Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Adding to my Housedress Collection

During the winter I primarily work from home. I hate commuting in the cold and snowy weather so being able to work from home daily is perfect for me. Being home, I tend to wear house dresses. Or in my case comfy maxidresses when I don't have a lot of meetings. I do tend to dress (shirt/blouse & jeans or leggings) when I have a day full of zoom meetings but primarily house dresses are worn. Since mine were getting ratty, I was on a mission to add some new ones in a couple of different styles. 

So the premise of these dresses are well put together, comfy yet casual dresses to be worn to work from home. One thing...this post is photo heavy because I included all three dresses I made using this pattern combo in one post. 

I made this dress exactly five years ago...

...and I wore it to death finally relegating it to a nightgown/housedress. When I saw this ad on Instagram this summer, I knew I wanted another one or two!  

So I saved the ad and am just finally getting around to making more. To make my version of this dress, I started with the top of the Cashmerette Washington Dress and added the long sleeves from Cashmerette's Pembroke top. This is truly taking pieces of patterns I like and making them into the garment I want.

In this post I'm highlighting the first three versions I made ~

The first one is a grey/creme knit purchased from Fabric Mart last spring

The second version is a tie-dyed french terry purchased from Fabric Mart's online store last fall.

The third is a solid black bodice and striped skirt.  The bodice is made from a black poly/rayon/spandex knit from StyleMaker Fabrics.  The skirt is made from a rayon poly knit from Fabric Mart's brick & mortar store.  Purchased during Carriage Corner Sew Camp last August.

One thing to note ~
I was 45 lbs. lighter in the original maxidress than I am presently. Which is really interesting because I still wear the dress to sleep in - probably because the knit top has stretched and pilled. I started with a size 26 bodice for these versions instead of the size 22 I last used, because of my weight gain.

I'm also using the Pembroke sleeve pattern because Jenny updated her sleeves for wider arms in her newer patterns. This sleeve works so well in my Pembrokes that I made it work for these dresses.

The skirt is 88" wide and 42" long.  Basically I cut 3 yards in half, then cut off several inches from each side to take in some of the width.

The Grey/White Striped Version ~

Supplies ~
4 yards of a cotton/rayon knit purchased from Fabric Mart last spring
Knit bias binding gifted to me by Jenny several years ago

Construction ~
The defining factor of this dress is the stripe matching on the bodice. I took a lot of care to insure that it matched all the way across the bodice. 
  • Cutting the back pieces with a seam instead of on the center fold of the fabric.
  • After cutting basting the pieces together to insure the stripes matched
  • Then machine stitching them with a large basting stitch
  • This put the construction order out of whack
  • When it was time to put the sleeves in, I unpicked 2 of the stripes so I could sew the sleeves in flat.
Using this method insured that the stripes continued to match across the bodice and matched 80% at the bodice and sleeves. I'm fine with this. I used all of these techniques to make an upscale house dress.  Yes, I know...overkill!

A Few Pictures ~

The Yellow Tied Dyed "French Terry" Version ~

I recently bought some French Terrys from Fabric Mart. I loved the tie dyed colors. However, I was a little disappointed in the weight of them when they arrived. They felt more like ltwt. rayon jerseys than the French Terrys I'd touched in the store. Honestly, I wasn't thrilled with this purchase but decided to use the yellow for a house dress because bright color on dreary winter days.  

I'm glad I chose it because even though it's lightweight, it is comfortable, easy to wear, feels like a big warm hug and works for my work from home life. This one was a straight sew. I used no special techniques because the fabric needed none.

A Few Pictures ~

The Black Solid/Striped Version ~

I was putting fabric away when my hands touched the fabric used in this dress.  I was actually in the middle of finishing up a shirt and the urge to make this one was so strong that I set the shirt aside.  I mean there will be another sewing weekend when I can finish it right?

The fabric that I used for this one elevated it. Because I used a knit with more rayon in it, I did something with this one that I didn't do with the first two. I added bias tape to the shoulder seams and to the waistline seam. Specifically I added an iron on bias tape to the waistline thinking I definitely didn't want this one to stretch out of shape.

Well, I almost can't get into the thing because of that. The waistline is so rigid it's bordering on tight.  I'm hoping that with it's first washing maybe some of the tape will wash out...but I'm not counting on it...because I encased the bias tape with a serge finish. That beautiful gathering is basically pressed than serged in...*sigh*

Some photos ~

Conclusion ~
My goal is to get a two week work wardrobe of house dresses. I made one in 2020 out of ponte that's still going strong. Now I can add these three. I also have two more patterns that I want to use to add some variety to my house dresses. One thing I've realized is that I will never spend as much time as I once did in an office. So I need to have a good work from home wardrobe now. always more later!



  1. All three dresses are fabulous but that gray and white stripe is one I would steal right out of your closet. It is awesome. I can see these working wonderfully for your work at home sitch. I look forward to what is coming next for your career wear from home. These are so good.

  2. All three dresses look great. I really like the black and red dress. The neckline just elevates it.

  3. I can empathize with your reasons for using bias tape on the darker dress, and also with the lack of stretch that makes it harder to get into. Been there, done that. Still, the dress looks so nice !

  4. darn it with the bias tape! I like this one a lot more on you than the dressform pic. I hope that it relaxes a bit with washing.

    THE GREY DRESS!!!! Aaaaaaaah! It looks so good. Very high-end. I also love that sunny yellow. Great trio here!

  5. Fantastic dresses! I think my fave is the gray and white stripe...all the trouble you took to match the stripes shows!

  6. These are wonderful and the grey in particular looks like a warm hug. The black with the extra detail in the neckline is striking. I look at these at just dresses. These would all work for the zoom meetings I have to attend. And you would look fabulous. Maybe its a west coast thing. And a photo heavy blog is a good thing. Jean

  7. Love them all, but that grey and white stripe is special. i love reading your blog you have such a clear idea of your own style,

  8. These are all so beautiful and you look comfortable and lovely in them. I may copy your ideas for the summer but in short sleeves! Thank you!

  9. Carolyn, you look so pretty in all of these dresses. Really makes me want to step up my game in a work from home wardrobe. Thank you for the detailed information on the patterns you used and how you changed them. I made a similar looking dress using a concept that Anita By Design showed us for making dresses to donate. I was gifted a t-shirt that was too large for a friend, so I cut off the bottom and sewed a knit skirt on the bottom, using what I cut off from the t shirt as pockets. It doesn't fit as nicely as yours, but it's a good out of the shower dress. Fabric Mart is wonderful!

  10. The gray stripe is lovely.

  11. The grey and white stripe dress is wonderful. Very flattering.

  12. These dresses are fabulous! I love how you use the elements of each pattern that suit you. g

  13. Thank you for the inspiration boost. I really like the bodice skirt combination
    I have a couple of similar dresses (but woven) I made years ago and recently found two UFOs that I was considering finishing to be "work at home housedress"
    They should still fit...Years ago, they were destined to be maternity dresses-which is now just about my regular size...

  14. I love these dresses! Especially the tie-dyed one. Thanks for all the details Carolyn :-)

  15. You sparkle in your house dresses, especially the gray stripe and yellow tye-dye!

  16. First can I say you are still inspiring us all with your wonderful creations and then I want to say thank you for the lovely comment on my post. I had thoroughly lost my blogging mojo. My time was mostly spent on charity sewing and on studying my faith which has become the most important thing in my life. But , I've really been missing the camaraderie of the sewing and blogging world lately. So I decided to start again. I hope you and yours are well too in this covid infested world we are all living in. We are actually in pretty much lock down here where I live. Thank goodness for sewing !


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