Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Hand-Sewn Accents On An Early Spring Color-block Jersey Dress

I have confession, I felt a bit guilty about sharing this early Spring make.  I see my friends blanketed in snow, making Blackwood Cardigans and Toaster sweaters with no promise of the weather changing for the better. I wondered if it is impolite or bragging even, to bask in the sun with 60 degree temps? I considered waiting to share this until the national forecast improves.

Then my brain kicked in. None of these friends were complaining about the weather! They were not sulking in their cozy beautifully made clothes! They are not policing whether (hahaha!) I, or anyone, is making seasonally appropriate clothes! I totally projected my miserable Midwestern winters onto people! I would resent happy sunshiny clothes if I were freezing, but I can be petty when I am miserable. I am trusting that you reader, are more adult than I and will enjoy this dress regardless of your temperatures. 

I bought the Mccalls 7894  pattern as soon as it was released! I fell in love with the seam lines and saw the potential for color-blocking and hand-sewing in organic cotton jersey.   
I love the wide assortment of colors of jersey available at Nature's Fabric. I am working my way toward using all of them in time. Figuring out the combination of colors to use with this dress was the hardest part.

Laser-cut pattern weights available in my Etsy Store

In the end, I chose Coral (1 yard), Mustard (1.5 yard), Sea Blue (1.5 yards) and Off White (.5 yard).

The pattern is designed for woven fabrics and with a side invisible zipper. I wanted the style of A with the length of B. I made a few simple modifications to adjust it for sewing this jersey fabric.  I sized down to account for the stretch of the fabric and body skimming, but not clinging, ease. In the interest of time, I used my serger for the internal seams reserving hand-sewing for the visible seams. 

Here are the changes I made:
  1. Sew the bodice darts on lining back
  2. Stitch bodice lining front to back at shoulders, press seams open
  3. Using a wide zig-zag stitch, sew clear elastic to the wrong side of fabric along the length of front and back neckline  
  4. Stitch sides together from seam top to bottom ignoring zipper opening  
  5. Repeat steps 1,2 and 4 on bodice front 
  6. Continue construction for view A from step 5 to 22
  7. Sew skirt panels together, ignoring the zipper opening
  8. Using a wide zig-zag stitch, sew clear elastic to the wrong side of fabric along the waistline top 
  9. Continue sewing per pattern instructions
I love the look of hand-sewn stitches and with this color-blocking I could not resist adding them here. I folded the seams to one side and with button and craft thread and a hand-sewing needle, stitched them down. I used a double strand of button and craft thread because of its strength and weight.  I did not apply these stitches to the waistline or neckline because it would reduce the stretch.

Brace yourself, I am giving you a close booty shot next. Not a normal angle for me, but the lines of the blocking work really well in the back.

Because the jersey does not fray, I left it raw to curl in time.  

This turned out exactly as I expected. I am on the fence about how I feel about the sleeves, however. I have a baby face and I am often mistaken for much younger than I am. The gathered sleeve cap and elastic casing with these crayon colors feels a bit "sweet" to me. I may remove the casing  and let them flow loosely. What do you think?

This dress is very comfortable to wear, it is like wearing my favorite t-shirt with a twist. I am thrilled with this final color combination and see the potential for another, maybe in maxi length, on the horizon.

Happy Sewing,


  1. I love this so much! Great colors, great photos. I think taking the casing off the sleeve would be incredibly elegant, but also looks like it might be in the get-into-everything length and size domain.

    1. Thanks so much! You are right that length with the volume may be too much.

  2. Love this dress, great colors and style! Come on spring weather!

    1. Thanks so much! It got cold again after I took the photos!!!

  3. Sorry but I didn't think cutesy or sweet when looking at this dress. I don't think you need to remove the casings because they work well with this style. Love the dress and you making spring dresses gives me hope that spring will show up here eventually...even if we are predicted to get 6+" of snow tomorrow! LOL!

    1. Thanks Carolyn! I never know with fun playful colors. I think I will modify the sleeves on the next one and see how I like it! So much snow for you!!!! Stay warm and cozy. Think Springy thoughts!

  4. Those of us still experiencing snow and sleet( even as I type this) need this shot of color in our lives. Thank you. Love it!!!

  5. I'm happy I popped over here from McCall's and Simplicity group to discover your lovely blog! KM

  6. I actually like the sleeves. I feel like they might mirror the shape of the dress too much if you took the elastic out? In any case, it's lovely, and the color lifts my spirits 😁

  7. Hi! Amazing dress ��! I bought the pattern pieces as a first time sewer and the bodice has been taking me two days ��. How did you attach the lining to the bodice and then understitch? Appreciate any help!

    1. Hi Aya, have you figured it out yet? The understitching does not go completely around. You just stitch as far as you can.