A 2-for-1 special: The "Sea Flowers" top and dress

I finally got around to taking the pics this afternoon, so I now present parts 3 and 4 of my summer wardrobe: the printed top, and the dress that was supposed to be maxi but wasn’t.

1. The top- McCall’s 5662

Pattern Description: Knit empire-waist top with bodice and sleeve variations. I made C, which is a kind of kimono-esque one.

Pattern Sizing:X-small- Med.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Mostly– I eliminated that ropey belt thing.

Were the instructions easy to follow? I didn’t have a problem with it, but it does skip back and forth a bit between views so a more beginner sewer might have problems knowing where to go next.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the style of it– it came together easily, and it’s very comfortable to wear. I had more dislikes than likes, unfortunately. #1: This top is basically unwearable without a camisole underneath. For one thing, the back is way too low, with the V ending a good 2″+ below my bra. The other thing is that the neckline doesn’t stay in place very well– I’ve worn this top once so far, and it has a tendency to slide off of my shoulders. So there’s a lot of potential for wardrobe malfunctions. #2: At least for this particular view, the sizing is huge. I made it a full size smaller than my usual, and still had to take it in some. #3: A more petty complaint, but the talking cartoon heads of the two girls who created the pattern that pop up in the instructions with tips annoy me. (“Sew an applique onto your top! Put beaded trim around the neck!”) I know that I’m probably a little older than their target market, but it just seems a bit over the top.

Fabric Used: I used a rayon lycra jersey from Lucy’s Fabrics.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: As mentioned, I made it a size smaller and eliminated the ropey belt thing. If I was making this again, I think I would have added in some kind of knit interfacing or clear elastic to fix the neckline issues.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I won’t be making this top again. It might be good for a teenage sewer, as long as they know not to wear it out without a camisole for extra insurance against flashing people.

Conclusion: I think it looks pretty good on me, but it’s just not as functional as I wanted it to be. Too bad, since I had high hopes for this one.

(A final note: One of the saddest things about this top for me is that it really doesn’t work with the bamboo skirt. So from a mini-wardrobe perspective, a fail of sorts.)

2. The un-maxi dress- Simplicity 3678

Pattern Description: “Misses’ knit dresses with bodice and sleeve variations” is the description given on the back. Also has waistband and gathering and the front and back center of the skirt. I made view A

Pattern Sizing: 8-16

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? From the waistband up, yes. From the bottom down, no.

Were the instructions easy to follow? I found them very easy to follow, though I did make some construction modifications to allow for using my serger.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the bodice– the stitched-down pleats add a nice detail, and while it’s low-cut enough that I’ll be wearing it over a camisole just for my own comfort, it’s not ridiculously so. I didn’t like the skirt–the gathering made it look like I was about five months pregnant, especially when looking at it from the side!

Fabric Used: A rayon-lycra jersey from Lucy’s Fabrics (the same one I used for the McCall’s 5662– these were both made as part of a summer mini-wardrobe.)

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: I did have to take it in some at the waist, which is perfectly normal for me. I ended up having to take all of the gathering out of the skirt and sewing it in as a flat seam. I’m not entirely satisfied with the silhouette of the skirt– the fabric’s a little too clingy for it to work really well with such a fitted silhouette– but it’s still a lot better than where it started. I did add a seam in the back bodice, but only because I didn’t have enough yardage left to cut it on the fold. I also added a strip of fusible knit interfacing to the neckline facing and hand-stitched it down for extra insurance against stretching and gapping, after what happened with the McCall’s pattern. It seemed to work pretty well, though the stitching is showing up a bit more than I wanted it to.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I think I might revisit it if I ever do end up pregnant (edit: though I’d have to see some improvement in my husband-finding skills first, seeing as how I haven’t even had a boyfriend in a very long time!), because based on how it originally looked on me, it would probably make a really cute maternity dress! However, if the gathered waist is a flattering thing on you, I would recommend it.

Conclusion: It’s a nice pattern, but just doesn’t look nice on me without a lot of help.

(So it doesn’t really look very hippie-ish at all in the styling– there’s just no way I would have been able to make the originally planned maxi-dress, because I wasn’t counting on having to cut out almost every piece between these two on the fold. But it is still a cute dress. Now that it’s not maternity-looking, that is.)

I have a new pattern in the queue as well… one of my friends is getting married in January, and so I need something to wear to the wedding. I’ve found it’s hard to find long-sleeved dresses that don’t look frumpy (and with my complete inability to get my internal thermostat turned on in the winter, 3/4 sleeves is NOT an option!) So I found this one— I know there’s a slit in the sleeves, but I do like those drapey, Rennaisance/fantasy heroine-type sleeves . (And the slit actually makes them more practical, because then there’s no danger of me getting my sleeves in my food at the reception! Now I just need to find some fabric– I’d love to find something in a subtle teal/brown print, because then I can also get some more use out of the wrap I’ll be wearing at my brother’s wedding in October. (Which, if all goes well with the dyeing, is going to be chocolate brown silk velvet. YUM.)

9 thoughts on “A 2-for-1 special: The "Sea Flowers" top and dress

  1. Oh I love how both of them look on you! As usual, great sewing!! And I didn't think the dress made you look pregnant. πŸ™‚

    Thank you too for writing up your reviews of the patterns. Very helpful for someone like me who has trouble with most patterns. πŸ˜›


  2. Pingback: No, there’s too much. Let me sum up. – sew adagio

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