This is another new garment I could have worn during pregnancy. But again, I thought it would be valuable to have a straightforward project already cut and ready to sew during the early post-partum time. Also, I didn’t know what size or shape my body would be! It turns out I’m mostly the same but a little thicker in the middle. I already had a pooch; it’s just a little fuller and softer now (or as I call it, additional squishional).
The dress is M7969. I got a free PDF of it somehow. By the way, I’ve heard rumblings about the quality of the Simplicity Design Group’s PDFs, and while I don’t know the substance of those complaints, I didn’t run into any issues and actually found it easy and pleasant to assemble. Plus I only had to print the bodice and sleeves of this pattern, since the bindings and skirt are rectangles! I chose size L.
But I’m jumping ahead. First, the gorgeous soft spring weather hit at the same time as some inspiration – Brittany J. Jones’s version of M7969 in pink baby noil. I liked the fabric hand, use of solid color, and the slightly sized-up fit, and decided on a whim to make fundamentally the same dress.
I headed out to Sewfisticated and surprised myself by choosing a pale thistle purple (even though there’s precedent in my wardrobe). A linen/rayon blend at $2.99 a yard can never really be wrong, though!
When I got it home and unfolded it to pre-wash I discovered that there was a faded stripe centered on the fabric and running the whole length, but for less than $9 total I could afford to be forgiving! And while I couldn’t totally cut around it, the only pattern piece that crossed the fabric’s center line was these sleeves, and the fading is invisible among the gathers. I couldn’t actually find it to get a photo.
My real and apparent sleeve issue is that I wasn’t paying attention and I cut the sleeve bindings on the straight grain, not the bias, without thinking through how they were meant to curve and hang. Anyway, now they’re lumpy and a little too stiff. But we have a saying in this household, and I intend to abide by it. And anyway there’s so much sleeve it doesn’t bring down the GPA too much.
My good and smart change was to add slash pockets. This theoretically would have made the gathering denser on the bodice front between the pocket openings, but I also overlapped the bodice an additional 1 ¼” inches past each notch (for a 2 ½” total reduction) so the gathers are about as tight as they should have been.
Upon final* (*not actually final) try-on I discovered that the bodice was a little long for my preferences, but instead of shortening it I messed around with various already-owned belts and decided that a modicum of shaping would alleviate the problem. So I went back to my fabric scraps and cut a couple ties on the straight grain.
The back ties are a little too utilitarian for the spring-fairy vibe of the rest of this dress, both in width and attachment style. I chose a finished width of 1” because that’s how wide my interfacing roll is, but around 3/8” (to match the width of the sleeve and neck bindings) would have kept the design more delicate and consistent. Also, ideally I would have tucked the ties into the side seams (then they could be tied in front, too), but un-sailing that ship meant redoing the serged and gathered waist seam and the serged and topstitched bodice side seams. So sail on, ship!
I sewed the ties like the straps here, with the additional step of adding interfacing after pressing the seam open + centered, and then sewing one short end closed before turning right-sides-out. I figured out the strap length by making them deliberately too long (about 2 feet each) and tying them together in a bow; then pinning in place, trying on the dress, and ultimately trimming each tie to a finished length of 21”. I can get the dress off and on without untying the ties, which is nice, because Professor Boyfriend’s greatest foes are climate change and tying pretty bows under pressure. I like it with a little cinching – just enough to corral the back with pulling too much on the front.
Overall this is a nice simple project with a good result – a beginner could be successful, which might be part of the dress’s runaway popularity. Personally, I like the raglan seams and the deep V. I’m not the biggest big sleeve stan, but the sleeve length is clever and has not made any baby-care tasks more challenging (input or output). I liked the bodice a lot before adding the skirt, so maybe I’ll make a blouse version this summer, too. Though that will be largely up to the new girl.
Sometimes Mini-Muffin likes to veg out à la the little teapot…
And sometimes she is perky. Very perky. For hours. And that’s why sometimes my ties will be less than ideal.
Eh, she’s still cheap at the price!
Pattern cost: free
Supplies: 2 3/4 yards of linen blend, Sewfisticated, $8.22; thread, Michael’s, $2.39
Total time: 7.25 hours
Total cost: $10.61