|**UPDATE 6/13/13: BLACK AND WHITE POLKA DOT AND SILK JERSEY VERSIONS**|
A black and white poly knit print from Fabric.com in May 2010 for $5/yd. The skirt is lined with tricot from Golden D'Or in Dallas, $7/yd.
Total cost, including notions: around $13
The silk jersey is from Michael's Fabrics, $6/yd (+ $3/yd shipping). I think I got a little shy of 2 yards, all that was left. Total cost: under $20.
Time to Make:
By the time I got to the black and white version, this was the 3rd time I'd made the pattern so it went quickly. 4 hours.
Changes from Previous Version:
-My secret for cowl necks is to extend the self-facing as long as you have fabric for. My ideal preference is for the facing to extend all the way below the armscye, but that takes up a huge amount of fabric and I didn't have enough here (and it would have required drafting the facing piece). Here you can see how much fabric I added to this project. I also caught the cowl facing into the armscye for an inch or two so it would stay folded toward the front. As a result, the cowl stays firmly in place in wearing. There is no chance of all of that fabric flipping to the outside.
-The pattern is drafted with cowl necklines in front and back, but I found it difficult to wear. I used my TNT t shirt pattern to draft a plain back. The first time I made it up, I realized I had somehow managed to make the back an inch too short, so I had to shorten the front waist as well. This turned out to be fortuitous, as it sits much more nicely on me when the waistline is raised an inch.
-To finish the back neckline, I used the serger to attach clear elastic to the wrong side of the back neckline and then turned under and twin-needling for a neat finish
-For the silk jersey version, I used my regular t-shirt sleeve and added cuffs on the sleeves (only because I didn't have enough fabric to cut the sleeves the length I wanted so I had to add scrap cuffs!).
-On the b/w dress, I used the flutter sleeve from Burda 03-2008-113 for a little shoulder coverage from the sun without any added heat retention. To make it really easy, I didn't hem the sleeve. This jersey is lightweight without much body, and the thought of trying to wrestle a hem onto the circular curve with too much. The lower hem was easy, though, as it is on the crossgrain and I used a line of dots as a guide to get it perfectly straight for my twin-needle hem.
-I added a badge hanging loop to the waistline. I am so into this right now!
-My accidental alteration on the black and white version is that I trouble with the shoulder length of the front and the back not matching up. I was annoyed with myself for doing such a poor job of drafting the back piece. Well, when I pulled the turquoise version off the hanger to put it in the giveaway pile I remembered that I was supposed to put some pleats in the front shoulder to take up that extra width. D'oh! The cowl lays fine without them, luckily.
I made M6069 for the first time in the turquoise polka-dot border print quite a while ago, in 2010. I don't *love* that dress. The double cowl is awkward to wear, and I made it a little too long but hemming it shorter would interfere with the border effect.
When I was packing for Portugal last Fall I unexpectedly found myself with time to make one more piece to go in the suitcase. So I inventoried my packing plan and found that what I needed was a nice dress that would travel well but really sparkle at night and would be suitable for cooler weather. I was surprised I didn't already have anything that fit the bill, but my knit dresses are generally pretty casual and my dressy dresses don't pack well.
This pattern came to mind, and I had the luscious silk jersey. It came out gorgeous! (If I do say so myself.) The luxurious fabric, the saturated colors, the flattering shape. When I finished it, I thought, "This casual elegance is exactly what I want for my entire wardrobe." I don't know that I've managed to effectuate that thought, but I still love the dress.
When I passed up the turquoise version again last week, I decided it was time to rotate it out of the closet. I contemplated my stash and ran across this polka dot knit that seemed the logical replacement.
I have a love/hate relationship with black and white. I love the way it looks on other people, and any time I see someone in a really great black and white print dress I want to make one immediately. But then when I'm getting dressed in the morning, I want to wear a bright color. The thought of wearing funereal black, even with some white in it, is too much for me, especially right when I wake up (I am not a morning person). I rarely wear my black and white pieces; I literally never wear all black.
This dress may have broken the spell. I think the key for me is that the print is black-on-white; the larger proportion of white keeps it bright and fresh. Prints that are white-on-black, with black the predominant color, feel too somber to me. Of course, the first time I wore it I met some friends after work for happy hour and to watch one of their husband's band perform. Of the six of us, five were in black and white. I'm not kidding. Two stripes, two polka dots, and one print. I felt like a noncomformist, just like all my friends.
The b/w version was made for the stash contest. I didn't have any full length yardage left, but I had a few largeish scraps. In the spirit of moving *all* the stash, I made the scraps into two pairs of underwear. You can read how I handled a piece that was a little short of fabric on my blog. The only downside of these is that it amuses me greatly to wear unmentionables I've made out of leftover fabric with the dress they match, but I'm afraid these will show through the skirt, despite my tricot lining. So I have to wear them with unmatching clothes. *sigh*
All photos are here and the blog post is here.
**ORIGINAL REVIEW: TURQUOISE POLKA DOT BORDER PRINT VERSION**
Misses dress has front and back cowl, elastic casing at waist, and pockets. Variation C has square neck front and cowl back.
6-20. I cut a six at the shoulders and bust, a 10 at the waist, and a 14 at the hips.
A poly knit border print from G Street Fabrics for $2.97/yd. I used the border at the top and bottom to create an hourglass illusion.
Total cost, including pattern and notions (and coins!): under $10.
Time to Make:
This is easy, though McCall's "two hour" claim is a bit overblown. I probably spent about 4.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I loved the double cowl look. Although I think the very low cowl back is sexy, I wanted this for the office so I had to modify it.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Other than my modification, yes.
Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes. I appreciated that they included techniques for a nice finish, such as sewing the pockets to the side seams at a 3/8" seam so the pockets roll to the inside when the side seams above and below the pockets are sewn in 5/8". I also appreciated the way the shoulder seams were sewn, which encloses to the facings and creates a clean finish.
Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:
-I raised the back cowl by reducing the width of the pattern piece.
-The dress still wouldn't stay in place so I sewed coins into the front and back cowl facings to keep them from flipping out and add some weight to keep it on my shoulders and an elastic strap running between the armscyes in the back. This still didn't keep it on my shoulders so I just had to pin it to my bra straps, as I didn't feel that the strap along the back neck would work for an office.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes to both. If I made this again for work, I would use plain front C as the back so it is not so fussy to wear as suggested by Kyle. I would also like to make it as drafted, though I don't really need anymore summer date night dresses!
This is an easy dress with a lot of oomph, and a great way to use that border print in your stash. All photos are here and the blog post is here.