Planning the Dress
The road to the final garment isn’t always the same. Sometimes the pattern jumps at you first. Other times the fabric finds you before the idea. Starting with an idea can be a challenging path to take because you don’t always find the *perfect* supplies to compliment the inspiration.
This dress started with an idea or a feeling. It sounded like, “Cozy sweatshirt dress, but fancy.” McCall’s M7993 had previously caught my eye and was saved in my pattern list on my phone. I figured it would work well for my idea.
Next, I went on a search for floral sweatshirt knit or french terry, but didn’t find anything like what I was hoping for. When I went to Mood in L.A. I came across this beautiful fuchsia ponte knit with the help of a staff member (thank you). I don’t tend to pick out solids, but the color was so vibrant. I took a leap and bought it.
When it came time to cut out the pattern I decided to make a few minor adjustments. I made view C with the neckband from view A. Also, I added 1 inch to the sleeve length, 5 inches to the length from the hem, and narrowed the cuff. The length adjustments are because I am tall (5’10”) and I don’t like dresses or skirts to be short. Anywhere between right above the knee and middle of the calf is my sweet spot for skirt length.
Sewing and Tips
I mostly used my serger to construct the dress. My sewing machine (almost exact one) was used for the top stitching around the neckline, basting and hemming the dress. If you don’t have a serger, don’t worry, you can still make this dress on a sewing machine. You will need to sew with a stretch stitch, because you are sewing a stretch fabric. Try the lightening bolt stitch or a narrow zigzag stitch. If you sew with a straight stitch in stretch fabric you run the risk of “popping” your stitches; which means you break the thread in your seams when you pull the seams too much. You do not want popped seams.
Another very important thing you will need is a stretch or jersey needle. The tip of a stretch/jersey needle is rounded and knit fabrics need it to be that way. If you use a regular sharp needle it may poke/cut little holes in the fabric. Trust me on this, I learned this lesson personally a long time ago.
The Full Tutorial
A Pretty Addition
You can see here that I decided to add a tie belt for a bow detail. I think it gives it some feminine flair. To make one all you have to do is cut a long rectangle (about 6 or 7 inches wide and at least twice the measurement of your waist). Fold and cut the ends on an angle. Fold it in half and sew with a small seam allowance along one of the cut angles and the long edge. Turn it right side out, press, fold in the open end, press, and top stitch around the entire perimeter.
This pattern is absolutely a win. 10 out of 10! I would happily make it again. I’ll keep an eye on knit fabrics when I shop. I would like to make the short sleeve version too. The fabric was incredible to work with. The color makes me feel so happy.
Should I do a quick fabric round up for inspiration? Yes! Here you go. Three fabrics that I think would be fun to use with this pattern… (pink french terry, floral sweater knit, eggplant stretch velvet)
Until next time, go get creative and make a sweater dress you love!