When I’m not sewing for my dogs or my daughter, I do get in the occasional sewing project for myself. I’ve long been searching for the perfect dress pattern for my capsule wardrobe and I’m excited to share that this recent make might be it.
While this pattern is now out of print (McCalls 6465) it can still be sourced as a digital file. You also might be able to track down an original. It is a loose fitting, pullover dress with a bit of an A-line fit and bust darts to give it a nice fit and finish.
I love a basic dress, hence the ongoing search for the perfect pattern. This was a weekend make by the time I assembled the pattern (Friday evening), cut out my fabric (Saturday evening) and sewed everything together (Sunday afternoon). I think it will definitely go faster the more I make!
Some stashed linen was perfect for this dress! And I found an almost perfect match in my Maderia thread selection, as well.
There are lots of options for this dress, including adding colour blocking on the bottom hem and an asymmetrical version. I also think with the right fabric choice some embroidery, either on the top around the collar or along the hem, would be the perfect added touch.
Not only does it sew the most beautiful straight line with the perfect stitches which are great for hems, it also handles curves with ease. This is especially important around the collar of this dress. Honestly, the finish on the collar of a handmade dress is everything!
This pattern called for understitching the collar and lining, which involves sewing the lining and seam allowance to hold everything in place. It creates a lovely edge and minimizes any rolling.
This technique involves sewing through a bit of bulk, depending on your fabric choice. The Janome HP (High Performance) foot is fabulous for handling any bulk on a sewing project.
Another important finish on a handmade clothing item are the seams. Some patterns will give you guidance on how to finish the seams so they don’t fray, but also so they lay nicely, and especially important when making clothing for littles, so they don’t irritate the skin. This dress allowed for some options.
I chose to finish my dress using an overcast stitch meant to mimic a serger stitch. To do this, I used the Overedge foot M. This foot along with the overcast/overedge stitch can be used to simultaneously seam and overcast edges of fabrics. The guide bar helps keep the fabric aligned, and the overedge stitches bind the edge of the seam perfectly to prevent fraying, just like a serger – except your sewing machine will not trim the fabric like a serger, lol!
I love some of the extra finishes on this pattern. For example, the bust darts create a nice smooth front and decrease some of the bulk dresses and tunics without them may have.
I was very careful to transfer the bust dart guide from the pattern onto my fabric using chalk, then lined everything up and pinned it in place before sewing.
The secret to a dart that lays perfectly flat without any extra bulk is to not backstitch at the end but rather tie off in a tiny knot or reduce the stitches very small so they don’t come undone.
I’m so happy with this pattern! Definitely something I will make again (and again)!
What colour should I make next?
Do you have a go-to dress pattern? What is your favourite way to finish off seams?