Pattern: Saturday Night Silk Jersey Set from Weekend Sewing by Heather Ross
Size made: Small
Fabric used: 3 yards (actually, probably closer to 2.5 yards as called for in the pattern–I didn’t measure my leftovers) of a screenprinted cotton t-shirt knit fabric I got from Hancock Fabrics for $3 a yard
Date started: March 29, 2009
Date completed: March 30, 2009
Mods: Substituted fabric; added the pockets from the Trapeze Dress pattern into the side seams of the dress (cut 4 pockets, sew pockets to edges of front and back pieces–right sides together–then when sewing front to back, sew around the edges of the pockets instead of straight down the edge). Since I added the pockets, I didn’t sew French seams for the side seams.
Notes: Verdict: awesome! I love this dress! (not really a dress. A “set.”) I wasn’t even planning to make it–I felt like it was kind of impractical (I prefer dresses you can comfortably wear a bra under) but when I was tracing other patterns and saw this only had 3 pattern pieces, I couldn’t resist trying it out. (Bonus: since it’s sewn with a knit fabric, there is no ironing involved, and hemming is optional.)

It took only an hour or two to make. Really, really easy and fast. If I ever see some silk jersey at a halfway reasonable price, I think I might splurge and make myself another one of these. The cotton knit is fairly drapey but I think it’s still a little stiffer than a silk, rayon, or bamboo fabric would be, especially because of the slight stiffness of the screen printing ink.

The set looks like a Marilynesque halter dress, but is really two pieces: a super-comfy elastic-waist skirt, and a tie-neck halter top with a draped cowl front and long, wraparound waistband ties, so you can wear the two pieces as separates if you so desire. The top is really short–I wouldn’t wear it by itself unless something miraculous happened to my abs–but I’ve already worn the skirt in public separately with a nice brown sweater, leggings, and boots; I rolled the waistband over itself a few times and wore it lower down, since for the set to work properly without a gap between the top and the skirt, the waistband for the skirt needs to sit in old man pants territory, i.e. at the “natural waist”.

The pattern is incredibly easy, and since it’s a stretchy knit fabric, with elastic waist and adjustable ties at the neck and waist, it can be easily adjusted to fit the wearer perfectly.

The front could be immodest, so I need to be a little careful when wearing this–the drape neck dips really low. There’s a ton of fabric in the front there, so it seems to cover everything pretty well, but I do wish the cut of the dress allowed for wearing a camisole or putting in a modesty panel or something. It does seem to fit well around the sides–I’m not concerned about it gaping under the arms.

I sewed all seams with a zigzag stitch, and repurposed the waistband elastic from an ancient, fraying pair of underwear for the waistband of the skirt. I skipped the rolled hem and left the bottom unfinished. If you wanted to make the pattern even easier, and use less fabric, you could probably skip the facings for the front and waist ties, and leave all the edges and seams unfinished.

The waistband instructions were a little confusing, so I’m not sure I sewed the waist elastic on exactly as intended, but it looks and works fine the way it is. The elastic is sewed directly to the fabric, so it’s really easy, no casing or facing to deal with.

Here is how it looks from the back.

Pretty great, right?