Free Pattern Review: Mal Dress from Mood Fabrics for #sewfrugal22

TL; DR – I still don’t get sleeves.

As soon as I saw this free pattern drop on the Mood Sewciety blog, I knew I had to make the dress, and I knew I was going to use this Nerida Hansen fabric. The Mal dress isn’t zero-waste, but it is minimal waste, which I would have accomplished better had I actually paid any attention to the directions. Still, less waste than other patterns, so yay!

The pattern is super-simple, even has pockets, but MAN, do I ever not understand sleeves. First off, I didn’t properly read the instructions (that comes up a lot) and didn’t cut enough sleeve pieces. Usually, you only need to cut one mirrored pair of sleeve pieces, but in this case, I had to cut TWO pairs, as each sleeve had two pieces. I only figured that out when I kept trying to fold the sleeve piece in half like one usually does to make sleeves and it wasn’t working.

And then, oh and then, I was stumped by the directions that told me to sew a gathering stitch between the notches. But there was only one notch. I looked at the pattern again to make sure I didn’t miss a notch (which, I’ve done, because I don’t follow directions). I stared and stared and stared at the sleeve, absolutely STUMPED and FRUSTRATED by the fact that there was only one fucking notch.

One goddamn notch.

I walked away, drove my daughter to ballet, and on the drive home, it FINALLY it hit me. THERE WERE IN FACT TWO NOTCHES!


And then I sewed one of the sleeves on inside out because I really apparently don’t get sleeves.

But those are “me” problems, not problems with the pattern. I also added a piece of elastic in the back at the bottom of the bodice to give it a little more shape, it worked like a charm, and then I went back and did that to ALL my dresses that I just made that don’t have any bodice darts to give the waist some shape.

I feel so floofy in this dress. In a really good way.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Kate says:

    Oh God you sound like me
    I’ve got the pattern downloaded sticky taped and cut out ready to go and I’m a person who also doesn’t follow instructions, I was hoping for a video step by step tutorial on You tube I’m not looking forward to having to use my brain this hard especially as a beginner sewer.
    Thanks for the heads up

    1. readywriting says:

      The hardest part really was the sleeves and I covered that part lol. If you’ve never done a gather before just look for a video tutorial for that part. Everything else was pretty straightforward. Good luck!

  2. Sarah says:

    I don’t think is a you problem! I found you Googling reviews/HELP for this pattern. I’m not a beginner sewer, but also not a professional/expert. These might be the worst directions I’ve ever come across. It IS free so I feel a bit bad complaining, but every step seemed worse/more hazy than the last. The directions for the pockets? So confusing. “place the pocket from the top and mark the bottom.” Top of? Bottom of? No notches like I’m used to for pockets. Thank you so much for the levity. I needed this. Your dress looks lovely!

    1. readywriting says:

      If you can’t laugh, then all you can do is cry (which I have also done). Glad this helped make you laugh!

  3. Lisa M Hess says:

    Finally! Got around to making this. It’s been cut out since last year. Put it on and my gosh, I can’t fit myself. Ugh. But then I saw your post, and Your shoulders are the same, so it must just be the way its fit, I wish they would put their dresses on a person to see the fit. But it is a great comfy dress. I made mine from double gauze as a swim cover-up. Thanks for your fun review.! And mentioning the sleeves, as I was also confused., but overall, an easy sew. 🙂

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