Monday, September 7, 2015

Sewing Indie Month: the Walkley Dress

Having just finished a stressful week at work and an involved sewing project, I was ready for a no-fail sewing project. You know, a creative version of a digestif, to help decompress after a heavy (mental) meal. Enter the Walkley Dress (or should I say in walks the Walkley Dress...) and its promise of three main construction seams and just a handful of finishing seams! Perfect for a palate cleanser.

The Walkley is part of Pattern Bundle #2 for Sewing Indie Month, which is a great way to get a bunch of new popular patterns for an amazingly low price! (If you think I sound like a used car salesman, that's fine because I am actually a huge proponent of used cars. My family never bought new cars while I was growing up, and still doesn't, and they've all been good to us, so frankly I'm not really bothered by that comparison. Besides, teaching is like being a used car salesman everyday: "See this chemistry? It's excellent! You will like it so much if you give it a chance! I know chemistry don't sound super exciting but I promise you, chemistry is SO important in your life! If you learn this chemistry now, you'll get good grades AND a bonus teacher rec letter for college apps!" Wow, that was a lot longer aside than I expected it to be.) These are the patterns included in this bundle:

I've had my eye on the Nettie bodysuit all summer (t-shirts that just keep riding up when tucked into skirts are a big pet peeve of mine), my pre-pregnancy bathing suit could definitely use a Nautilus replacement, and the Jasper sweater dress would be perfect with leggings come fall (which won't happen for another two months here in CA; please don't shoot me). Those are a little more involved than I want, though, plus I would have to track down appropriate fabric, so I figured I'd try out one of the less well-known patterns, the Walkley Dress. Actually, as far as I can tell the only versions out there are the original photos that come with the pattern. It's always interesting to test a new pattern, and more so if nobody else seems to have, but thankfully there's not too much potential to go wrong with a t-shirt dress! 

Having just made a knit dress with the fold-over method of finishing, you'd think I'd had enough of that questionableness. But! The Walkley has actually planned for this finish and adjusted the pattern piece accordingly, so there's no trying to get a too-small circumference to play nicely with the larger rest of the garment. I love it when designers are thoughtful like that! 

I made version #1 in an acrylic with spandex sweater knit from the remnants bin at Jo-Ann's, hemmed to be tunic-length to go with leggings and tall boots. Because it was a 4-way stretch fabric, I ended up taking up the armhole and curving in the side seams at the waist to get the fit I wanted. I didn't take pictures of the original cut, but it just looked a size too big because of how the weight of the fabric pulled it down. I thought I was getting ahead of the game when I corrected my pattern piece, but I ended up regretting it when I made up version #2 in a significantly less stretchy knit. I knew these remnants from the previous knit outfit were less forgiving, but somehow I wasn't thinking straight and made it up with the same corrections, which yielded not a body-skimming, semi-fitted comfy dress, but a gotta-suck-in-my-stomach almost body-con type fit. Oops. Oh well, at least they were just remnants, and I do like the nautical look. Lesson learned, always think carefully about fabric choice!

SHB wanted in on the photoshoot. He's in the middle of a clingy phase so if he's awake, he wants to be touching me.
Thankfully, babies make good accessories.
They also like playing with your accessories.
This is the only photo I have of the back.

Fabric: 1 yard of acrylic with lycra sweater knit with a faint bronze pattern; see previous dress for the stripey dress fabric info
Notions: None! So simple. Love.
Hours: 2 for the first one to cut and assemble pattern, play around with serger settings, and correct the pattern, then 1 for the second one 
Total cost: $5 for the sweater knit (yay for 50% off remnants!), probably less than $2 for the other
Will you make it again? I'd like to try more adventurous slicing of the pattern, but that's dependent on getting more knit fabric. Given my current theoretical attempts to stashbust, probably not for a while.
Final thoughts: This very basic t-shirt dress is one I could have figured out on my own, but sometimes it's just nice to have somebody else figure it out for you, you know? Also, I'm kind of in love with the boat neck right now, as most of my previous makes are scooped/V-neck. This is a problem because SHB has figured out where milk comes from, so if my shirts are low enough in front, he'll try to reach his hand down and help himself, only to get upset when my boob doesn't come up and out like some kind of extendable hose with a milk nozzle. I'm sorry, is that TMI? At any rate, he doesn't try if my neckline is super high, so boat neck = win.

Outtakes from the photoshoot: SHB likes trying to dive out of my arms. We've had some close calls.

If you'd like to make your own grabby-SHB-proof Walkley (or, you know, other patterns), the bundle is on sale until Thursday! At $3.80 per pattern, it's pretty much the only time you'd get indie patterns for Jo-Ann's sale prices. Even better, 20% of the proceeds go to Women for Women, a charity dedicated to helping women who are affected by war and conflict. There's also a bunch of pretty great prizes for sewing up these patterns to participate in Sewing Indie Month

For more Sewing Indie Month bloggers and their makes from this bundle, check out:

He's crawling so fast now! He loves all electronic things so when he realized the camera was the one making all the beeping noises, he made a sprint for it.
Oh hai, I can haz camera?

[Disclaimer: Mari invited me to help promote Sewing Indie Month and its associated pattern sales. I received the patterns for free; all opinions are my own.]


  1. I always add those little wing thingies if I'm doing a turn and stitch! Do not understand why anyone would try that method without. Both are really cute, too bad the second one ended up too tight... hate it when I do that! And I've totally been there with the baby who thinks milk access is self-serve. :)

  2. Oh, love these two! You've got the sizing down and they both look good on you, even the one that you feel is too tight. It is nice to have a quick, palate-cleansing project from time to time :)

  3. Love these! I think I'll go tighter on the next one too. I used the same words, palate cleanser, it really is perfect for that.

  4. These dressed look really great on you and look comfortable to boot.

  5. Ohmygosh, those SHB pics! Especially the ones where he's going for the camera. Too cute. It really is amazing how much the fabric choice affects the outcome of the exact same pattern, isn't it? They both look good in the photos, so hopefully you'll find a way to make the nautical one a little more comfortable to wear.

  6. He is the CUTEST!!! Those dresses are super cute too! Very nice! Glad you are able to sew now!

  7. They look very nice on you! Sometimes the simplest things are the best.
    PS: your little boy is adorable!

  8. I love the neckline and cap sleeves!
    (My friend calls that patented baby move the 'baby suicide lunge'. =D )

  9. You look so good in cap sleeves, that black dress is just gorgeous. And SHB is incredibly cute.
    Your comment about being a chemistry teacher being like a used car salesman made me literally laugh out loud :)


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