If I had to choose one garment to wear, I’d probably wear dresses every day and be totally happy for the rest of my life. They’re so comfortable, you look like a lady, and somehow you walk taller when you wear them. This is a good example.
This is McCalls’ 5752, dubbed “The Perfect Knit Dress.” This seems a rather bold claim, but I do like it a lot. As I said, this was a very interesting experience sewing this.
What I learned:
1. Forget picking a size on your high bust measurement: I sewed an 8 this time instead of the 12 that I have been sewing. I was emboldened by Cynthia Guffey’s assessment of me that my neck and shoulders are much smaller than a 12. Sure enough, I measured across my shoulders and compared that to the pattern, and I really should be sewing from an 8. Why the shoulders though? Well, when I’ve sewn from my high bust measurement, it’s true I don’t have to add as much for my bust, but it also means I’ve got a TON of extra fabric…and it likes to pool right at my center back. Even after I’ve corrected my shoulder slope this still is going on. Once I switched to the 8, my upper back was perfect for the first time. Plus, the garment hangs from my shoulders, and it’s way easier to add extra across the bust than to fix the shoulders and neckline (says I after trying to do narrow shoulder adjustments and still having extra gaping at the neck).
2. I’m a fan of these 1″ SA’s: This is a Palmer/Pletsch pattern, so there’s lots of little fitting tips at the beginning of the pattern. Some are useful, some are not, some I don’t agree with, but what they do do that’s super useful is have 1″ SA’s at the sides. They call these “just in case” allowances…i.e. just in case you need some extra room someplace else. At any rate, for me they end up being extremely useful…let me try to explain. At my hipline, I needed quite an extra bit of room. I decided to sew 3/8″ seam allowances throughout the sides (no extra trimming, I could just serge away which I did). Because there was already 5/8″ extra on the pattern, I only needed to cut my hipline at a size 10 to give me enough room. I also didn’t have to add as much across my bust doing this. So without any extra cutting, I could sew the size I needed for my neck and shoulders and give myself the extra ease I needed. It seems like cheating, but I’m going to give these 1″ SA’s some more thought.
3. Solids are how I live, but man, I love prints: I saw this fabric at Denver Fabrics and fell in love. The splashes are my favorite shade of aqua (which the lady at DF informed me was my signature color–looking down at my basket, I realized how right she was–tee hee–sometimes people figure you out better than you realize) and chocolate. As a rule I never ever ever ever wear brown, but I really liked the print and the aqua was awesome…and the stuff was $2/yd to boot. It should tell you how much I love this aqua/print combo because the stuff is my least favorite kind of knit–poly/lycra. With undergarments, it’s not that bad, but as I rule I started sewing to avoid this stuff. But I really loved this print and I couldn’t walk away because it’s so hard to find smaller scale prints that aren’t juvenile. The scale of this print was right in the range of not overwhelming me…and it’s aqua. I love aqua. Love. My favorite color ever.
This is an easy dress to accessorize–I have a really cool German teal flower brooch my husband bought me for Valentine’s Day that looks perfect with this, and I have a vintage silk scarf that also is super fun to wear with this.
This was also a fast sew. Including the gathering and the hems and serging work, this took 2 naptimes to complete. I wouldn’t mind making it again since the fit is so excellent, but I won’t do all the gathering (I made a quick mockup without it, and I like that you can see the shape of the midriff without the distraction of the gathering which is really bulky). But we’ll see when I get to that. My birthday is at the end of the month, and I have this dress in my sights:
I’m thinking of this in kind of a blush sort of color. Plus this jacket in a pink seersucker I got from Gorgeous Fabrics with Christmas money.