Full disclosure: I sewed this dress a while ago. But since you guys haven’t seen it yet, it practically didn’t exist until today, right?

This dress was an interesting triumph. It was the first time that it occurred to me that I don’t need to buy twelve metres of fabric to make dresses. I believe it was made out of something like 1.6 metres of quilting fabric or thereabouts. It was the last length on the bolt (and mint!) and I couldn’t resist. I have learned much along my quest to become the best seamstress I can be, and one of those learnings was that some fabric is inappropriate for garment construction, but dammit, who are you kidding, you’re going to try and make something wearable out of it anyways. This fabric is kind of rough and scratchy, which is frankly typical of many quilting cottons out there (honestly, why are people making quilts out of pieces of woven cardboard anyways?).

It also has a hidden secret. It’s not just mint–it’s actually zebra-printed fabric! Obviously, I had to buy it.

Fabric: Spotlight
Pattern: M7083
Belt: Forever New
Shoes: TaoBao

I whipped it up out of one of my favourite patterns, McCalls 7083. To say that I love this pattern would be an understatement; I think I must have made 3 or 4 dresses out of this pattern. The custom cup sizes, coupled with the versatility of the collars make for a pretty fantastic pattern. It’s out of print now, but it’s definitely worth investing in if you can get your hands on it.

Adjustments that I made were inserting a prick-stitched regular zip instead of an invisible one, and obviously the giant honking heart-shaped hole in the centre of the chest. I LOVE dresses with cut-outs–They generally enable me to feel the perfect combination of sexy and cute, but I did not think the location of this one through too well. Standing like this, in the pictures you see before you, it looks fairly well-positioned, right? The problem is that I am a millennial, and I’m sorry to generalise but we are slouchers. And you definitely cannot slouch in this dress. The whole neckline begins to shift and migrate downward.

Needless to say, this is the designated first-date dress.

I finished off the neckline and armholes with a bias binding facing to avoid having to sew a lining or draft a facing for this. With the heart cut-out, I’m not even sure how a lining would work, to be honest. Hand-sewing, probably (not something I adore doing).

The issues with bias-bound facing: I did not count for how much smaller the seam allowance is for bias binding, nor did I account for the fact that I would have to top-stitch to get the facing to lay down. I know what to do in the future but they were pretty cringe-worthy moments during construction. I top-stiched a little and prick-stitched other areas to keep them down. The inside of this dress isn’t my proudest moment.

Another annoying thing is that this dress was constructed before I even heard of the concept of a sway-back adjustment. It fit me really well in the chest and amateur that I am though, “Oh, patterns just fit me out of the packet, that’s great!”

No. They don’t. There are about two inches of excess length hidden behind that belt that is crying to be lopped off.

Despite all these issues, this dress still remains one of my favourites and I see a lot of cut-out dresses in my future.

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2 Comments

  1. You’re dress is very cute!

    To answer why quilting fabric is so stiff, it is because it is MUCH MORE precise than dress making. You need to make squares and triangles and whatever to be exact measurements and stiff fabrics are the best. There’s been a few times where apparel fabric scraps get used in a quilt and it is such a pain. Too floppy! XD Great feeling against your skin, but not when you are trying to be super exact. And then you have the issue of cheap fabric vs nicer fabrics. The more you pay the softer but “stiff” the cottons are for quilting. So not all have that garbagey cardboard feeling.

    • Demi

      Ahh that makes sense! It was a very cheap fabric but I couldn’t deny the cuteness. I’ve learned my lesson since and try to only use quilting stuff when it has a nice drape or as muslins now!

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