I’m not a Valentine’s Day girl but with a red dress it feels appropriate to talk about it now. Truth be told, I made this dress in an afternoon in December. I’ve been a horrible blogger lately. Hubby and I have bought a home and it’s been taking all my time. I good write an entire post just about all the things happening. Some has been planned but most hasn’t! I’m sure you can get the picture that I haven’t had much time to sew, let alone blog.
Okay, let’s continue with the dress!
I’m going to start with the fabric. It’s a red sweater knit from Wal-mart! It was part of my awesome score of 5 yds for $5. It’s a light to midweight, padow red. If it wasn’t so cheap, I would not have picked it up. I’m sooo not a red kind of girl. I can honestly say this the only red item in my closet.
The pattern for the dress is a mix of a Briar Tee by Megan Nielsen and McPattern Swing Dress. My original Swing Dress pattern is not a crew neck style so the introduction of the Briar Tee pattern helps to change up the neck. You can also see the tight crewneck on my cropped Briar Tee. I wanted more of a winter dress so that required long sleeves and I love an extra long sleeve so I added 3-4″.
The hem is a bit wavy but I’m not super annoyed by it. The hem is wide to give it a bit of weight. I’m not Marilyn!
There you have it. A nice simple red dress. It’s so comfortable and soft. I can easily curl up underneath it. Of course, it has some swing!
Add a heart necklace and I’m ready for Valentine’s Day!
When I picked up 5 yds of black knit fabric, my brain had to start coming up with more ideas than a long sleeve cardigan. Then I came up with the best idea! A 3/4 sleeve cropped sweater to wear with my Vogue 9001 maxi dress.
I used the Briar Tee pattern by Megan Nielsen. The cropped length would be perfect to hit me at the waist. I would need to bring in the neckline because I wanted a crew neck, find a happy sleeve length between the short and long, and lastly make sure the sides were fitted in tight. I didn’t want a big slouchy sweater.
I cut and sewed this in one day. More specifically, in an hour!
This fabric is so soft. The weight is decently light so it will be great for layering.
I took these pictures were taken way too late in the day so it’s me and my shadow. I had to take about two inches out of the sleeve width to get the fitted look I wanted. I cut the smallest size for the bodice. I only had to take an inch or so out of the sides.
I was able to turn up the hem on the bodice and sleeves 3/4″ for a clean edge.
The neckline is a 2″ wide strip folded in half and attached.
I love a quick and easy project. This was my final make in my old sewing room before I packed the girls up for the move. Frankie is smelling the night light for whatever reason…
After my success with my first McPattern, how could I stop myself from making another? I wanted to make a big circle tank dress. I started off similar to my tank McPattern. It took a bit to figure out how tight I wanted the dress to my neck and how wide to make the straps. I did the same arc to figure out the curve on the bottom of the dress.
I sewed up the neck and shoulders of the dress first. Immediately I knew I was wrong. The straps were much farther from my neck and the neck scooped to low. I pulled the straps up and pinned them up to where the neckline hit my neck. I used chalk to mark a new line from the outer strap width down into the arm.
After my adjustments, I finished the neckline, arms and sides. It fit so much better! The problem I had now was the extra length I pulled up to move up the neckline made the dress short! Too short!
To remedy this issue, I picked up lace to trim the edge. That did it! It was light enough to keep the float of the rest of the fabric. I sergered the lace to the bottom and topstitched the edge for a clean finish.
This is ridiculously comfortable and surprisingly flattering. I’ve realized that anything with a lot of fabric at the bottom needs to be balanced with a more fitted top otherwise I end up looking like a potato.
I made another McPattern tank. This time in a knit! This was the last little bits of my $5 for 5 yds of grey fabric from Walmart. I made a maxi, dress and tank. There’s a few small pieces left that I would need to mix with something else to make anything. Talk about a deal!
I did topstitch both sides of the straps which I didn’t on the others. I felt that if I didn’t, the strap wouldn’t stay nice and flat.
One of the deals I made with myself this year is that I need to stash bust more. This shirt plays right into that. I had quite a bit of fabric leftover from my Bridgetown Dress. Which on a side note, I’ve started buying less fabric and defying the envelope suggestions. Anywhere between 1/4 – 1/2 yard less. I did this on my last two #sewmystyle projects and I lived to tell the tale. Maybe it’ll keep my stash from growing!
What did I make with my scrap fabric? Simplicity 1365 a vintage halter top pattern. I’ve made the pattern once before with a cotton yellow gingham. I didn’t make it as shown which is pretty typical of me with all patterns anymore. I knew I didn’t want a buttoned up back and didn’t have enough for ties to go around the neck. I also did not line the bust because it was completely unnecessary.
I cut the bodice pieces longer because the top is meant to stop at your hips. No crop tops, please and thank you! I negated the area for overlap in the back since I wasn’t going to need the button-up bit. I do have to say the bust pieces are so much easier to put together when you don’t have to line everything. So how do you keep the whole thing up since I wasn’t including the tie-straps?
I made one long strap. This guy had to go around my neck, under my arms and meet in the back. On top of that, it had to have the right amount of stretch. Too little the whole thing looks stretched out and too much, I’m putting on a show for everyone around town. I believe it was at this point that I realized I had made a mistake. The back bodice piece was not supposed to have the strap across the stop. It’s actually supposed to start under the arm. I wasn’t paying attention to the instructions because I was doing my own thing. Oh well…
I did add a bit of clear elastic across the back just to make sure there was a tight stretch there. I didn’t want my bra to pop out randomly. I have a thing about undergarments saying “hello” when they’re meant to be hidden. I get ladies like to wear bras as outer wear but that’s a different situation. The bra is meant to be out on display. Randomly playing peekaboo out the back of my shirt…uhhh no.
Looks sort of like a a retro swim suit right? Not that I ever go swimming but I can totally see how easy this pattern would be to adjust.
It was something quick and easy to make with a bit of fabric. Now it’s time to see what good use I can put the rest of my fabric to.
Instagram brings a lot of things to my attention. The two latest are the free download of The Orla Dress by French Navy Patterns which has a dress challenge and the maxi sewalong both for the month of July. I was planning on making a maxi dress with the ridiculous amount of fabric I scored for $7.50 from Walmart. (15 yards of knits) Maxi fabric check! The Orla Dress happened to be what I was envisioning for my maxi. Dress pattern check! The sewing gods are encouraging.
The Olra dress is designed as a short sleeved, knee skimming dress. It has darts in the front and back, gathered waist and zip up the center back. The dress challenge does encourage you to “hack” the dress pattern. (BTW, totally hate that word “hack”. It makes me think of spitting a giant ball of phlegm.) I’m not scared about changing up a pattern so no problem! I decided to lengthen the sleeves, omit the zip, change knee-skimming to maxi, add pockets and tighten up the neckline.
As I was cutting my fabric I re-worked 1 pattern piece in particular. The front piece of the pattern was too wide at the shoulders. As I mentioned, I was going to tighten the neckline. It’s a lower scoop neckline and I wanted more of a t-shirt style. I raised the front by 1″ and redrew the curve. I also had to move in the shoulders. I honestly can’t remembered how much I took it in but it was a lot. The pattern piece looks a bit like Frankenstein now. I did taper both bodice pieces (front & back) by a bit toward the waist to make it more fitted.
When I was sewing the bodice I had a bit of an issue with the darts. I’ve never sewn darts coming up from the waist like this. I wasn’t sure where they were supposed to stop and should they look like they are at the center of my boobs or what? I winged it. I had to do the first one a few times before it looked right. I moved them both more towards the center compared to what was on the original but I guess that makes sense considering all the damage I did to the original piece. What was nice about this bodice is that I didn’t have to shorten or lengthen it!
I added clear elastic into the waist. It’s a lot of fabric that needs to be gathered and I wanted to make sure it wouldn’t stretch out and lose its shape. Plus it nips it in just a tidbit.
What you end up with is a boring, grey maxi. And I love it! I don’t normally make plain Jane kind of stuff. I love prints but having something boring that I can accessorize is a nice change.
You can check out more about the Orla Dress Month Challenge and Maxi Sewalong by clicking the images below.