Long time blog readers may recall that back in 2020 I had planned a mini-wardrobe challenge, which I then promptly didn’t sew for several months, made 3 garments for (two tops and a skirt), and never really went back to for several more months after that. I never really abandoned the plans, but I did definitely get side tracked for a bit. Happily, I’m back on to making some of my original mini wardrobe plans, and I’ve finally managed to finish the dress that was part of that original challenge concept.
The good news is that all of the pattern changes I’d made previously were good, so all I really needed to do when I got back around to this project was cut and sew everything (thanks past me!). This was actually a very fast process, and the dress came together in just a few hours.
Somewhat unintentionally though, I think I ended up making a Star Trek uniform. Which is, you know, not the worst thing. But it’s also something that now that I’ve seen it, I can’t unsee it. I used some very textured knits, which don’t show up well in the photos, but you can see in the close up detailed shot. The purple fabric is the leftovers from the skirt I had made previously, because I was originally trying to have a cohesive collection of some sort. Though at this point the sewing of items is so disjointed I’m not exactly sure you can call any of it a “collection.”
While I was working on the color blocked dress, I decided that I would also make a basic black dress from the remainder of the black contrast fabric. Partially because the pattern was working out very well and partially because I thought I might be in need of a black dress soon (I was sadly correct on that account) and I didn’t really have a lot of appropriate clothing that still fit.
I think there are a lot of things that are working better for me in the second version. The lower collar is definitely more versatile (and easier to put on), and I do like the 3/4 length sleeves. This dress is very basic, but also very versatile, and all of the design elements from the color blocking are just seams for that help with the garment fit in this version, so they don’t really stand out. I’m sure a version that utilized a pipping detail could actually be quite nice as well.
Pattern Description: From the McCall’s website: Fitted pullover [knit] dresses have side panels (no side seams), front and back yoke and neckline variations. A, B: Shaped hem. A, D: Turtleneck collar. A: Sleeveless. B: Three-quarter length sleeves. C, D: Long sleeves. I made view D with the color blocking and also View B but changed the pattern to use the straight hem instead of the curved hem.
Pattern Sizing: McCall’s sizes 6-8-10-12-14 and 14-16-18-20-22. I started with a 14/16 at the shoulder area, and graded out to a 22 at the hip. I also made several fit adjustments like an FBA and full bicep adjustment, as well as a back hip adjustment, though I did need to re-shape the back panel a bit because I was a bit overzealous with the adjustment at the hip.
Were the instructions easy to follow? The instructions were super simple, though I really only need to glance at them for reference. I think this would be a great first knit dress pattern for someone, since the instructions are so clear.
Did it look like the photo/drawing when you were done with it? I think it looks a lot like the model photo, especially because I also used print-blocking with a solid and a stripe.
What did you particularly like/dislike about the pattern? I really the style and the multiple options for collar and sleeve lengths. I also really like how easy it was to put together. I think it may have actually taken longer to cut out than to sew together because I cut a lining for each piece as well. This is also a great pattern to use up scraps of fabric on the neck yokes because of the possibilities for color or print blocking. The only dislike is that the neckline is a bit tight, which is great for wearing but a bit annoying to put on and off, especially if you need to worry about how your hair looks This could easily be fixed by adding a back zipper, but I wasn’t really interested in doing that for what I thought would be a simple and casual knit dress.
Fabric used: I used a leftover maroon striped double knit, which I had previously used on a Burda skirt pattern. I also used a textured knit fabric in black for the contrast, and a thin black knit to line the side body pieces just to add a bit of opacity to the lower body. All of these fabrics were deep stash, purchased from a bargain pile in the LA garment. I was so happy with how the first one turned out that I immediately made a second version in all black using just the textured knit and lining fabrics.
Pattern alterations or design changes you made: I compared my personal body measurements to the pattern to add additional width at the waist and hips as needed, though I ended up taking out a bit of that after trying on the first version. I also did a 2” FBA which included modifying the shape of the princess seams and adding length to the front of the pattern and a wedge at the bust apex on the side pattern piece. I also did a 2” full bicep adjustment, which basically resulted in me re-drafting the sleeve patterns to allow for the color blocking design with the fit changes. Even though I added several inches of length to the first version, it only barely came to my knee, so I added an additional two inches to the second version so I would have more room to adjust the hem length. This still wasn’t really long enough to have a super deep hem, so I probably still need to add another length to have a proper 1.25” hem depth.
Would you sew this again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes and yes! I was so happy with the first version I immediately started working on my second version and both came together very quickly. I would also highly recommend this pattern – it is so easy to construct and it has a lot of great seam lines to make fitting very simple.
Conclusion: The first (striped) version was a project I had been planning as part of a wardrobe capsule for quite some time, so I’m very happy I was able to finally get around to making it. The second version came about because I really liked the first version, but also because I thought I might be needing a simple black dress in my wardrobe sometime soon, and since I was already making one version, adding a second seemed like a relatively simple next step.
Is this garment a “Triumph of Individual Style”? I’m not sure I would consider it a “triumph” necessarily, but I think the black version in particular is a nice option to have in the wardrobe. It’s honestly a pretty basic style, so I think it’s more about having a good fit than that there are any exciting style elements, though I do suppose I could make another version at some point in a different print. I do like that it is a very simple and classic shape, so that makes it a good option for accessorizing and dressing up or down, depending on the situation. I’m realizing that I’ve been sewing a very dark color palette for a while though, and while I love the rich colors, I might need to make a few things to brighten up the wardrobe a bit.