I made this plain grey knit dress to fill a wardrobe gap. It’s the Knot Your Average Shirt & Dress pattern from 5 out of 4 Patterns, originally chosen because it’s one of the very few knit dresses out there with (optional) concealed nursing access – in fact, the company offer a range of patterns suitable for nursing, so are well worth taking a look at if you’re expecting. Admittedly, that’s not really an issue for me any more, but the dress is still perfectly wearable even when not needing quick boob access 😉
The pattern comes with markings for dress length or shirt length, and with long or short sleeves, with additional instructions for making it sleeveless. There are also optional adaptations for nursing and maternity versions.
Knot Your Average Shirt & Dress pattern from 5 out of 4 Patterns. I made the dress option, without sleeves and with the breastfeeding bodice adaptions. I cut a size M based on my measurements at the time.
Charcoal Grey Solid Cotton Spandex Knit Fabric from Girl Charlee UK. It’s exactly as described on the site: good four way stretch and recovery, and a nice medium weight that makes it much easier to handle than the more slinky jerseys they carry. I’m not convinced it’s really dark enough to be called charcoal, though. More of a mid-grey, to my mind. Bought 2m and used 1.4m (1.53 yards) The pattern said it would use 2.25 yards, although that was with short sleeves. There aren’t any guidelines for fabric requirements for sleeveless versions.
Changes I made:
- None! Wow, look at me, following all the instructions properly for a change 😉
- Just for reference, I went with the bound armhole version, and I think I kept the length as stated, although I possibly might have hacked some off. I often do…
What went wrong:
I should have paid more attention to the file instructions, as it’s in layers and I could have printed just my size. However, at least I can now cut down the pattern pieces to a XS/S (I’m somewhere between the two now)
I think I should have have been more careful in choosing my size, as the bust area has way too much fabric. I know I’ve lost a bit up top while losing weight (sniffles), but even at my fullest this was too much. I feel like my breasts are those of a Greek goddess with all those fabric folds. Okay, that doesn’t sound too bad really, but they need adjusting and rearranging to look good, which is a pain. I think the non-nursing option would have been much better in the bust, as there is less fabric there (you cut along a different line), and I will choose this in any future versions.
The other thing that might be causing some of the bust folding issue is the way I’ve attached the upper bodice to front at the sides. The instructions suggest you try it on, and gather the bodice sides to the degree you want. I think I gathered them too much. Maybe they don’t need gathers at all? I think the dress would look better with the bodice joined at a lower point.
The other thing I’m not convinced about is the need for the nursing access slit. The under bodice has such a wide, low neckline that in this stretch fabric it can easily be pushed out of the way for access. Perhaps that might not be the case for those who are bigger on top, or using a less stretchy fabric, however.
Overall the dress is now too big for me, and that’s why there are gathering folds under the bust. Not the best look, but it’s not bad enough to make me want to do anything drastic like take it in. I can live with it.
What went well:
This was a really simple to construct dress, and the pattern instructions are very clear and comprehensive, with lots of different options given for things like finishing the armholes, along with maternity adaptations. I love the finished dress, despite it being just a little too large–I think I can still get away with it. It’s a great dress for everyday, but can be styled up for going out too. Here it is in action at the park:
And here’s a pic of it all styled up for Me Made May. Gotta love what you can do with a basic garment like this!
I also think the design for discreet nursing access is a good one. Here’s a pic of the inside of the dress, so you can see what’s involved:
The slits are covered up on the outside by the bodice, which pulls up for access. I was a little concerned that the bottom of the slits might show and cause a wardrobe malfunction in public, but this hasn’t yet happened and I’ve worn this dress loads.
Will I make it again?
Yes, very probably. I’d like to have a go at the standard, non-nursing version at some point, both dress and top. Possibly with sleeves, although TBH, I get more use out of sleeveless things as I wear them year round with cardigans.
I’ve decided to add this as I’m now into using my Stylebook app, and one of its more interesting features calculates a cost per wear for each item of clothing–provided you enter in an original price for it. I’m fascinated to see which of my makes and purchases work out the best value for money.
Pattern: $9.95, which at pre-Brexit conversion rates was something like £6.60. I’m not checking back through all my bank statements to find out exactly, though. #lazyblogger
Fabric: £8.95 per metre, but bought on sale (20% off, I seem to remember). Used 1.4m, so approximately £10.00
Notions: £1.50 ish for thread #accuracyisoverrated
I already had the elastic so I’m not counting this.
Total cost: £18.00 (yeah, it’s £18.10, but I’d rather go with a round figure)
And to finish things off, the worst of the photos: