Pattern Testing – Panama Tee Dress

This post is a little late. It was meant to come out last week but we left for Portland on Thursday for the weekend, and prior to that I was running around trying to get everything that needed to be done completed. Still, better late than never!

I was one of the lucky ladies chosen to help out with testing the new Panama Tee and Dress pattern by Alina Design Co. Even with a busy reno schedule I couldn’t pass up on an opportunity to test! Luckily it was an easy pattern that can be put together in a couple hours.

I think I can start and finish this blog post with saying that I made 3 dresses, 1 knit top and 1 sweater out of this pattern already. That would tell you everything you need to know about it – it is a great pattern. And all those items that I’ve made are just the beginning. There will be more to come for sure!

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The pattern comes with multiple variations – 3 bodice lengths and 3 sleeve lengths. I signed up to test the short dress version with ¾ sleeve. The look of this dress really appealed to me as it is an amazing blank canvas. It is my favorite length of the dress and sleeve. I can dress it up for pretty much every occasion as well as dress it down for my weekends, yet still look very much put together. The dress provides for so many styling possibilities!!

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Right off the start I envisioned my dress in ponte knit. Fall and Winter in Calgary are really cold and I wanted a warm enough dress I can wear throughout these seasons. All of my dresses I’ve made so far are in ponte knit. However, the pattern can be made in almost any knit! The fabric changes the look of the pattern and again, provides for so many other options. I can not wait to make this dress in jersey fabric for Spring / Summer.

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I’ve liked the pattern so much that I’ve decided to try to hack it into a sweater. I really liked the high crew neckline of the pattern and I loved the overall fit. I also have more need for sweaters right now than for tops. I pretty much live in sweaters in Winter. Hacking this pattern into the sweater was the easiest thing ever! Here is what I’ve done:

  • Sized up two sizes. I wanted my sweater to be quite loose fitting so I sized up from my measured size 14 to size 16 which is the biggest size for the pattern. I think going a size up will also be great, depending on what look you are going for.
  • Increased the width of the neck band by 1 ½”. The neckband on the pattern is pretty thin, which works great for the dress and a t-shirt, but I think a sweater needs a wider neckband. I didn’t lower the neckline at all, as I wanted a crew neck that sits quite high. But that’s also an option.
  • Added bands to the sleeve hem and sweater hem. I sewed up the sweater as per t-shirt instructions and tried it on. I ended up shortening the sleeves and the sweater a little bit before adding the hem bands. I was too lazy to do any alterations to the pattern before cutting it out. For the bands I cut them at 9” wide and 90% of the hem’s width. This way they were nice and tight.

I love the sweater so much! I have been wearing it All. The. Time. It’s so comfy!

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One last thing I want to say about the pattern is that I am very impressed with Alina’s dedication to putting out quality product. The pattern went through a few adjustments and Alina was very keen on making it the best it can be even if it required more work on her part. I love seeing such dedication, pride in their product and love for their art from pattern designers. After all, a great pattern is an absolute necessity for quality product.

Bottom line, it’s a great pattern. After 4 versions of it, that I have already seen a lot of wear, I am still planning to make 3 more. Thankfully they are super easy and fast to put together. Even the last of renos won’t stop me from it!



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  1. This pattern basically had your name written all over it didn’t it!! And great you’ve got a pattern you can work with when time is limited yet produces clothing you’re going to live in. An absolute winner!

    1. hahaha it did!! It’s so funny how you picked it up 🙂 I agree, those patterns are the best. Everyone needs a few like that in their stash. What are some of yours?

  2. Wow, is gorgeous! I really really like it! I´m gonna check and mayb… buy it! hahaha it´s perfect for the weather in Madrid now, som pretty tights, boots and the perfect outfit! Love it! And it fits you perfectly!!

    1. I was! It felt so right after being absent from my sewing machine for a few weeks of renoing 😉 Thank you so much! That plaid caught my eye at the fabric store and I just couldn’t leave without it 🙂

    2. Thank you! Sometimes I swear I get possessed and just churn a few garments out and then rest haha I love that plaid fabric as well! It’s so cool 🙂 Definitely was a good find.

  3. heatherandthepugs December 3, 2016, 7:40 pm

    I love all your versions!! I totally agree – this is an amazing pattern, and Alina really thought it out! I just found some of that gorgeous plaid sweater knit so expect to see a copy from me soon. Ha ha!


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