Finished summer dresses

by exercisebeforeknitting

Now that I am officially free of the MCAT, the crafting bug has returned in force to ExerciseBeforeKnitting. I have many sewing projects to debut! This first dress is a bit delayed but you don’t mind, do you?

My first dress

Pattern: McCall’s 4768

Last March, I was feeling a little bored of toddler sewing and anxious for summer to begin so I decided to try my first adult-sized garment. Let us just say that the only nice thing about this dress is the fabric: the sewing is sloppy, the fit is off and the pattern was tedious. Nevertheless, I am still terribly proud of it and will wear it in spite of the flaws. This garment taught me how to select future patterns, the importance of combining sizes and how a great print can hide many errors.

I love this dress, even though it's too big in too many places and the stitching is sloppy - I'm really proud of it!

I learned that side darts stretching from the armholes to the hips on both sides look easier than cutting separate pieces for the top, middle and bottom, but that’s a dirty, rotten lie. Not only were long darts harder, they were painfully tedious. I’m quite certain most of the work of this dress is in the darts. Small darts on skirts or at the bust are fine but I am officially done with torso-length darts!

Not a bad first attempt

I also learned not to cut a larger size based on the rationale that it is easier to take in than cut anew. Just because I want a dress to fit does not mean I ought to allow an extra 5/8″ at every seam just in case. With regards to sizing, I tried to get away with only using one size for the top, middle and bottom of the dress; this was a fatal mistake. After careful measurement, I discovered I need four different sizes at various points. Not two, not even three, four. This made me reconsider what kind of dress to choose. If I wanted a fitted dress, a darted, one-piece dress probably was not the best choice. For the next dress, I selected a pattern with multiple pieces so I could customize each to fit. I started this dress earlier this summer and although I had little sewing time, I snuck a seam or two in here and there. I finished this the day after my exam.

New Look 6699

Pattern: New Look 6699

Fabric: Joel Dewberry Ginseng Collection, Spade Damask in Ivory

Since I used so many different sizes, I worried they would not join well together but I hardly noticed a problem. Modifying the pattern to fit was so easy to do and ultimately, more satisfying than cutting a larger size to (sort of) fit. But tell me, does it look like I’m wearing an evil version of the Nike swoosh? That’s what I see in this fabric, although I like the overall effect!


It took me a long time to get these straps right. I still might shorten the right strap a little, as it does not feel as snug as the other one.

Does it look like I'm wearing the Nike swoosh with creepy eyes? Maybe.

I was worried that the middle piece would look strange, since it is cut on the bias when the top and bottom pieces are not. I think the difference adds a bit to the garment overall, plus it makes for a more stretchy piece. My only regret is that the skirt is a smidge too big – I probably should have dropped down one size but having a little extra room never hurt anyone, right?

Midsection detail

This is a weird angle but I wonder if this is how I look to tall people? Specifically, to Aaron, since he is 13 inches taller than me!

This must be what I look like to Aaron

There may be more dresses to come but I think I will stick to faster, easier projects (like skirts) for now. But who knows? There may be time-consuming, harder projects (like quilts) waiting in the wings!