Now that I've done 2.5 years of ready to wear fasting I look at my wardrobe and realise that the shift dress, or variations of it, is a 'thing' for me. This probably explains why I've made two knit shift dresses in a month.
This is Mesa, one of the patterns issued with the June 2015 edition of Seamwork. It is described as "The flirty knit shift that's as stylish as it is comfortable", and I agreed 100%. Apparently it should only take 1 hour to make. It took me longer than that but that probably because I decided to line it.
I picked up 1.5 metres of this medium weight jersey double knit from Fabric Barn specifically for this dress. The pattern suggested light to medium weight knit fabrics with at least a 25% 4-way stretch. Personally, I think that a light weight jersey would show all the 'lumps and bumps' underneath - No Thanks!
Because it's winter and I wanted to wear stockings for warmth but didn't want it cling, so I picked up some knit tricot to line the body. This stuff is so light weight that you barely notice its there but the difference it makes is incredible. In my opinion, so much better than having to wear a slip underneath that constantly keeps riding up. After I sewed up the side and shoulder seams of the tricot I pinned it to the shell at the neck before attaching the neck band. I attached it to the armscye with a simple running stitch.
I didn't clearly fit into one size on the body measurement chart so decided to select my size based on my waist/hip measurement and made a size M (8-10). Looking at the sample photos on the Seamwork site the dressed looked to be quite short and I'm taller than the average so went ahead and cut the length to the 3XL pattern length, 2" longer than the size M. This is the perfect length for me, falling just above my knee.
The hem, I just overlocked the raw edge, folded it up by 3/4" and stitched it down with two rows of straight stitch. I also added 1" to the length of the sleeve - a short sleeve just didn't seam right.
There's a couple of things I noticed after wearing it a few times. The neckline at the front is a bit loose, so the neck band could be a little bit more snug, I could really do with an additional 1/2" around the hips and a bit more room across the shoulder blades.
I wasn't planning on making another Mesa immediately but my WSBN friends spotted this fabulous panel print at The Fabric Warehouse and as all good sewing friends do, sent me a picture and said "this has your name all over it". Having been fabric enabled I was down at the shop within the next 24 hours buying 1.5 metres of it.
After looking at the print for a while I decided that it best that the tall part of the tree should go up to the neckline at the front and back. I had just enough fabric to pattern match and get just the right part of the panel placed where I want.
I cut the reflection off the panel so the dry grass ended at the hem, so I could successfully wear some dark stockings with the dress without it looking odd.
I made a few changes to the pattern before I cut this version:
- moved the shoulder seam forward 1/2"
- dropped the front neckline 3/8"
- widen the back at the shoulders by moving the armscye out by 1/8" on the back pattern piece
- widen the hip by 1/4" on each pattern piece, blended down to top the top of the split and up to the armhole.
Two super comfy dresses that I've been wearing non-stop for the last couple of months :-)
More photos on my Flickr -->