Oh, this dress.
So easy, and yet so, so complicated!
Let’s start with the fabric: the charming Clover Fields knit from Art Gallery Fabrics. I really am a fan of the quality and softness of Art Gallery knits, not to mention the prints. Unfortunately, I am apparently not a fan of actually reading product descriptions, because I meant to buy 2 yards, but instead bought 2 half yards.
What the heck was I going to make with a yard? Well, I need tops in my wardrobe for casual Mondays and Fridays. So naturally, I made a dress instead. Scouring pattern envelopes for things I could make for 1 – 1 1/4 yards, I stumbled on this dress. I’ve made it once (view here), and it’s an easy, fun sew. After the drama of another project that was shoved in the depths of the closet in a sewing rage, I thought I’d earned an easy sew. Wardrobe needs be damned, I was making the cute dress.
(If you follow me on Instagram, you now know that I’m secretly about 2 months behind on blogging new makes. Surprise!)
All the details on this pattern are easy, but folks seem overly impressed by it. Plus, it does not need the back zipper that’s called for (in my experience), so that detail (and minor expense) was omitted. I do recommend tackling the narrow hem on the neckline before sewing the back seam if you skip the zipper. Otherwise, it’s just too tight to do a real narrow hem. I learned my lesson last time!
After stitching together the top two front pieces, I paused. The seams were making the fabric look choppy and weird in a bad way. It was not the cool, easy vibe I was going for.
Good grief, I just wanted a super easy project to de-traumatize myself. Good thing I used a serge stitch instead of basting, right? :/ Keep going? Try to fix it? I know! I’ll add some piping! Do I have any piping? …Any piping at all? Bueller? Okay, fine, I’ll buy some damn piping and unpick the stitching. It’ll be worth it.
Because I commute, I can’t make it to Hart’s during business hours during the week. It SUCKS. When I need something, I have to wait until the weekend. So, I waited patiently all week, then made a beeline for Hart’s on Saturday. Piping in hand–and, miraculously, nothing else–I went home to unpick my seam and finish my dress.
I estimated *just* enough, because I like to live on the edge (and mistakenly thought there were 2 front seams instead of 3), and only had about an inch of navy piping to spare. Disaster averted, though, because there was technically enough. Due to some evil magic, I did end up cutting one section short, and tried to repair the damage by using my literal last inch of piping.
Well that didn’t really work. I ended up just stitching navy thread over the gap. It’s camouflaged pretty well at this point.
And now we’re off! This was the first time I’d ever used piping, and it worked out okay. There’s room to improve my technique, for sure. As I was sewing it, the knit was bunching up, the stitches were coming out tiny and unpickable, and I was FREAKING OUT. But, like how things almost never go, it actually looked fine on the front side, even if the reverse side looks like a tragedy. Rock on, piping!
Okay, so the dress is looking good. I hold it up and realize… Oh, crap. This is way shorter than I planned! On the previous version, I added 6 or so inches to the length, which I did not remember when cutting this version out. No matter, because I had used every inch of length–there was not a centimeter to spare anyway.
I debated hemming the dress short and having it be a weekend-only dress, but it was getting toward the end of summer, and I wanted to get more wear out of it. So another week I waited to get to the fabric store and buy some navy ponte to add a lengthening border. That way, I could opt to wear it to the office and it would still be weekend-coffee-date appropriate.
Finally, it’s done!
Wait, that doesn’t look right. The border feels a bit tacked on — probably because it is. My husband recommended adding navy at the shoulders. As usual, I balked at his feedback (that I had requested) before realizing that he was on to something. But how much navy at the shoulders would balance the band at the bottom?
Apparently, not the amount I decided on. After taking a month to construct this (the two weeklong waits to get to the store, and a move that took up a couple of weekends), I’m not super happy with this. It looks a bit lame. Really, that’s the simplest way to describe it. The print is not a good fit for the style, the cut-on pseudo cap sleeves aren’t working in this case, and there’s nowhere I want to wear this.
I’m happy to take any recommendations, but seriously, I’ve sunk enough time into this already. I’m ready to be done.
Let’s talk budget: I spent way more than I would’ve planned. I wouldn’t have spent this much for a ho-hum not-quite-work, not-quite-casual dress, but I will say that it worth it in terms of sewing enjoyment–a whole 3.5 weeks of sewing! (Seriously, this dress could be easily knocked out in a weekend or even a day.) In total, with fabric, piping, and more fabric, but zero notions needed and a pattern on hand, this totalled $27.13.
I don’t love it, and if it wasn’t in such a comfy knit, I probably wouldn’t wear it much. However, when I need something comfy and easy, I’m guessing that I’ll reach for this dress.
Edited to add: Okay, this dress has been in my closet for maybe a month, and I’ve totally worn in a few times. It was a great travel dress for two different trips I took, since it folds up small and is comfy in warm weather. When I wore it wine tasting in Napa, one of the wine educators loved it, and was profuse with the compliments. So, it’s grown on me because comfort + ego-stroking flattery = win.