Monday, September 02, 2013

Carpool dress

After seeing Rae's recent maxi-dress, I was reminded that I had an unfinished item glaring at me in my sewing room, with fabric purchased from way back when she first posted about this great striped knit.
I'm calling this my Carpool Dress, since it's a comfy yet ladylike dress that one might wear if one carpooled. Which we actually don't, because our station wagon doesn't fit three carseats/boosters across the back.  Oops. Should have checked that out when we bought it!
Apologies for the wrinkles.  I took the photos after a full day of life with kids, including a nap with the toddler, bike ride to the cafe, cooking dinner (recipe from this fab cookbook) and bath time.  But hey, I can still look half-way decent after doing all that stuff, so this dress is a winner!
My original incarnation had a dirndl-style gathered skirt, which was poorly attached and in all other ways unattractive.  (Gah!  I always forget to take photos of stuff that doesn't work.  Next time!)  I had drafted the bodice and spent some time fitting it so I was loathe to just throw in the towel when the skirt failed.  And so it sat on my pile of fabric until I needed a reason to procrastinate [from working on the pants]. After cutting off the other skirt, I used the skirt pieces from this dress, placing the center front on the fold and adding my standard pockets.
The back was a little more unfitted than I prefer, so I zig-zagged in some elastic and then added a self-fabric belt.  The belt is stitched down at the sides so I don't have to fiddle with it all day.
One thing I absolutely love about this dress (other than it feels like I'm wearing a nightgown) is that the top is lined!
The bodice was cut in both outer and lining fabric and the shoulder seams were sewn for both. Then, I attached outer to lining at the neckline, stitching all the way around.  I flipped them the correct way, pressed to keep them in place and sewed the rest of bodice (sleeves and side seams) as if it were a single piece of fabric (I may have finished the edges to keep them together (forgive my memory, it's been a while!)).
With the lining sewn this way, the neckline is super clean and the bodice has slightly more structure.
This is a darn unattractive view, but it shows how it all looks on the inside.  The bodice lining is swimsuit lining fabric, which worked beautifully--stretchy and lightweight.  The pockets were made from a different type of swimsuit lining fabric (using scraps for both), and that fabric is more slippery, which works great for pockets.  I used clear elastic at the shoulders and the front seam of the pockets, to keep the shape in those areas.
The hem and sleeves are finished with my coverstitch machine.  
Let's recap: pockets, stripes, knit fabric, non-clingy shape and I can ride my bike while wearing it. Yeah, that's pretty much a perfect garment in my book!    Just FYI, I think the "Lady Skater" dress would be the way to go if you want to the same dress shape :)


  1. Love this! You look great and its well worth finishing.

  2. Nicole...I love it! I never would have thought to line the bodice. It gives the inside such a neat and clean finish. I definitely am putting this one on my to make pile!

  3. Genius with the details of using swimsuit lining and sewing down the belt at the side seams.

  4. Stunning! Great tip about using swimsuit lining. And, I love the idea of sewing the side to the belt, I had the dreaded "belt sag".

  5. Thank you for showing us the inside. I always wonder about it but no one wants to show it. Great job and beautiful dress

  6. It looks gorgeous, even the inside :)

  7. I love this! Your striped fabric paired with that adorable pattern is very, "Kate Spade". It's a beautiful dress.