I'll admit, the Uptown Downtown Knit Dress from Hot Patterns was nowhere close to being on my radar... until I saw Michelle's version. It looked so comfy and easy - basically the requirements of a perfect weekend dress.
I got the pattern during the holidays, but was a bit unsure of what fabric to use. As luck should have it, I ordered a burgundy "wool sweater knit" from Fashion Fabrics Club during the winter and was expecting a nice sweater knit that I could use to make a wrap cardigan or maybe a dress. However, when it arrived, it resembled a slightly higher end french terry or sweatshirt fleece - something that was also noted by Lindsey T and Amanda S. While it wasn't right for my original sewing plan, I knew that it would be great for this dress.
I kept putting off starting this project because I wanted to muslin the dress first, since this was my first time sewing a pattern from this company and HP doesn't give finished garment measurements. Even after doing a muslin, I still had to make alterations along the way to accomodate the heft of the fabric and my personal preference. I started off with a size 16 in the skirt and after shaving off a ton on the sides, I probably wound up with a size 10 or 12 on bottom. For the bodice, the arms were cut to an 8 and the main bodice was a size 10. I should have cut the sleeves a bit longer, but made up for it with longer wrist bands.
I was lucky that this fabric had lycra in it, so the self-fabric bands behaved well in regards to springing back to their original shape after being stretched to fit the neck and wrist holes. However, the thickness posed a bit of an issue for this novice and cause a few puckers that I eventually gave up trying to work out. Ah well, the one in the front, that is most obvious, I'm just calling a "design feature." ;) I was also annoyed that somehow the elastic at the waist went in a bit wonky (total user error) and there seem to be a few more gathers on one side than the other. Grrrr. Thank goodness this dress really looks best when worn with a belt, as it hides the elastic snafu for the most part.
So, after the list of mistakes and issues, what did I think of the dress? I really like it! It's super comfortable and the wool fabric makes it incredibly warm and cozy when paired with tall boots. I've worn this to run errands on the weekends twice and was as comfortable as if I had been in my pajamas, but I think I looked much better. Ha! I even wore this out today during the downpour we were having in Los Angeles and was thrilled to not have been schlepping around in jeans that would have just gotten soaked within seconds of being outside.
If you're hemming and hawing about making this dress, just do it already! I promise, you'll be very happy with it. :)
* Jim is now insisting on photo credits on the blog. I thought it was pretty obvious that he is my personal photographer, but for the record it is my very sweet (even when he is making fun of me for the hurried photo shoots) husband.
** Yes, my hair is shorter than the last crop of pictures. I went in for a trim and since my hair grows so fast, she thought she'd go a bit shorter than normal so the style would last longer. It's fine, but I think I prefer just going in more often to maintain the shape. Ah well. I figure I'll just have her reshape it a bit when I go back in May and I'll return to the flippy 'do.