I wanted to make a new dress this past weekend. I had this new ponte knit ready to go and I had McCall's 6988 adjusted and ready to cut out. I could have just screamed when I started laying out the pieces and realized that they were never going to fit on my mere 2 yards of fabric.
So I rooted through the pattern stash and pulled out about half a dozen patterns that might be able to be squeezed out of 2 yards. I finally settled on New Look 6144. It looked like it would work in a stable knit, it had only 6 pattern pieces including facings, and it was the approximate style that I wanted.
I settled on view C with the double pleat at the neckline and the longer sleeves.
It was a surreal experience. I wanted to make a dress, but this wasn't really the dress I wanted to make. I don't know why I had it in my head that I must use this fabric. It's not like I don't have plenty of other projects I could work on. But once I got started, I just couldn't stop. And during the process I was never really sure I was even going to like the finished object.
So. On to the details. This is a really nice, heavy ponte knit that I picked up at Hancock's a couple of weekends ago. It was regularly $19.95/yard, but I found it marked down 50% on the clearance table. I suppose the color makes it a "summer" fabric and it was put on clearance to make way for fall fabrics. I really like it. It's coral, but reads more orange in some light. And the heavy weight is going to make it perfect for fall and winter, not to mention my meat locker of an office. The texture is really smooth and I hope it doesn't pill. I have had good luck with some of the ponte knits I've purchased at Hancock's so I have hope.
The pattern is one of those cute little understated sheath dresses that New Look seems to issue like clockwork. I finally chose it because it only has 6 pattern pieces and it didn't look like it would need a lot of length added to it. (I think the McCall's pattern didn't fit on my fabric because I added so much length- at the waist and to the skirt.) I really like the raglan sleeves, which are easy to fit and (I think) look good on me. The neckline pleat is also a great detail.
I cut a 14 through the neckline, a 16 through the bust, sleeves, and waist, and an 18 at the hip. I added 1.5" of length to the waist, and 3/8" of length to the bust- a "cheater's FBA" which I made by slashing and spreading the pattern straight across the bust and then easing the extra into the side seam. It worked great... I just don't think I really needed it now that I see the photos.
What did I particularly like about this pattern?
The front is one big piece with a left and a right- no cutting on the fold.
The raglan sleeves are two pieces, front and back.
I did not have to lengthen the skirt- this pattern is knee length.
The neckline is wide enough to not require a zipper (in a knit) but not so wide as to show bra straps.
What do I not like particularly?
The sleeves are an awkward length. It's my fault completely. I know I have little T-rex arms and I should have checked. They hit me right at the crook of my elbow and bunch and wrinkle from me bending my arms. I should have gone 3/4 length and narrowed them a bit.
The center front neckline is a little wonky- once again, completely my fault. I should have considered that this beefy knit would be hard to pleat and then sew a facing to and have everything lie smooth when turned under. I did the best I could with careful trimming and a lot of steam, but it will never be perfect.
The front is a bit loose. I didn't really need the FBA and that could be part of the problem, but I think I am going to take the front darts in a bit at the top. Just a smidge, mind you.
I am going to have to give in and wear some shape wear with this. The fabric is heavy, but in this color, you can see all the bumps and bulges.
Now that I'm seeing the photos, I'm liking this. It's not my favorite dress, but I will get some use out of it. I need some different shoes, though. I'm wearing it with nude sandals in the photos and although I like the look, these shoes are not comfortable or practical for work or for cool weather. Black just seemed too "Halloweeny." Maybe some nude pumps or perhaps gray?
When I bought this fabric, I also bought two yards of the same knit in a marine blue. So now I have to choose another pattern that will use only two yards. At least I already have a selection to choose from.