This dress makes me feel fancy and relaxed at the same time—like I'm secretly wearing a nightgown at a cocktail party. (Except I'm just drinking apple juice because I took these photos at 8 in the morning, and I have the alcohol tolerance of a thimble).
There are so many things about it that make me happy. And now I will list them:
- It's a former UFO. I cut this dress out in September right before I got computer-induced carpal tunnel... and I actually finished it less than a year later. Go me!
- I got this awesome fabric for free from a fabric swap. I THINK it belonged to Clio or Nettie but I'm not 100% certain (ladies, who was it? I love you and THANKS).
- The fit is AMAZING and barely required any work on my part.
- These colors and print are out of control. Just big enough to be fun, just small and squiggly enough to hide any mistakes (not that there are any) and not require print matching.
- It goes perfectly with all those accessories I bought for the Joan Mad Men Challenge dress I never finished two years ago. (The fitting was just too much trouble, oh well).
The pattern: Cake Patterns Red Velvet Knit Dress 0369, with envelope/instructions illustration and graphic design by me and my husband.
My original plan was to go for a solid colorblocking thing in ponte/doubleknit, and I even went fabric-hunting at Mood:
But in the end I was worried the scissor pleat detail might be a bit bulky in the ponte, and this blue/purple/black splattery fabric was just calling my name.
Pattern Description: Knit dress with a faced circular neckline, optional petal collar and pleated underbust seam. I went for the scissor-pleated skirt, but there is also a flat boxy-pleat option. I left out the optional hidden zipper pocket because I was in a rush.
Pattern Sizing and Fit Adjustments: The pattern is sized for a 30-59 inch high bust, 25-55 inch waist and has bust proportion sizing A-D. Fit adjustments were easy, and minimal (unlike with my ill-fated Joan dress):
- I have a 34.5" high bust and 38.5" full bust, so I went with the 35C and did a simple 3-inch "Deep Bust Adjustment" as advised in the Red Velvet Sewalong to add needed length over the bust. I also shortened the pleats accordingly, to come to about 1.5" below the bust apex. (Please note that 35C is a special proportionate Cake bodice sizing and not a bra size — in bras I wear a 30F or 32E, depending on brand).
- For the skirt, I cut my actual waist size—29.5".
Fabric: As I said, I'm not sure who the original owner of this lovely, midweight ITY jersey bold print fabric was, but I thank her kindly for swapping her away to me. The only slight downside is that the pleats are a bit hard to see—can you spot the scissor shape here?
Notions: As advised in the instructions, I used stay tape in the shoulder seams. And I used fusible web tape to create quick, perfect and stable knit sleeve hems and stick down the neckline facing. LIFE-CHANGING, people. I used the 1/2" Steam a Seam 2 Lite, but it doesn't seem to be easy to find these days—Clover Fusible Web is another similar option.
Instructions: Once again, surreal following instructions that I helped draw myself. I mostly just stuck to the printed instructions, but did take a few peeks at the sew-along here and there.
Pattern alterations: I left off the optional collar and pockets. They are awesome but I am just trying to get back into the sewing game at all and finding any spare moments I can, and if that means leaving out the cool details, so be it. Otherwise unaltered.
- I didn't bother finishing the seams (or hemming), since this fabric is so stable and not-at-all prone to unraveling.
- I used the sewing machine only, for speed, and just a simple narrow zig-zag stitch (the lightning bolt knit stitch on my particular machine does not a happy knit seam make).
- It all came together pretty quickly—I cut it out a year ago, but the actual sewing was just two evenings late at night—maybe 3 or 4 hours at most (and I am SLOW).
Wear for: Work or a date with the husband—or even to a wedding. Or a cocktail party, if my life were such that I actually went to such things.
I am SO making this dress again! For Me-Made-May, it's all about the UFO (and TNT) patterns over here.
P.S. This is obviously not an objective review, since I do artwork for Cake Patterns... but I don't get paid to sew Cake or blog about Cake. I just love me some Cake—which is why I draw for them!
P.P.S. Isn't that purple purse wonderful? She's real 1960s vintage, from Etsy, and was actually still in the ORIGINAL original box with her price tag on.