I love a knit dress. They are comfy, easy to wear, and so much easier to fit than woven. A good woven dress is worth the time to fit, but we don’t all always have that extra time.
The new Meg Dress from 5 Out of 4 Patterns is a wonderful balance between the ease of knit and the fit of woven! Meg can be made out of so many different types of knits, which will give different looks and fits. Virginia was looking for something a little more structured, we chose a ponte knit in this gorgeous teal color! (We picked this up locally at Fine Fabrics.)
The darts on this thing are the real killer. Even with how well endowed she is, I only made small changes to the darts between our muslin and final dresses. I shortened her front waist darts slightly. I think the next one I’ll shorten another cm or so.
For her bust darts, I moved them down slightly and shortened them. But I also sewed them slightly curved rather than straight. This gives just a little more room where we found she needed it.
Those are all the changes! Zipper installation was straightforward and the beautiful metal zip gives it such a polished look. Add some statement jewelry and her favorite heels and she is ready to tackle grad school interviews or a boardroom!
There are some super cute sleeve options included too! Virginia just wanted to keep it simple. Grab your copy of Meg while the pattern is on sale and share how beautiful you feel in this pattern!
When I heard Frocktails was coming to Atlanta, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to meet some local sewing people! Bought my ticket, gave a little thought to what I had in my closet that would be cute. Just let that sit in the back of my mind and start to get excited. Then, I got an update email from them that there would be a straight up red carpet and professional photographers. What?! This obviously means I need a sparkly dress. I don’t know why, but that’s what my brain tells me.
Now I’m on the lookout for a fancy dress that isn’t too fancy, so I can wear it again if I want. Something that won’t take too long to make, but is not something I already have in my closet. I polled a few friends and got suggestions on styles they’d put me in and ended up in a style I’ve worn on a few locations. Definitely didn’t step outside my comfort zone here, as suggested, but I am just a sucker for classic, vintage vibes!!
Off to Fine Fabrics to find something inexpensive but fabulous! A few more annoying texts sent to friends to help me decide. Turns out they have so many pretty, sparkly fabrics to choose from!! And I rarely explore the fancy fabrics aisles. (That’s the official name.)
Home again to start hacking the pattern! I started with the vintage, gorgeous, ridiculously fabulous Patsy Party Dress from Rebecca Page Sewing. This has been on my “wish I had a reason to wear it” list since I saw the first line drawing. NOW I DO!!! I used the free version, but the add-on pack is amazing. Seriously gives you every fancy look you could need for a strapless dress.
This pattern also includes all the info to give structure and support so if you want to go braless and still feel supported, you can. There is info on interlining and how to add boning. There’s a blog post on adding a waist stay for even more support. (Peeps! I wrote this one! You should check it out.) In my desire to just sew quickly, I wanted to totally skipped most of this. I did interline the entire thing only because the sparkles are a little sheer. I would have added the waist stay, but ran out of time. More on that later.
Now, I love the vintage strapless look of the Patsy, but I needed to add straps. I wanted sparkly, cagey, strappy delight and I wanted that to start from more of the sweetheart neckline. I also needed to do a full bust adjustment (the free princess seam FBA download is super easy to follow and worked PERFECTLY!) A quick muslin of the bodice to check the FBA is the perfect opportunity to start this hack.
I pinned the muslin to my bra (the one I’m wearing under the dress, so everything sits in the same place) and marked how low I want the sweetheart to sit. I didn’t want to lose the vintage feel, so I didn’t go cleavage low. I took off the muslin and used my french curve to ease that point into the side of the center front piece. I didn’t want to lose any bra coverage on the side either, so just drew a nice, smooth curve. Cut off this bit and pinned it back on. It was exactly what I needed!! So a quick transfer to the pattern piece and I’m good to go!! (Keep in mind seam allowance when you do this!! You’ll lose 1/2″ from the top edge.)
The only other change I made was adding the strappy goodness. I wanted straps on straps on straps! Straps for days! Interwoven and heading in unexpected directions. Just straps. I wanted them narrow, but not so narrow that I’d throw them across the room while trying to turn them right sides out. I cut strips 1 1/4″ wide and sewed with a 3/8″ seam allowance. The fabric is super lightweight and it was really easy to turn them. Eight straps later and I’m ready to ask Virginia for help in figuring out where to place them.
This process was…fun. I clipped them to the front where I thought I wanted them. Then asked Virginia to pin me into it (that back is hard to pin myself!). Small tweaks and another check, and they are basted on; then I’m ready to figure out back placement. I tried something I thought I’d like and hated it. Virginia to the rescue! She moved straps around and clipped them where she liked them, with many photos shown to me so she could adjust and tweak. After triple checking that they were interwoven correctly (pro tip, they’re not…don’t look too close), I sewed them in between my main fabric and lining. A really good press and deciding not to understitch, and my bodice is ready to be sewn to the skirt.
Why didn’t I understitch? Well, I find those straps make it difficult to get a smooth line across the entire front of the bodice. My machine tends to bump a bit when I get to that extra thickness, and I don’t want to be sad every time I see it, or take it slow and responsible to get it right. But I still don’t want my lining sneaking out. So what the hell choice is that?! Bad sewist!! I just cheated the lining to the wrong side. When I pressed, I pulled it down a scant quarter inch lower than it is supposed to be. Really, really good press here and pinned the lining lower than the bodice all the way down, and across the bottom. Why? You might ask. Because I’m cheating on the next step too.
The pattern has stunning finishes, inside and out. But, I’m looking for quick and dirty and this is just for me. So, I’m not doing the lining how it is suggested. I’m treating the entire bodice as one at this point. Sewed my skirt on, then attached my zipper, after adjusting the back to take out extra width since my fabric stretched out a bit during construction (this step is included in the pattern and is one of the most important ones to get the right fit. It is worth the extra time. Promise!). Usually the zipper would be sandwiched in between the outer and lining, so there is no way it sneaks out and is seen. But, I’ve got straps RIGHT THERE. They give me some coverage for a little seam allowance sticking up. I can serge the back edge, make sure to get that zipper tape fully secured, then, if needed (and only if needed), it can be tacked to the lining with just a few hand stitches. Then I won’t even need those straps as a just in case. Yeah, I’m lazy. But I just saved myself from hand sewing the bodice lining all the way around the waist. Calling it a win!
That’s it. The dress just needed a hem and it was good to go! I left it hanging to let it stretch out fully. Hemmed it and decided if it needed a waist stay. (Why not? It doesn’t take long.) It turns out I ran out of time for hemming though. The outer fabric needed to be hemmed by hand. It was just the prettiest option and it. Took. Forever. So my lining is currently unhemmed and I didn’t have time to add a waist stay. I finished the outer hem an hour before I needed to leave. Whoops! Still had to pick some shoes, and a hairstyle. Thankfully, I played with some lippie options and watched youtube videos to learn how to put stuff on my face earlier in the week. A little help from the sister and I’m off to Frocktails.
This event was really fun. It was cool to be in a place where everyone had this crazy, common interest. I met some awesome new people. Some from just around the corner, some a bit further away. Some brand new, but oh so impressive, sewists, and some ridiculously experiences sewists!
I did finally get to meet Jessica, from 5 Out of 4 Patterns! She lives not too, too far from me and we’ve never met! That was cool as hell! And the superstar Aaronica, who is as fabulous in person as expected!!
All in, it was a really cool night. My feet and throat hurt (I’m old, but the music was too loud), and I definitely had a slow start this morning, but it was a night I won’t soon forget! If you have a Frocktails event near you, I highly recommend making some time.
So, I tested this pattern way back in the way back and I just adored it. Super cute and a surprisingly quick, considering it looks complicated. I just love the two tanks I made. I’ve worn them dozens of times and I’m a little disappointed in myself for not going back to make more (isn’t that always the way).
A few weeks ago, Virginia and I were powering through some new swimwear before we went on vacation and I suggested the 5 Out of 4 Escapade as a swim tank for her. It comes with full bust adjustment options, provides really great support, even without adding all the extra foam cups and whatnot, and has the thinner straps she has been asking for. Perfect!! She freaking loved it!! Plus, we got to use this kick ass “cereal” fabric I found at Fine Fabrics.
Now that she loves it, what a perfect pattern to pair with this gorgeous fabric!! We picked it up from So Sew English, and it has been in her stash forever. This print is just exactly right for this dress!! I hadn’t made the dress and now I’m a little jelly! Doesn’t she look stunning in this?
The halter ties, the ruched front, the subtle flare. *sigh* Perfect for fall, as it is still too hot to exist outside here, and as it cools down, will be wonderful under a jean jacket!
Is it my turn for another Escapade yet? 😀 Stephanie xx
How we are already back to May? I don’t know. But we are, and I’m already behind on this wonderful adventure. I know I mentioned what this is all about last year, when I had just started blogging. Pretty sure last year’s goal was to wear me made every day. I shared pics on insta more during May than probably the rest of the year combined. It was so fun!
This year, I am taking a slightly different approach. Most of my closet is me made at this point, so I wear it every day without fail. I have maybe three ready to wear pieces in regular ish rotation. One is a favorite shirt. A hangover from before I started really sewing clothes. One piece is some basic black pants, bought earlier this year, when I just didn’t have time to make some damn pants. And one is a pretty button down with cats on it. It was irresistible. CATS!!! (None of this info was necessary to share while explaining my approach to MMM this year, but here we are.)
What I’d like to do this year is simple appreciate what this crazy adventure has given me. To really take time, each day, to acknowledge the comfort and fit of all my pieces. To appreciate how unique my closet really is. (NOTE – Ironically, today, I happen to be wearing this buffalo plaid shirt that exactly matches a friend of mine. Only because the first time I wore it, she asked me to make her a copy of it. We have yet to manage to wear them to work on the same day.) To appreciate the people and opportunities this hobby has brought into my life. It amazes me regularly that I’ve found such amazing, inspiring women that have become a huge part of my day-to-day life.
So, I’ll be sharing on instagram throughout the month, as well as taking time for myself each day, to remember the work and pleasure that went into each piece. To step back from the “I have nothing to wear” attitude that still encroaches, despite the aforementioned work and fun that have gone into my closet. As well as to appreciate the new pieces I’ll add to my closet this month. I’ll also be sharing within groups, reaching out to people directly, and probably waxing poetic here as well, just how much I appreciate the sewing people who have become such a huge part of my life.
I’ll also take a little mental time to appreciate the pieces I’ve made for my loved ones that they wear. Regularly! How much do they love me that they wear the stuff I make?! (Ok, it could just be that I make comfy ass clothes, but whatevs.) It still brings me an abundance of joy to see people wearing something I made. Or asking me to make them something, even when I have no time to tackle their wish lists. (Sorry.)
Whether you participate in MMM, or not. Whether you sew for others, or not. Whether you think you are a terrible sewist, you’re not. Whatever you do, take a moment to remember that you’re awesome. Marvel at yourself, your skills, your sewing community. And know that you amaze me as well.
Holy Moly. I wasn’t planning on testing this top/dress, but when they’re lacking testers in my size, I’m terrible at saying no. Plus, my new organization means I’m not drowning in deadlines and I actually had a little extra time the week of testing! Crazy talk… Plus, I am SO glad to have jumped in!! Deanna has some beautiful options and I just love the fit!
You can rock an asymmetrical off the shoulder look, perfect slouch on top, while being more fitted through the hips, or this gorgeously large cowl, which is off both shoulders and so, so comfy. There are three lengths to choose from, but you can further choose the split hem, which is banded as either all short bands, all tall bands, or, my personal favorite, one of each for a beautiful hi-lo look. I can’t wait to make a few more of these to add some zazziness to my wardrobe. (Zazziness is totes a word and very applicable to how I feel right now.)
I thought this would be a bit complicated, but was actually a SUPER fast sew! Definitely something to whip up as a pick-me-up or even just before heading out. I love a nice, simple sew for those days where I’m either lacking motivation or have failed at a thing or two and need a win. When that simple sew ends with this stunning piece, that’s an extra win! The only part that is a little sad is it is a bit of a fabric hog when you are adding this lovely cowl. The asymmetrical option uses way less fabric, but the cowl is so worth it!!
I think the top/sweater option is super versatile. Great for day-to-day wear, or a night out. Even a holiday sweater (next year’s comfy Christmas sweater maybe?). But the dress. Oh my, the dress. Made for Mermaids definitely has a history of assigning me dresses that I would never choose for myself and me immediately realizing I freaking love it. This is another instant win for me.
I always start these dress tests thinking, eh, if I don’t like it, I can shorten it or add some elastic to the side seams for some beautiful, easy ruching. But no need with this one! Worn just as the dress, it is screaming for a date night. But, add some tights and booties and it is super cute to wear for just about anything.
Or you can try it tied or scrunched up to tunic length with some leggings or jeans for a more comfy/casual look. This will definitely get a ton of shirt wear for me, as I am lacking date nights in my life right now. But I love having a piece that can be just what I need for any occasion, should my social life pick up. 😉
Let’s talk fabric for a minute though. I used this gorgeous Sly Fox Fabrics double brushed poly for mine. I initially picked it because I was lacking long enough cuts of fabric and I grabbed the max four yards of this when it was a Sly Buy. I’m so glad I did!! I super love it! But, I definitely need to use some sweater knit for the PERFECT sweater …and sweater dress. Also, I’m thinking some ITY would be delightful as a top!
Whatever options you choose, I know you can feel gorgeous and just the right kind of fancy in the new Made for Mermaids Deanna.
Don’t forget to share yours in their Facebook group so I can check it out!! <3