I’m convinced that this just might be the coziest garment in my wardrobe. Actually, I think it’s the coziest thing I’ve ever made. And what’s even better? It only took an afternoon to whip up! While I love a good sewing challenge, sometimes it is so satisfying to go back to basics and create something as simple as this sweatshirt dress.
Let’s start with the fabric, because it’s my favorite part of this garment. I’d been wanting a casual sweater/sweatshirt dress for a while but was waiting to find just the right fabric. A couple of months ago, I happened upon this Cotton Loopback Sweatshirting in Salt and Pepper, at The Fabric Store in Sydney. I just have to say that this fabric is so incredibly soft, and has such a nice weight to it. Basically, it’s exactly what I was looking for.
When I first saw this fabric, I was attracted to the loopback side. After getting it home and laying it out, I realized that the loopback was the “wrong” side or back of the fabric. (I guess the descriptor “loopback” should have clued me in on that one.) Well, I’ve never been one to give much heed to the side of the fabric one should use. I tend to use whichever side I like better. So, I decided to use the loopback side as the right side. And bonus – not only does the dress have a cool sweater look on the outside, but the inside is soft like a sweatshirt. The smooth sweatshirt fabric feels amazing on the skin, and I can tell it will definitely keep me warm this winter.
For the pattern, I used McCalls M7061. This is the same pattern I used for my DIY Activewear shirt. This time, instead of the cowl collar, I used the hood and added a front kangaroo pocket. This pattern says “easy” on the envelope, and I can assure you that is indeed easy. As I mentioned, from start to finish, this dress only took an afternoon to complete. This included several alterations to the pattern.
When I made this pattern for an activewear shirt, I liked having it slightly oversized. For this dress, I wanted it slightly more fitted. I took the side seams and sleeves in about 1.25”. As with the previous make, I shortened the sleeves. For some reason, the sleeves are very long with this pattern. This time, I reduced the length by 1”, then added the cuffs. After I sewed the band onto the bottom, the dress looked a bit too long and frumpy for me. I removed the band and cut four inches off the bottom, before re-attaching the band.
The final alteration I made was to the pocket. I added an inch to the top and an inch to the bottom. The original pocket size seemed ridiculously small. I could barely fit my hands in the pocket openings. And I don’t know about you, but when a garment has a pocket, I want to be able to use it! Now, I can comfortably fit my hands in the pocket, without feeling like they are abnormally large.
When making such a simple pattern, I feel like the finishing and small details can really take the garment to another level. With this dress, it was all about the topstitching for me. Aside from making sure all my topstitching was neat and even, I added some additional topstitching around the cuffs and bottom band seam. To me, this makes the dress look more professional and finished.
After a grueling afternoon of work – haha – this dress turned out exactly how I wanted. It’s comfortable, and I think it will look cute this winter, with some tights and boots.
I have a bit of this fabric leftover, so I may make a sweatshirt. This time, however, I think I’ll use the fabric the “right” side out.
Until next week,