Wednesday, October 16, 2013

a three-hour dress

I had originally bought this mid-weight sweater knit fabric for... well exactly that; a sweater! But as I've been discovering more and more about my own personal style through sewing, I realized that a blue and while heart print cardigan just didn't fit into my wardrobe. When I found this image on, I knew exactly what that fabric needed to be:
Fall love
image from
I started with this Simplicity Sew Simple pattern I picked up for $.97, and I say started with because the end result was much different!

I made a wearable-muslin-of-sorts of this pattern straight from the envelope for my Halloween bee costume, since a costume doesn't have to bee a perfect fit. (Get it? I'm so funny!) It's a simple pullover dress, front piece cut on the fold with bust darts, back piece has two pieces with a slight flare on the back center seam. Trying that on I was able to figure out what kind of alterations I wanted to do to my paper pattern for the blue and white heart dress:

I folded up an inch between the bust and arm opening (and the same to the back pattern piece), taking care of my petite bodice and high bust-point in one swoop! Then I threw (swung? whatever the term is...) the bust dart so that in angled towards my waist for a little more waist definition. 

The original pattern came with little short sleeves, so I lengthened them to hit just as my elbow and added and little cuff/slit/I don't quite know what you call it. 

You can't quite see it, but there are two perfect back darts!
I took in a little more than an inch from the center back, which also straightened the center seam so I could cut the back on the fold and eliminate the back center seam. After stitching up the side seams I decided to add some back darts, too, for just a little more shape. I just stole those right off another dress pattern in my stash! And to finish it all off, I made facings for the neckline instead of a narrow hem or band.

It felt so good to put into practice these flat pattern altering techniques I'd picked up in places like the Sew the Perfect Fit with Lynda Maynard class I took on, and the A Perfect Fit book!  I'm pretty pleased with myself! I feel a little like Carolyn from Diary of a Sewing Fanatic, who can slash and alter her TNT dress pattern into pretty much anything she can think of!

I used my sewing machine with a slight zig-zag stitch for darts, sleeve construction and setting, sewing in the neckline facings, and top-stitching on the neckline and hem, then used my serger for the side seams, finishing the armhole seams and neckline facing, and finishing the raw edge on the bottom hem so that I only had to fold up and stitch once, reducing bulk. The coolest part? From the time I started pattern alterations to finished garment took only about three hours! I got to wear it out that evening with leggings and boots... super cute. There may be more of these dresses in my future!


  1. Whoa! Three hours to complete with alterations. You go girl. Looks amazing