Check out my cool dress, in trendy dark florals. I totally chose the fabric on purpose because I’m fashion-forward and on-trend.
My mom found this ITY knit on a clearance table at Joann’s and gifted a yard and a half to me. (Thanks, Mom!)
I considered making a top, trying to be practical and thinking I could get a lot of wear out of it through the winter and beyond. I ended up defaulting to my “ITY is for dresses” rule, and I’m glad I did. I really dig this dress!
The pattern in McCall’s 6162. It’s older (maybe 6 years old or so), and there’s only one review on Pattern Review! I’m surprised, because I’ve been excited to make this for years, and was just waiting for the right fabric combo to come along. Because I didn’t have a ton of yardage, it narrowed the field down considerably, and this long-ignored pattern finally found its match.
The pattern is designed for wovens, so my results may not be typical. But dang, it’s a super easy, satisfying sew in a knit! I don’t really have any notes on the construction, either. It went together smoothly, fit well with limited tweaks, and I basically sewed it up in a weekend.
I have no advice on making this in a woven (though I think I’ll make this again in one). For a knit, though, here are the updates I made:
Eliminated the lining
Narrow hemmed the neckline
Eliminated the zipper
Narrowed the sleeve width
I also pinned out about 1/2″ total on the back of neck (top of the neck to mid-back). I always get gaping there in finished garments, and wanted to see if an intuitive fix would actually work. In this case, yes, it totally did! I pinched out the small amount and the back lays smoothly. I have to remember to keep doing this in future makes. It’s a step in the right direction for me in terms of actually paying attention to fit before the pieces are even cut.
I cut a size 8, based on partially on the measurements printed on the tissue and partially the “I’ve never needed to go up more than 2 sizes above the smallest size offered on the pattern” heuristic. (This is a 4/6/8/10/12 pattern.) I kind of freaked out when I was halfway through cutting when I remembered that I’ve been cutting more 10s than 8s lately, but my gut was right, and 8 was the appropriate size. Of course, making this in a stretch fabric helped, but I don’t feel like it’s too small or that I’m abusing the stretch.
Basically, I guessed, and I got lucky.
I’m sure that would make a lot of more experienced sewers twitchy. I should be, like, measuring the pattern pieces and calculating ease and stuff like that. I’m just not there yet. It’s partly because I haven’t built up that skill set, and partly because I keep getting away with not doing those extra steps.
The dark floral also helps camouflage any fitting issues. One of the coolest features of this dress is the bias bodice that’s attached to a midriff piece. It’s hard to see in this print, even up close, but it creates some lovely, subtle shaping throughout the bodice. I’m guessing that I might be fussing with the bust darts more in a lighter colored fabric, but the dark print really does increase the workable margin of error. Rock on, dark floral print!
I kept the sleeves and length on the more conservative side. (The pattern offers 2 lengths, and this is the longer one with a back vent.) I figure, the longer sleeves (compared to just below elbow length) will be warmer in winter, and I’m tired of work dresses shrinking over time and getting shorter and shorter.
Also, this may be my first experience of not really using the directions. I’m typically flabbergasted when I see people post amazing garments and then go, “Eh, I just glanced at the instructions and then went to work.”
While I don’t think I’m anywhere near that elite club yet, I think this does speak to how simple the construction of this dress really is. Make the darts, attach the bodice and midriff, attach the fronts to backs, then stick the top and bottom together and finish all the edges (neckline, sleeve, hem). It was as close to a brainless, painless sew as I’ve had recently!
I’m a bit flummoxed at the lack of reviews for this dress. It’s a great little column dress with sleeve options and an interesting construction detail. The midriff panel is pretty flattering, and also opens up possible color-blocking options. While I don’t need another dress like this, I’m excited to try it in a woven to see how the fit compares. In the meantime, I’m loving adding another ITY dress to my closet.
Thanks again, Mom!