Pattern Review: Weekend Doris Dress

I live in Atlanta. Winter is a strange beast here. It’s not terribly cold, but not particularly warm either. You can’t just throw on a cotton dress and bop out of the house with bare legs and a thin cardigan. That only works in south Florida. You need to have winter clothes here but not many. They’re shouldn’t be too heavy either because the number of days it will actually be cold enough to wear that artisanal wool sweater will probably be counted on one hand. My relationship with Atlanta’s winter is compounded by the fact that I’m originally from Chicago. While my blood has considerably thinned, I won’t wear a parka when it’s 50 degrees. I also don’t want to put on tights if I’m just running to Target. Consequently I tend to dress like a frump in the winter. All my winter clothes depress me. Winter also depresses me in general so blah.

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What does this have to do with the Weekend Doris Dress by The Lazy Seamstress? I bought this pattern as part of my 2016 sewing with knits experiment. I thought that I could potentially make a few simple knit dresses to spruce up my detested winter wardrobe. The Weekend Doris calls for medium weight stable knits. Warm and cosy but still a dress. Two birds, one stone.

This pattern is only offered as a pdf. I generally don’t buy the pdf versions of things because I don’t like all the cutting, taping and wasting of paper. I’m lucky in that I was able to ask my husband to print the full scale version of the pattern at his office. That saved me a ton of time. I also purchased the Maude Skirt so he printed them together. While the Maude Skirt printed true to the 10cm x 10cm test square, the Weekend Doris printed a 1/4 inch shallow on all sides of the square. My husband said he printed both patterns at 100 percent. I’m not sure if it was a user or patterning error but definitely double check when you are printing! To compensate I cut one size larger and took a smaller seam allowance. This seemed to seemed to work ok.

weekend doris Dress

Not bad but it doesn’t cut a dashing figure exactly.

95% of my problems with this pattern were due to my fabric. I got a nice deal (weirdo fabric outlet again) on some gray French Terry. The fabric is very nice but it is exceedingly springy and wanted to roll on the cross grain. I tried very hard to not to overly handle the fabric and stretch it but I was not completely successful. I also had problems with my layers slipping. I did the majority of the stitching on my overlocker and used pins but I still had problems. I stitched the pockets on my Bernina with the differential feed engaged. That worked well for the most part. Where I really screwed up was the hem. The pattern suggests using a double needle, which I don’t have at the moment, to execute the very shallow 1/2 cm hem. I opted to overlock the hem and just turn it up with a straight stitch. Well that looked terrible. I turned it up a second time and finished the hem with the same visible hem stitch that I used on Uno’s Liberty sweater. That looks a lot better but even with ironing, the hem is kind of puckery. The neckline looks too open as well. I don’t know if I cut on the wrong line or stretched it too much sewing and with the iron. I’ll know better after the first wearing and wash. Finally, I find the arms to be a bit snug. It’s not a problem really with the gray terry but it would be in a fabric that was less boingy.

weekend doris selfie

You can see the neckline issue here.

I probably made this dress in about 3 1/2 hours. With a less squirrelly fabric I’m sure I could shave at least 30 minutes off of that. The finished product is cute enough although I’m not super duper excited about it. I don’t know if it’s the pattern itself or just the fact that I made a utilitarian garment in a nice but unexciting fabric. Last night I was feeling optimistic at Joann’s, so I bought some more knit fabric. I had originally planned to use it to make another Weekend Doris but I’m going to hold off for the moment. I have a 1970s vintage pattern UFO that I want to finish first. Which ever dress I like the best will get the nice fabric. I’d definitely make Weekend Doris again, but only with fabric scores until I really decide if I like the pattern or not. There’s a shorter sweater version included with the Weekend Doris. Something tells me I might like that better than the dress so I’ll probably give it a go at some point. A friend also suggested that I may like this dress better if I took it in under the arms to below the waist and changed the neckline. She might have something there but I don’t think I’m going to bother with any changes to this make. It is perfectly fine and comfy for running errands in the cold and not feeling like a total frump.

 

 

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