Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The Season of the Dress

I am truly inspired creatively by the seasons, the things that I see and the conversations that I ingest.

Presently there is a conversation/discussion on Sewing World about dresses. Now I have always loved dresses especially for spring, summer and fall. Dresses, stockings and heels make me feel beautiful and feminine. Truly when was the last time you saw a guy in a dress looking good!

I can remember dresses being special to me ever since I was 4 years old. I was in church with my grandmother (the one who taught me to sew!) and it was time to give our offering. In her Southern Baptist church that meant that everyone left their pew and marched around to the front of the church and placed their offering in the basket. I clearly remember my grandmother telling me to swish the hem of my dress as I walked. "Give it a little flow, child!" Is what she actually said! That was a life changing event for me ~ well obviously since I remember it so vividly 42 years later! But it really taught me how dresses can make a woman feel feminine and pretty.

Flash forward several years ~ I have always collected dress patterns especially since I live in them during the summer. On the East Coast, summer days can be very hot, muggy and humid so a dress with the right accessories and a good pair of sandals makes you well dressed as well as heat resistant! I must have purchased hundreds of dress patterns over the years as I searched for "The Perfect Dress."

This spring/summer season the following dresses have caught my eye and will become part of the elusive search for The Perfect Dress:

1. McCalls 9172 ~ This one was suggested by Sewjandid on Sewing World. It looks like a simple easy dress that can be changed with different fabric types or trims to make a week's worth of dresses. I have ordered this pattern!

2. Vogue 7994 ~ I have wanted to make this one since Cambric Tea reviewed it on Patternreview. I have a wonderful soft seagreen linen from the fabric collection that this would look beautiful in!

3. McCalls 3173 OOP ~ Almost every summer I pull this pattern out. I haven't gotten around to making it yet but it is back out again this year! Hopefully I will have a soft rayon print version of it by summer's end!

4. McCalls 4770 ~ I think this will be my version of the wrap dress this summer. It can be made out of a woven instead of a knit which I think will look better on my plus size body. I have several very pretty Pucci prints in the fabric collection that could make this dress sing!

5. Butterick 6198 ~ is OOP and I have made it twice before out of solid linen and a dot print linen. It was one of my favorite dresses at the time so when I saw the pink picture (cut from a Barrie Pace catalog), I knew I had to find my old pattern, bring it out and use it again!

6. McCalls 7714 ~ An OOP Sundress that I have wanted to make for several years but didn't because of my arms. I hate my upper arms but hey we all have body parts that we would willing trade! I think I can handle making it this year, not because I had arm flap surgery but because I have several great knit cardigans and a great shrug pattern that would look soooo cute with this dress.

I have one more favorite that I have made twice before but somehow neglected to get a picture of it. It is an OOP Vogue Tamoutsu pattern 2090. The pattern envelope describes it as a semi-fitted, a-line dress, above ankle has a collar, collar band, shoulder pads, mock front bands and above elbow sleeves. I have made it in a linen and a silk duppioni both are easy to wear and great looking. I want to add one more version to my summer dress wardrobe.

So here are my choices for summer dressing. One pattern to make a week's worth of dresses and the others to make some very kewl alternatives. If you can get your hands on the May 2006 issue of Burda World of Fashion, they devote an entire section to summer dresses. Now for us plus size girls, they haven't included any dress patterns, but I used the patterns they chose as inspiration in picking my six patterns above. Hey a girl's got to do what a girl's got to do to be fashionable! *smile* Hopefully during the summer of 2006, while the living is easy my summer dresses will keep me cool, fashionable and beautiful!


  1. Great site lots of usefull infomation here.

  2. Not everyone is blessed with Michelle Obama's arms

  3. Hi!
    I was googling to find someone--anyone--who has made McCall's 3173. I read your post and wonder if you finally got around to making it? I'm wondering about the seemingly large amount of ease and the lack of bust point marks on the pattern.
    You can email me at tracykm at yahoo dot com (I'm not sure if my email is in my profile)


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