Have you ever had one of those projects that you were so jazzed about, that checked all the boxes, that you were so convinced you were going to love that you already planned out a second version in your mind – only to finish the garment, and feel, well, meh? This dress is one of those. Now, don’t get me wrong, I really do love this dress and will probably make another. But, it just doesn’t make my heart skip a beat the way the anticipation of it did.
This is the So Over It Penny Dress, and I’m not sure there could have ever been a more perfect pattern for me. Let’s take a look: shirtdress – check, A-line skirt – check, vintage style – double check! This pattern has basically all my favorite things rolled into one. Well, almost all my favorite things; the pattern didn’t include a matching bomber jacket- ha!
This is the first Sew Over pattern I’ve made (I currently have another one in the queue), and I’m a fan. The pattern is very well drafted and the instructions are clear and easy to follow. I cut a straight size and only made two slight alterations. The first was adding three inches to the hem. I held up the pattern piece and suspected I’d want a bit more length. Allow me to explain:
I am very, VERY particular when it comes to hem length. I feel like there are sweet spots, depending on the style of dress, that are most flattering on me. For a flowy A-line like this, I find it to be just a couple of inches below my knee. Adding length has basically become a standard adjustment for me, which also extends to shirts. Sometimes it’s as little as an inch, but what can I say? I’m a girl who knows what she likes. As predicted, the extra three inches made the length perfection for me.
The other change I made was to the construction of the sleeve and side seams. This pattern doesn’t have a sleeve per se. It’s a dropped shoulder that creates a bit of a cut-on sleeve. The instructions tell you to snip into the sleeve seam allowance, press wrong sides together, then edgestitch between these notches. You then stitch up the side seam as normal. The problem with this? You’re left with some unfinished edges, where you cut into the seam allowance. I know this is only 5/8” left unattended, but aside from hem lengths, having neatly finished seams is something I feel very strongly about.
Luckily, this was a pretty easy fix that let’s me sleep a lot sounder at night, knowing all of the seams are neatly finished. When you sew the shoulder seams and lay the pieces out flat, it is basically a straight line from the front waist to the back waist. I serged both sides from waist to waist to clean up the edges. Next, I sewed up the side seam to the notches. To finish off the arm opening. I pressed the edge in 5/8” and topstitched around. When I got to the bottom at the side seam, I squared off the stitches, and there you have it – neatly finished seams!
I have one more note on construction (and then we finally get to the fabric). As with all patterns cut on the bias, you need to hang the dress overnight to let the skirt fall before hemming. Boy, oh boy am I glad I did, because the hem grew about four inches on one side and more than two inches on the other! The hem looked like a rainbow! It’s so important to not skip this step – unless rainbow hems are your thing.
Finally, on to the fabric! This is a rayon from Harts Fabric, and I LOVE it. Unfortunately, I bought this last spring, and it is now sold out. When I started looking for fabric for this dress, I had some very specific ideas in mind. I wanted a floral, and I wanted a floral that could work year-round. This beauty definitely hits the mark. The black background makes it easy to transition from warm to cool weather, and, well just look at those lovely flowers! For this photoshoot, I wanted to style it for both warm and cooler weather to show the versatility of both the dress and the fabric.
This is my first order from Harts, and I would absolutely order from them again. They have a great selection, and the quality and feel of this rayon is top notch. I will say that this I think this fabric is much prettier in person. The colors don’t come across quite as vibrant in photos.
To finish off the dress, I found these pretty clear floral buttons in my stash. Oh, and I almost forgot – my other change: I added an additional button, going from three to four. Since I added a button, I also re-spaced them so one would land at the fullest part of my bust. The extra button helps things to keep from gaping open. If you make this dress and don’t want to deal with making buttonholes, you actually don’t need functioning buttons to get in and out of this dress. The top has enough ease to get it over my head without undoing the buttons. So technically, you could sew the button bands closed and add the buttons for decorative purposes only.
To sum it all up, while this dress didn’t knock my socks off like I expected, I actually do really love it. And I think I love it more and more the longer I look at it – let’s be honest, I’m not going anywhere right now to actually wear it! This pattern is quite simple and would be a great choice for a confident beginner who wants to dip their toes into the world of shirtdresses. Although a word of caution to those sewers – once you start making shirtdresses, you may never stop!
Until next time,