking neck is easy to do. The instructions by Nina Lee are excellent.

Pleated neck on the Nina Lee Mayfair dress

Problems

Shoulder seam error

The trickiest part for me was sewing the pleated neck and shoulder seams.

I wasn’t sure where to stop stitching, so I went too far in. This means the shoulder seam sits funny when worn 🙁

Shoulder seam on the Nina Lee Mayfair dress

Wonky topstitching

I had trouble topstitching the jersey belt to the dress.

My machine wasn’t happy going through that many layers of shifting jersey!

That’s why the topstitching isn’t perfectly straight. And it’s the reason why my machine ignored my stitch length settings and created weird tiny stitches!

I’m going to try hand-stitching it next time for a cleaner finish.

Topstitched belt on the Nina Lee Mayfair dress
Wonky topstitching and messed up stitch length.

I also had to sew the gathers in place at the same time as topstitching the belt. It was tricky. The gathers aren’t evenly distributed, and the elastic isn’t straight.

elastic inside the Nina Lee Mayfair dress
Inside view: the gathers are made using clear elastic. Also, can you see the left looks way more gathered than the right side?

Interfacing the sleeve hems

I added fusible knit interfacing to the sleeve hems.

I wanted to stop my hem becoming wavy when I sewed it, which worked.

But I’m still deciding if I like the “kick” it created.

Short sleeves on the Nina Lee Mayfair dress

Fabric used

I made mine in a 100% polyester jersey.

It’s a light to medium weight fabric with a lovely drape.

It resists wrinkles really well, so I’m very pleased it doesn’t need ironing!

The downside is that it shows sweat stains quickly. The sleeve is close to the armpit, so this makes the problem worse.

Size & adjustments

I made the pattern in size 6 with only 1 adjustment needed.

I shortened the v-neck by about 2 inches because I didn’t want to show cleavage.

Stitching on the neckline
How I made the v-neck higher.

I chose the short sleeves and maxi length style.

I’m 5 ft 5″ and the hem reaches my ankles.

Would I recommend this pattern?

Overall, I had some challenges during the construction process, but not enough to scare me off.

The design is beautiful, so elegant and feminine. I absolutely want more of these in my wardrobe!

The fitting process is also very straight-forward.

So yes, if you love the style, I recommend it!

I already have my next version cut out.


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