Thursday, September 26, 2013

My Version of the Alabama Full Dress

Don't you just love this dress!


The multiple seam lines, the fitted bodice and flared skirt. I love the denim color of the jersey cotton. What I do not love is the price. It is a whooping $955! Well worth the time and effort I am sure, but as a friend said,  "Where are you going to wear a $1000 dress?" My answer was simple, "Kroger!" Who cares where I am going to wear it? It is gorgeous and I would rather have it and not need it, than not have it need it, right?

While I am not in a position to buy this dress, I have do have the tools to make it. I found McCalls 6504 which seems like a fair match. I am still working on entries for the Pattern Review Mini Wardrobe Contest, so I thought this dress would work as my dress component. I want this to coordinate with my other pieces so I am making it using black cotton jersey.
I began stitching the front of the dress following the pattern instructions to match the correct pieces together. This part required some planning on felling the seams. The seams needed to be stitched wrong sides together, then top stitched with the seams felled to the sides of the body.  I did not want my knots exposed so I focused on beginning and ending my threads on the sides that would be felled.
Knot ends to be hidden by the felling of the seam.
 After stitching the front together I trimmed the seam allowance down to about 1/4 inch. I repeated this for the back and pinned it to my dress form.

Trimming seams

After pinning, I see it is too big in the sides so I increased the seam allowance in the sides.

Increasing the seam allowance.

Still too big
Not fitted enough
Even after increasing the seam allowance if felt so frumpy. It was not giving me the look I wanted. I decided to cut the middle front piece in half to add a seam and pull it in even more. That turned into a disaster! When I felled the seam, the symmetry was uneven and it looked awful! What to do, what to do....? I decided to remove the middle front seam all together and it proved to be a great solution.

Once I was comfortable with the fit, it was time for the finishing touches. I added bias binding to the neck and armholes and bound it with a herringbone stitch. I also added a border of grey jersey to the bottom of the dress. I am 5'8 and felt the length was too short for my liking. 

I am glad I did not use my denim jersey to figure this one out. With all of the adjustments I had to make on this dress I would have stressed to much. That said, I am very pleased with this end result.

Contrast border

I am excited to make my replica of the Alabama Chanin Full dress in denim when I get some time. In the meantime, I would love to know what you think of this one.

Happy Sewing,


  1. Love how you adapted a pattern to the way you effects!

    1. This is amazing! Thank you for sharing the details. I love how it turned out. And I'm wondering if you use a special kind of thread?

  2. Thanks KarlaB! This dress was stitched using Coats and Clark button and craft thread. It is with the regular threads at the fabric store in a short spool.