My Favorite Dress Pattern

Welcome to my blog! I am a fifty-something lady who likes to sew.  I’m not a quilter. I actually enjoy making clothes, so that’s what this blog will be about.

Years ago, I taught in a private school that required a certain level of dressiness in what teachers wore. I found a perfect dress pattern that I made up in so many fabrics that it’s hard to remember how many I made. 

The pattern comes in a plain or darted front. I used the darted front in the longer length version. I used to call this my $3 dress, because I made the dress a couple of times from double knit fabric I found at Walmart for $1 per yard. I only needed 3 yards of the fabric, there were no notions purchased, and I used thread and pattern that I already had. A few dresses were embellished. One dress had contrasting piping around the neckline.

Fabrics: double knit, dress weights in polyester and polyester/rayon blends

Things I changed
  • Sewed the back seam from bottom to top—no neck slit at top of back and no walking slit
  • Lengthened the short sleeve about an inch—a little more covering for aging arms
  • Added 2 inches to width at hem, evenly distributed at side and back seams—to accommodate walking since walking slit was removed
  • At my chubbiest, I added to the size 24 pattern and made a plus-sized dress
  • At my skinniest, I was down to a size 10 but still had to add a little to the bust area and dropped the dart about 1 inch--it's that aging body again--and taller than average height
  • I made this pattern twice as a top and skirt set in double knit by cutting the bodice off a few inches below the waist and hemming it. Then I used the skirt part of the dress as a guide for a quick skirt with cased, elasticized waist.
The back neck has a small slit opening that fastens with a hook or button and loop; however, I usually just sewed up the slit and pulled the dress on over my head. The neckline is just big enough to slip over the wearer’s head. The front neckline is higher than a scoop neck, which is really nice when you’re bent over a student’s desk!

Try this pattern and see what you think. It's great for beginners, but experienced sewers can have a lot of fun with it, too. 


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  2. Paula,

    Try McCall's 5974. It's a Palmer-Pletsch pattern, and Patti Palmer is good about making her patterns easy to alter. This dress has a wrap-top option connected to a drapey skirt that should skim nicely over fuller hips. Also, you might sign up for Palmer-Pletsch's free e-Magazine at She usually has some good comments about new patterns, including fitting and alteration tips.

    My favorite--and easy to understand--fitting book is Fast Fit by Sandra Betzina. It's on Amazon for just a few dollars. Well worth the money.

    Let me know how things go.