Pattern: McCall’s 6277
Fabric: ITY knit from fabric.com, 2 yards
Notions: thread, clear elastic (in shoulder seams for reinforcement)
Notes: I bought this Laura Ashley patter as soon as it was released, but then I was stymied by what to make it from. I knew I wanted a nice drape for the cape sleeves. I almost used a rayon challis, but then I bought a ton of knits from fabric.com and thought “why not?” I’m really happy with my decision – the dress is light and drapey, exactly as I pictured it in my head! It isn’t too much of a sack (though I guess it is without the belt) which was my biggest worry with the pattern.
Construction was straightforward, particularly if you’ve ever made a dress with ruffles set into the princess seams (Simplicity 2360, now out of print, is similar, but with smaller ruffles.) I did not line the dress (I pretty much don’t line anything unless I absolutely have to.) I chose to do a narrow hem on the neckline and the sleeves (see my tutorial.) I didn’t bother to finish the armholes – they are entirely hidden by the sleeves, and jersey doesn’t fray.
I cut the higher neckline with the shorter sleeves. I really like the length of these sleeves on me. I am 5’8″ and the longer ruffles would have made my arms look like I didn’t have elbows. If you are shorter than me, or have short arms (mine are long) this will be too long on you. I recommend just cutting the sleeves down to whatever length makes them hit where mine do – it’s a simple pattern piece. The length you see is the unhemmed length of the dress. I don’t always hem jersey, though in this case I may go back and add one (this ITY tended to curl a bit, and you can see that a little on the hemline.)
About the fabric: I love ITY jerseys. I know not everyone does, but I find them pretty easy to sew with. This one, however, was not what I would really call ITY. It has a lighter and silkier texture. Most of the ITYs I own have 4% lycra, but this one has 8%. My machine didn’t love sewing it, but I managed with a lengthened zigzag stitch. Hemming the sleeves was done with a straight stitch for neatness, and because they don’t stretch. I used a walking foot the entire time, as I always recommend with knits. Be aware that not all the ITYs at fabric.com are the same – they are all different types, from heavy to light. I didn’t receive any that I didn’t like, but don’t expect them to all be the same!
I am of the opinion that these sorts of belted sack dresses work best in either a knit or a lightweight silk. I have several others that I’m planning (Cynthia Rowley has many dresses of the belted sack variety.) I highly recommend this pattern, with the caveat that you should watch the sleeve length. I’m very happy with how mine turned out!