The Home Alone Dress

What's that?

What’s that?

I have fifty million things I’m supposed to be doing (like, um, sewing a wedding dress!). So what did I do when my husband and kids left me behind while they went to the lake for the weekend?

Why, I made something that was barely on the queue!

Butterick 6890 is cute and has been marinating for a while, but there are plenty of patterns ahead of it in the queue. But when I found myself with a house to myself and the itch to sew something selfish, I did something a bit unusual—I started from the fabric.


Butterick 6890

My typical MO is to move from pattern to fabric to project. This is mostly because I have my patterns catalogued electronically and it’s easy to paw through them and pick one, whereas I’ve been far more lax about my fabric. The problem with this approach, of course, is that it’s not an optimal way to use up stash fabric, and tends to result in me just buying more fabric for the new project. Anyway, this wasn’t an option on a precious solo Saturday night.

I had a lot of constraining criteria. I wanted a pattern that was pre-cut, one I could use with minimal alterations, and not have to trace. It had to be a pattern I could ACTUALLY find in the flesh. Once I pulled out this piece of glorious polkadot stretch denim, which I picked up just after Christmas and thoughtfully pre-washed at some point (thank you, past Tanit!,) I had only just over a metre of my chosen fabric, so it had to be a SMALL pattern.


Butterick 6890

Butterick 6890 fit the bill in a lot of ways. It was short. It was pre-cut. It’s a Junior Teen size which means I didn’t have to petite the bodice. It was a size 11/12, which has a 32″ bust—a bit small for me, but I was pretty sure the stretch would more than make up for that. I did a small square-shoulders adjustment, and a somewhat bigger swayback adjustment, and got cutting. It became obvious almost immediately that while I can sew up a Junior Petite pattern almost without alterations to the bodice, the Junior Teen size-range is pushing it a bit more. I wound up sewing the shoulder-seams and underbust seam with 1/4″ seam allowances to get as much height as I possibly could. It worked, but barely. I am also, ah, rather bustier than the Junior Teen draft. While this is a nice problem to have for once, I had to add some hasty tucks under the bust (perhaps making proper darts would’ve been better, but I was in a hurry), and correspondingly narrow the front skirt. I also added some more shaping to the back seam, which helped a lot. Oh, and the stretch meant I could leave off the zipper, too!



I still didn’t have enough fabric for the sleeves or facings, and the bodice back includes a good chunk of the selvedge. I considered alternative fabrics for the sleeves, but the only colour I liked enough with the grey, a pale pink, I had barely enough to make the sash ties out of. I really, really wanted to do a piped finish on the neckline and arms anyway. I was SO relieved when a scour of my notions stash turned up the bias tape left over from my Last Sundress of last year (which is totally my fave thing to wear when it’s super hot*, and also the perfect dress to wear to the outdoor pool. ) It was the perfect greyish-pink shade, and even not too different from my sash fabric!


Piped finish

I made one major booboo early on—when trying on the bodice I didn’t stabilize the neckline first—oops! So it’s a bit stretched out and tends to gape if I don’t stand perfectly straight, especially after the disaster that was my first attempt at finishing the edge (which involved attempting to bind it with straight-grain fabric pieces from the scraps from the sash.)  But once I found the bias tape and did a REAL piped edge, it worked really well. To get a clean (if not couture) finish, I serged the raw edges of neckline + piping, pressed them to thei nside, and topstitched. Voila!


Bias-faced hem, hand-stitched

A topstitched hem would probably have been appropriate for denim, but, well, I was in love with the way the pink bias tape worked with the grey. And I’m kinda in love with bias-faced hems… anyway. this is what my finished hem looks like, with a fun peep of pink on the inside.


You can see the underbust tucks in this photo.

I don’t think I can describe how much happier and more relaxed I feel, having accomplished a wee bit of selfish sewing. And I’m so glad I got this finished, even if I did stay up rather past my bedtime to get it done.


Posing. You can see the neckline gape here.

*Super hot by Canadian standards. Which is low 30s C, so far this year. I know this falls short of truly brutal tropical heat. It’s scrumptious.



Filed under Sewing

23 responses to “The Home Alone Dress

  1. Béa

    Woah, that dress is super-cute! Perfect for summer.

  2. OH! I just love the look of this! It’s delightful and summery, and that pink ribbon and bias tape make a world of difference 🙂 yay selfish summer sewing!

    • Yeah, once I hit on the pink and grey combo, there was no going back! Which is too bad because there isn’t a lot of pink in my stash… it worked out in the end, though. 😀

  3. It’s a cute dress! Love the polka dots and the pink trim! You can probably pull that neckline gapping back in if you put a little bit of elastic at the edge.

    And I have those exact same shoes! Hooray for Payless! =)

    • That’s a good thought! We’ll see how it is after the first wash, anyway. It’s not too bad, just not quite as good as it could be.

      AHAHAHA! They’re actually my third pair! 🙂

  4. I’m glad you made something for yourself!!!! It’s really cute. Well done!

  5. What a lovely dress! Isn’t it great to be able to do something “selfish” every now and then?

  6. Gorgeous! I think selfish sewing is definitely necessary to renew enthusiasm reserves – and you are doing so much selfless sewing right no you totally deserve it. Hot sounds lovely, and that green grass and blue sky – I’m totally envious.

    • I rely on hot summers to deal with the cold winters here. By the end of August I aim to be thoroughly tired of the heat—so I will hope for at least a couple of weeks of high thirties or even low forties temps. 🙂 But for the moment I’m sure enjoying what we’re getting (although it keeps raining… good for the crops, not so much for the heat.)

  7. excellent! I’m a big fan of quickie recharge projects in the midst of massive ones. There is something about *finishing* that feels so very very good.

  8. This is too cute! And good on you for squeezing some fun sewing in there!

  9. judy

    THe dress is beautiful. I Love the polka dots and it looks fantastic on you..
    So proud, you let the other things go, and did for you.. yea. Happy sewing and best wishes on the wedding dress..

    • Thanks! I must admit, it’s super fun to wear—the fabric is gorgeously smooth and buttery, almost more like sateen than denim. And the polkadots are too fun, aren’t they?

      Thanks for the well-wishes… I have a feeling I’ll need them. 🙂

  10. This is too cute! I’ve never seen polka dot denim before and now I’m sad about that. I love the grey and pink combination, the pink edges are so gorgeous. This seems like the perfect selfish sewing project to give you a big pick me up!

  11. Adorable! Haha I love your guilty procrastination (totally deserved, in my mind :D).

  12. oooooo cute! and selfish sewing is the best 😀

  13. V. pretty dress–the denim has a nice drape that suits this confection perfectly!
    For inspiration on ’70s stylings, I’ve been watching the tv show “Rhoda.” Love her boho chic + the interior decor.
    PS–temps here 25 – 30 degrees for approx. 3 months! My garden is a jungle…

  14. I am in love with that dress!!!

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