Free Pattern Review: Drapey Knit Dress from Sew Magazine

TL; DR – Transfer each and every pattern marking onto the fabric, the fabric you choose matters, and pay attention to your finishes, even if you are tired and frustrated and just want to be done with it.

The Drapey Knit Dress turned up in many of my “best free dress patterns” searches, and I fell in love with the shape, the neckline, and the pockets. The color helped, too. It’s a free pattern WITH FREE INSTRUCTIONS from Sew Magazine’s series on The Great British Sewing Bee show. I didn’t find this tutorial until after the fact so I was going on just the written instructions and illustrations.

And, boy, did I fuck this one up somehow.

It was probably that I didn’t mark the fabric properly with the pattern markings, that are important because the tell you where to line pieces up. I’m all like, nah, I don’t need to do that, because it’ll make sense intuitively. READER IT DID NOT MAKE SENSE INTUITIVELY. I had a hole in the side of my dress everything was so misaligned and my pocket pouches did not line up on one side leading to me I having to to hand-stitch it all together in a bunch so I had a) a pocket and b) a closed dress.

I also chose a fabric that was a little too drapey. It could have benefited from a sturdier knit than the one I chose. Also, since it is the pandemic, I’m buying all of my fabric online and am going largely by guessing at this point. It’s a knit? I like the color? OK SOLD! I also (once again) would make it a size smaller if I were to make it again, which I kinda do, to be honest. I still love the neckline (BUT STILL HATE NECK FACING), and wish I could have sized it a little better, but I’ll know for next time.

There were no catastrophic sewing injuries this time around, although while I was sewing the neck facing, the fabric would bunch up and slide it was so fine, so I ended up with holes in my collar finishing. I mostly hand-stitched that to close them up, but was still frustrated that they happened at all. All I wanted to do was be done with this “simple” dress and that lead to sloppy mistakes.

Story of my life.

Look, all these “simple” dresses are simple if a) you know what you’re doing and b) have a perfectly tuned machine. I am neither of those things…yet. I kept thinking, though, that it should only take one afternoon to sew the thing together (having already spent another afternoon or two assembling the pattern, cutting the pattern pieces, and then cutting the fabric). But this doesn’t take into consideration messed-up stitches that need to be torn out and re-done, which happened a lot on this one, in part because I was using the wrong needle and because the tension was wrong (and, looking back, that I still hadn’t threaded the machine properly).

But by the time I get to the end of these simple tasks that I think should only take an afternoon, I get frustrated, exhausted, and stubborn. So fucking stubborn. And so I force things, like a neck facing that I should have taken my time on but didn’t. I kinda learned this lesson, but not really. I probably won’t for a while.

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