I did mention yesterday that I had an exciting sewing project to share with you soon, and this isn’t it (anti-climax much?!), but this is still a sewing project, and was pretty exciting to me at the time too, plus I’m wearing it pretty much constantly at the moment. I was working on this dress at the same time as my Tartan Cape, and they’re my first real autumn seasonal projects, so they really go hand in hand for me – plus we photographed them on the same day, at different locations though. I did mention my dress was tucked in my tights in the tartan cape post, can you see why now?! While the dress hits me just about knee length, the cape is slightly shorter, so looked super weird with the dress stuck out the bottom!
Anyways, this was my first attempt at pattern hacking. Nothing too exciting actually, but I did find it to be so – should I really get this excited about sewing?! I picked up this fabric on holiday from JoAnns as part of my massive birthday fabric haul, and this is the first garment I’ve made from those pieces of fabric. This actually ended up being two pieces of fabric as it was end of the roll and was split into two, which meant I ended up with more money off, on top of it being at sale price (30 or 40% off!) plus a coupon I’d downloaded on my phone. It’s still available now on the JoAnns website at $8.99/m which is would be crazy cheap around here. It also has an awesome name: Wandering Spirits. I feel this dress should be called that henceforth.
So I knew when I bought it that I wanted to make a long sleeved dress out of it. The jersey is super soft (it’s that brushed kind) and really cosy, and I just felt it would make a beautiful long sleeved dress. Unfortunately, I don’t have a pattern for one of those, nor had I come across one. I have however made a three quarter length sleeve version of Simplicity 2444, so I didn’t think it would be too much more difficult to extend the sleeve length down to my wrists, especially since it was jersey so any mistakes in fitting might be forgiven a little! So Simplicity 2444 was my answer and what I decided to go for with the bodice. I was a little concerned as I’ve never really sewn with jersey before – I’ve knocked together a couple of basic tops and bandeau strappy things with jersey, but that’s a little different to making a full dress using a pattern designed for non stretch cotton.
In the end, it wasn’t actually difficult at all. I wasn’t sure whether to go down a size to account for the stretch – in the end, I stuck to my usual size 10, but if I were to do it again, I think I’d go for the size 8. I am considering giving this pattern a go in a size 8 anyway in non stretch fabric but doing a full bust adjustment since in my other versions it’s not quite as fitted to my waist and underbust as I’d like it to be, but I think in future jersey versions, I could do a size 8 with no FBA due to the stretch. For the sleeves, I simply extended the pattern an extra few inches so they would reach my wrists, tapering in slightly so that they would fit a little bit around the lower part of my arm (although I would taper more in future, I didn’t quite do it enough here). And of course, I just sewed it straight up at the back rather than inserting a zip. I did consider cutting out the back bodice on the fold but really confused my brain with which side was which, so just decided to sew it up anyway since the pattern of the print is fairly all over the place anyway. I know that you can see where the patterns quite obviously don’t match on the back, but I’m hoping it’s not too noticeable!
I wasn’t sure what to do about the skirt though. I didn’t feel the large pleats would work well in this jersey due to the print and thickness. So in the end I decided I would do a simple gathered skirt attached to the bodice. I’d strangely never actually done one of these before, but it’s a very simple process of cutting out the length that you want, sewing a gathering stitch along the top edge and gathering it evenly until you get the waist width you need and sewing it in place. I overcompensated slightly in the length as I wasn’t sure quite where the bodice would hit me, so in the end the skirt is a little longer than I’d planned – it’s mostly because the jersey is fairly heavy, so in a fairly full skirt, there’s a lot of weight pulling the waist of the bodice down to a little lower than I had expected, plus the hem only needed turning under once. If I wanted I could shorten it a little, but for the time being, I’m happy with where it is now.
In the end, I’ve got a really comfortable and cosy dress, perfect for autumn and winter. It’s not a perfect fit – it’s a little big around the waist and on my wrists, but it that only serves to make it more comfortable actually! Hopefully I’ll manage to find more jersey in the future as I really enjoyed making this and I love wearing it.
And PS: sorry for the super overexposed photos – they were pretty rushed ones and we didn’t realise till afterwards they were so overexposed, but I couldn’t waste the pictures!