Do you wear dresses? If so, do you like knit or woven dresses? I was a tomboy growing up and after a few years in a school where I was required to wear skirts or dresses every day, I was pretty happy to mostly leave them behind for the rest of my growing-up years. I feel different about dresses now, though. I still don’t wear them often, and when I do wear them, it’s mostly in warmer weather, but I can’t resist great-looking dress patterns! I have so many that I’ve never sewn. I’m so glad I attempted McCall’s 7561, however. It was a pattern that I had put in my own Christmas stocking 😉 because I really wanted to try it.
When there was a sale at Pintuck & Purl before their big move, I bought some of this pink Cotton + Steel cotton/spandex jersey with octopi all over it. It’s called “Mystery Food Orchid” and even has a fun selvage. The selvage is easy to turn into a fun tag. 🙂
I had some of it in a quilting cotton in my stash, but I really wanted to try the knit, too. Does it look a little juvenile? Maybe. But I like it, and I’m not here to sew all “normal” clothes.
When my parents were here visiting, we had a trip planned to the New England Aquarium and, like any sewist who likes an unrealistic deadline, I put two and two together the day before we went, and thought, “Maybe I could make an octopus dress tonight!” I’m not the world’s fastest sewer, but I had the pattern traced, it was a knit (which can make fitting easier), AND I wouldn’t have to finish any seams. It was on!
And I did it! Not only did I make it, but I made it with pockets, too! And you know what? It was really fun to wear my dress to the aquarium the next day. It’s comfortable and very easy to wear with leggings when the weather is cold.
This pattern was (happily) so quick and easy. It took me 45 minutes to cut out including pockets (which are a free pattern from Tilly & the Buttons, not a part of the McCall’s pattern).
I made Dress B and lengthened it about 5″ since I knew that would feel more comfortable when I wear it without leggings. I made a large in the bust and graded out to an extra large for the waist and hip.
I sewed clear elastic into the shoulder seams so they wouldn’t stretch out.
The waist was kind of funny in that you sew the bodice to the skirt and then encase your elastic in the seam allowance so that you don’t do any stitching on the outside of the garment. It was a little weird, but also creative, so I don’t quite know how I feel about it construction-wise. As far as wearing, it’s very comfortable.
The pockets are made following Tilly’s instructions, but I find that they gape sometimes, so I don’t know if I should understitch somewhere or if there is a better method. Does anyone have any thoughts on that? For this particular project, speed was the name of the game, so I didn’t think about it too much.
This was all done with a zigzag stitch, jersey needle, and walking foot on a regular home sewing machine. And that’s about it! I would definitely make this pattern again, hopefully in a summer version. We’ll see. I’d also like to try a t-shirt style knit dress, so if anyone has any favorite patterns, let me know in the comments! Thanks!
- The History of English podcast just had a great episode (#110) called “Dyed in the Wool” that is all about words and phrases in the English language that were originally related to the wool trade. You’ll be surprised when you find out where some of the last names, terms, and phrases you’ve heard originated from.
- Have you ever looked at the knitting patterns from Boyland Knitworks? I’ve seen a few on Instagram and at Pintuck & Purl, and they’re so beautiful! I’m in love with the Alyeska sweater. I kind of thinking I could actually make the Glacier Park cowl. I’ll have to keep it in mind if I need another knitting project.
- I went on a little trip up to New Hampshire last weekend and stopped at the Tilt’n Diner in Laconia, NH. It was great! It was decorated in a fun 1950’s style with paintings of ’50’s scenes on the walls and quirky sayings all over. I got breakfast, but I think they serve all meal types at all times of day. Milkshake for breakfast? That’s up to you!