Indie Designer: Raisa Designs

I absolutely love working with independent designers. Especially those who are presenting something fresh and new. A few months ago, I happened upon a tester call from a Bulgarian designer, Silvena of Raisa Designs. She created a cute denim dress with very 80s vibes (puff denim!) and I was very interested in learning more about her creative process.

Designers handle testing in many different ways. I prefer those that bring testers together in a community to see each other’s progress and provide a forum for feedback. Others operate independently and you may never interact with another tester until the pattern goes live. Only then do you find each other through shared hashtags on social media.

This Raisa test was managed individually so I have yet to see what Raisa’s other testers put forth for the new Valeriya Dress! But I’m looking forward to it.

The Valeriya Dress is drafted for woven fabrics, like denim or cotton. I chose to use a stretch denim/canvas that I purchased from StyleMaker Fabrics last year.

Overall, the construction was a breeze. I made a few careless mistakes along the way, which resulted in a lot of seam ripping, but it wasn’t due to the pattern instructions. Just my thick skull.

It was only after I provided my tester feedback that I thought of a few more words of advice for anyone working through this pattern for the first time.


There are 2 waistbands that frame the mid-section. The dress doesn’t fit with the same ease as a dress that doesn’t have a cut out. Take the extra time to grade the top and bottom waistlines to your unique measurements. I lost some weight between the time that I started and finished this dress and wound up taking it in nearly an inch in the waist. If you look closely, you can see that there is still some extra room.

When I make this dress again, I will aim for a much tighter fitting waistband. Especially if using a fabric with any stretch.

Zipper Install

This dress calls for 2 invisible zippers – one in the bodice and one in the skirt. I placed the zipper stop at the very top of the bodice side seam. In retrospect, I would drop it below the underarm by 1/2″ or more. It made insetting the sleeves a bit challenging.


The directions instruct you to finish your edges as you go; however, I would wait until construction the entire front seam before finishing. I found the front juncture of the waistband to be a bit bulky and I think this can be eliminated with a cleaner finish.

After the Make

Just two closing points to ponder. Getting in and out of this dress can be a bit tricky. You have to step into the skirt, then pull the dress up high enough to get into the top. No big deal! Just be aware. Also, I have yet to figure out how to hang this garment in my closet. It’s been laying on a stool while I ponder this important strategy… I think it might work to fold it in half and clip it onto a skirt hanger. Maybe?

Obviously, this is a fun dress that can be work in so many ways – dressed up or down. My feedback is not intended to discourage anyone from purchasing this special pattern. I appreciate the unique perspective that Silvena poured into a design that stands out in the market. Job very well done!!

Add this pattern to your catalog! Silvena has provided a 25% discount on each sale during the month of October with code VALERIYA25. It can be purchased through her Etsy store.

Let me know if you have any questions! Happy sewing!