Spring is the start of dress season for me. I love dresses, they make me happy! Though I wear dresses in the winter (mainly to show off cute or colorful tights) the chilly weather does hinder the frequency, but come spring I basically live in a dress.
I’d been eyeing LA Finch Fabrics liverpool knits for while thanks to Brittany J Jones and other sewists. So when a 2.5 yd remnant of this Mint Floral Liverpool knit became available I had to grab it with my winnings. I am so glad that I did, I really love the fabric! It has a great crepe texture on the front side that doesn’t distract from the colorful prints and a super soft brushed wrong side that feels great against the skin.
Before it even arrived I knew it would become a dress with a full skirt. As I searched through my mental Rolodex of my patterns I narrowed it down to Vogue 8997 and McCalls 7503. Both are V-neck, sleeveless, lined dress patterns that feature a full skirt. The main differences are the waistlines (raised vs natural) and number of skirt panels (6 vs 8). My vision was a very twirly skirt so the fullest skirt won, which was M7503.
Sewing this dress was a breeze, I actually sewed it up while taking break on another project. That said it still took a couple of days of off-and-on sewing to finish. Actually I’m still not sure I’m finished with it, despite the fact I’ve already worn it. Why? Well since this pattern is designed for wovens I bought the larger pattern size based on the finished bust measurement (confused about pattern sizing see here) even though I often sew patterns design for wovens with knits (this does not work the other way without major adjustments, just FYI). Had I purchased it with the intention to use a knit I would purchased the smaller size set. Though I cut the smallest size of the larger envelope (a 14) and sewed a 3/4″ seam allowance, I still feel it is too big. I have positive ease and I like for my knit dresses to have negative ease (or skim my body). The silhouette of this dress doesn’t make the tighter fit necessary it is more of a personal preference. Thanks to Josephine over at LA Finch Fabrics, who suggested I add a skinny belt to cinch the dress at the waist, I was able to wear it out. After wearing the dress for a full day I have decided to take the dress in another 1/2″ at the front princess and back dart seams. I’m skipping the side seams because I added pockets.
Secondly because the fabric is a stable knit I did not hem this dress. To hem or not to hem is the question though this raw edge doesn’t look unfinished to me I wonder if a narrow hem would look cleaner. The pattern calls for horsehair in the hem and though I feel this fabric has enough body without it I’m interested in playing with horsehair as I have never used it before.
I did make a few changes, really omissions, to this pattern. The dress is supposed to be fully lined but I just lined the bodice because, as I mentioned, the wrong side of this fabric is super soft and feels great on the skin. I actually would have skipped the bodice lining, but it is necessary for the clean V neckline. If I omitted the bodice lining I would have had to do a facing, add a band or cut the bodice on the fold and do a narrow hem to keep the neckline. I also omitted the back zipper as it wasn’t necessary due to the stretchiness and recovery of this wonderful liverpool knit.
Pattern: McCalls 7503
Pattern Description: Fitted through the bodice dresses have princess seams and invisible back zipper. Includes separate pattern pieces are included for cup sizes A/B, C, D.
Sizing: 6-14, 14-22 (I cut a 14 B cup based on my 38″ bust)
Does it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope? Yes
Were the instructions easy to follow? I didn’t follow
Likes: V-neck front and back, princess seams, 6 panel skirts
Dislikes: No pockets
Pattern alterations or any design changes made: I omitted the zipper, the skirt lining and didn’t hem.
Would I sew it again? Yes I still want to make it in a woven fabric.
Would I recommend it to others? Definitely if you want a dress this style.
Conclusion: Straightforward dress pattern with great results!