Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Blue Cowl Dress

It was just as I suspected - warm woollen stockings and a singlet did the trick, and starved off any chill that may have been felt whilst wearing my new cowl neck dress. That, and my old faithful winter coat when riding my bike - that back neck cowl really wouldn't have stood up to any winter winds!



Project Details
Pattern: McCalls 6069 - Easy 1 Hour Dress
Fabric: 1.6m viscose/polyester print jersey from Tessuti Fabrics (and a remnant piece at that - score!)
Notions: Elastic (1cm wide) for waistband.

This was a quick and easy dress to sew up, but I would never, ever have gotten it done in the one hour claimed by the pattern envelope. I would say it took about 3 hours to sew up all together, but I did take my time about it. For example, I sewed every seam on my normal machine using a stretch stitch, and then finished the edges with the overlocker. I also hemmed the cowls properly, instead of just leaving the edges raw, as I prefer a nice neat finish. If you just used an overlocker for this dress you might just get in done in an hour, but I don't think it would look as good. Besides, I'm always leery of using an overlocker instead of a machine to join seams, as I find that the overlocker can quite often stretch and splay fabric. Not a good look, and it doesn't make for a nice straight seam. Maybe it's just my overlocker that does it, but I do prefer to take my time and get a good finish.

The only alteration I made on this dress was to lengthen the sleeves. It's a funny thing about me - even though I always pull my sleeves up, I don't really like three-quarter length ones, and prefer to have longer ones to hoick up. Strange, but true.
It's very comfortable to wear, and great for cool but not really chilly days - provided I have my tights and singlet on! I'm already planning another, and you can get no better compliment than that.


  1. Love it! *bookmarks for future reference*

  2. It looks fantastic!! Did you find it ran true to size? I think I am going to make it - you've completely convinced me!

  3. Thanks guys!

    Rachel, I think it runs true to size, but being a knit it's always got that bit more 'give'. Now you've seen it, do you see what I mean about it being a great nursing dress?

  4. Yep, I sure do! I think it will be perfect. So perfect I just bought the pattern on ebay!! Hehehe. And it looks great in the fabric.

    Another question - how does bra-wearing go? The back cowl looks quite low - can you see bra straps if you don't have a singlet on?

    I always covet your garments - you're such an inspiration!

  5. Rach, the singlet I'm wearing is one of those Bonds ones with the built-in shelf, so it would be almost the same as wearing a bra. I don't like showing my underwear off, but in this case you only see a bit of the back strap, so I feel I'm getting away with it (um, that and I can't see it!)

    If you feel the cowl is too low, you could easily alter it. Oh, and thanks for the compliments!

  6. Really gorgeous! I just found your blog and I think I might be in love with it. Also, I'm glad to see a fellow disliker of three quarter length sleeves in a sea of bloggers who love them.

  7. Very nice! Your tooshie looks fab in this dress ;)

  8. Love it, you rock it :)

  9. I agree with Nic! This dress looks amazing x

  10. Oh wow. Really- it is stunning!
    I'll wear a "bah to 3/4 length sleeves" too. I understand the practicality but it doesn't make me like them...

  11. Lovely drapey gorgeousness!

    I'm the same with overlockers too, I'll only use it to finish seam edges and even then I'm rarely happy with the result.

  12. I'm so susceptible to the charms of your blog... you look so fabulous in that dress that I too bought the pattern.

    Well, your blog entry was well-timed with a $3 sale on the McCalls website, so what's a girl to do?

    A couple of other patterns may or may not have been thrown in for good measure. I mean, you've got to make good use of the postage costs, right??

  13. Darn right, Lisa!

  14. This pattern is a favourite of mine. I've only made a summer version so far. I'm working on how to adjust for a no cowl back. Love your fabric.

  15. Hopefully you will still receive this message even though the blog post was ages ago!

    I am just completing this dress (with fabric I recently bought at Mood NYC - yay!!) but I am not very happy with the results...

    A few questions if you have time:

    - did you find that there was a lot of excess fabric in the top section (ie, in addition to the cowl neck it seems quite baggy on the sides)
    - did you use your usual sizing or downsize for this dress?
    - did you find the armholes quite small? I'm not sure if I've just stitched it too tight, maybe I need to redo them on a stretchier stitch...
    - did you tighten the backstrap at all? I'm finding that the shoulder seams are slipping way over my shoulders, again I'm not sure if the backstrap is just too loose or whether it's the armhole issue again.

    I have been so enthused about this project but it's just not playing out how I was hoping!

    Of course, I haven't given up yet!!

  16. Hi Ellejays,

    To answer your questions...
    (1) I didn't find that there was a lot of excess fabric in the top, but I did make the smallest size. It's not a close fitting knit, but I wouldn't call mine baggy. However, some knits have a lot more 'give' than others, so maybe that is where your problem lies?

    (2) I used my usual sizing for this dress, which is the smallest size.

    (3) I have no problems with my armhole. Once again, maybe the give of the fabric is the culprit? I did use a stretch stitch on all my seams, excepting the hem.

    (4) I did have to tighten the backstrap. Now I've worn the dress several times, it's the one thing I don't like about it.

    Hope that helps you!

  17. Thanks for your speedy response!

    You are probably right that the fabric has a lot of give in it - it does seem to hang quite heavily from the shoulders, and the waist elastic does seem to sit a little low.

    I think I'll remove the arms and try again... and maybe reinforce the backstrap.

    Meanwhile, it is a pretty fabric and is a comfortable - so even if it's not my best look ever I'm sure it will get some wear :)



Leave a comment! Make my day!

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.