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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Polka Dot Dress

It seems like it's been so long since I've made a dress, so I thought it was about time to sew one up. I've been eyeing this polka dot ponte knit at the fabric store for a while, but it was pretty expensive, so I never bought it. But then I found a yard and (almost) a half in the remnant bin for like 1/8th of the price! The best (and really only) knit sewing pattern I have is McCalls 6754, which I've made oh so many times, so of course I knew I was going to use that pattern with this fabric. But I didn't want to distort the polka dot pattern with the circle skirt, so I cut a rectangle for the bottom. I kept the bodice pretty much the same as the pattern. Well, the adjusted pattern. I had previously lowered the darts because they hit too high on the bust, and lengthened the shoulders a bit. This time, I also cut the back on the fold (minus seam allowance!) because I didn't want to break up the print.

I am looking for more knit patterns because I do love wearing knit dresses, but most of them don't look like they'll be flattering on me. I did buy one I liked last time I was at the fabric store, so maybe that will be my next project.

But back to this dress. I think the pattern has you just hem the neck and arm openings, but I almost always bind them. I used stretch velvet for the binding this time. I debated between using the polka dot fabric and the black velvet, and ended up using the black because I liked the contrast. And I used the same stretch velvet for the waistband.

This is actually version two of the dress - the original one didn't have a waistband. It also had a different skirt, just a gathered rectangle. I have decided that gathered rectangles are not a good shape for me, at least not on a knit dress. After sewing the skirt to the top, I thought it really needed something to define the waist, so I added a sort of belt made out of velvet trim. I hemmed the skirt and called it done. But every time I tried it on, it just didn't look that flattering and I knew I wouldn't feel comfortable wearing it. The waistline was slightly high (I stupidly cut the shoulders too short - didn't trust my own pattern) and the gathers made my waist look bigger than it is, even with the added trim belt. So I took a seam ripper to it. Since the top was too short, I added a thick waistband, which I really like anyway because it breaks up the big print. And since gathers are not my friend, I decided on two pleats in the front, and two in the back.

There wasn't anything complicated about the construction - if you're looking for a good knit dress pattern, I can't recommend this one enough. Even though I didn't follow the pattern or instructions hardly at all for this dress. But that just shows how easy it is to customize your pattern once you have a good fitting template!

Like I usually do with knit garments, I serged clear elastic onto the waistband seams and shoulder seams to stabilize them and prevent them from warping or stretching out. I also spent a lot of time trying to match the seams on the sides of the skirt. I really could have used a walking foot because the fabrics kept slipping and would become unmatched until I pinned every quarter inch.

I'm happy I was able to save this dress, especially because it was a fabric I had really been wanting for a while. And it was the end of the last bolt, so I wouldn't be able to get any more fabric to redo it. Also, I am indeed the Polka Dot Girl, and I don't think I've posted anything polka dotted yet, so I didn't want to miss this opportunity!


  1. I really like everything you decided to do with this dress. I'm glad you decided to use the plain black binding and cut the back bodice on the fold, too. You definitely have this pattern down. It's nice to have a t & t to go to that you can depend on.

  2. Cute dress! I love what you did with the skirt. It looks great on you!

  3. It looks wonderful! Love, love, love the material. 😊