Looking for a Dress … and Nag Me, Please

by Erin on January 20, 2009

I keep thinking about the perfect winter dress. Of course, by "perfect winter dress," I mean "perfect winter dress for me," which is not everyone's perfect winter dress.

For me, a perfect winter dress would:

1. fit nicely under a cardigan sweater, and look cute with colored tights
2. be able to be made in a warm brushed cotton or lightweight wool without looking too goofy
3. accommodate pockets
4. have a raised or empire waistline to accommodate a bit of extra winter weight

I was thinking about Vogue 8469, but I really don't like puffy sleeves. (I suppose I could deflate them without too much trouble.) Here's the line-drawing for it. I'm not showing you the illustration because it is SO CUTE made up in POLKA DOTS that I am afraid it will cloud your judgment. I am also not showing you this version by contrariwise of Pattern Review, because it, too, is WAY TOO CUTE.


Vogue 8469

So — what do you think? Could you see it in a really fine and drapey Liberty babycord? A lightweight brushed wool flannel? A heavy silk? Some Liberty Jubilee, if I ever find any again? It only takes two yards of dress fabric and 5/8ths of a yard of lining, so that's a big plus. If not this dress, what do you think would be a good pattern for a short, layerable, winter dress? (I would make more Duros, but they just don't really work well under cardigans!)

And also: nagging. I feel as if there are a bunch of hanging threads I need to follow up on here, but I can't remember them. Contest winners? Completed projects that need photographing and posting? If you remember, nag me, and I'll see what I can do.

{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

What-I-Found January 20, 2009 at 6:55 am

Will that scoop neck keep you warm? I know, I know there’s a cardigan involved, but my goodness. Or maybe you have a lovely Liberty silk scarf to show off?

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Anonymous January 20, 2009 at 7:04 am

I’ve actually made this dress in a thick knit with a skull and crossbones pattern. I left off the sleeves and the sash and didn’t need a zipper. It came out really cute even with my amateur skills. Plus, I wore a cardigan over it.So I say go for it.

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Myra January 20, 2009 at 7:11 am

What about McCall 5466, the A-line view? They show it in a plaid.http://www.mccallpattern.com/item/M5466.htm??tab=dressespage=5

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MadeByAmanda January 20, 2009 at 7:22 am

Oh, that dress is so cute made up. I know you’ve got the perfect cute fabric for it somewhere, too.I say go for it. Also, you could make the sleeveless version, which would be perfectly compatible with cardigans. If you wanted, a scoop-necked long-sleeve tee could be worn underneath for warmth, too.

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The J January 20, 2009 at 7:47 am

Going through my winter dress files – Vogue 8315 might fit the bill if you raise the waist a little. The Vogue website says its out of print, but still has the page up with the price, so I dont know if you can still get it from them or not:http://www.voguepatterns.com/item/V8315.htm?search=8315page=1No where near as cute as the integer dress – yet ;).

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Lisa Simeone January 20, 2009 at 7:59 am

OBAMANOS!!

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Hazel January 20, 2009 at 8:03 am

I’d personally want something with a higher neckline – and the puffed sleeves might not fit well under a cardigan.My winter favourite is a “bought ready-made” Laura Ashley pinafore dress in a heavy brushed cotton, large flower print with the most gorgeous patch pockets. Bought for a pittance in what I think you call thrift shops in the US. Highly layerable both under and over the bib-front.

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sewducky January 20, 2009 at 8:18 am

You want skants Erin.

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Libby Fife January 20, 2009 at 8:26 am

I like the idea only without the puffy sleeves (bumpy under a cardigan) and no sash but keep the high waistline (again, extra bulk would not help me at this point:)Thanks Again,Libby

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caseykoester January 20, 2009 at 8:35 am

I agree with your hatred of puffy sleeves, Erin. They always just remind me of Marion Davies’ costumes when William Randolph Hearst was picking them out. Puffy sleeves are for little girls.I like your choice of dress because of that lovely sash, but I have another option. I made Simplicity 2848 (flared jumper) in a wide wale corduroy and absolutely adore it. The pattern photos are not very thrilling, so you have to use your imagination. But, it’s great for cardigans and colored tights.

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kristine January 20, 2009 at 8:46 am

LOVE. LOVE LOVE LOVE.

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Ann V. January 20, 2009 at 8:50 am

I tend to make sleeveless so I can wear T-shirts or turtlenecks under my dresses (although I picked up Simplicity 2725 over the weekend because I liked the sleeve options). McCalls 5702 might work for you (I know it looks a little young, but I’m going to try it). Simplicity has a lot of cute dresses suddenly (what about 2846 or 2848?) or the new Tracey Reese Vogue dress – V1086. Also, something with tucks on top might work as well as an empire waist (V8552). I’m done with my Christmas sewing (well almost, there are still some doll dresses in the bag) so maybe I’ll whip something up, too.

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Anonymous January 20, 2009 at 9:02 am

It looks like an Alice in Wonderland dress. Perhaps it’s the puff sleeves. But with longer sleeves…maybe three quarter length?

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Danika Paige Myers January 20, 2009 at 9:09 am

I think this is a great dress to wear with a cardigan! for winter, I might make the sleeve not just un-puffed, but also longer–maybe to just above the elbow.

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Erin January 20, 2009 at 9:11 am

Ann, that new Tracey Reese Vogue dress is *fantastic*! I love it!

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Vegan January 20, 2009 at 9:26 am

Going by the PatternReview.com review in the link, it seems that a babycord might be too heavy to tie the sash into a bow. Maybe the sash/tie could be in a lighter weight fabric.And I agree with de-puffing the sleeves.

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Barbara Prime January 20, 2009 at 9:32 am

Is the skirt of the dress lined? I would think it’s easier to line the skirt so it doesn’t stick to tights, since slips are so hard to find these days. However, would a lining with a heavier warm fabric be too bulky?

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Anonymous January 20, 2009 at 9:49 am

Nag, gentle nag: Forgetting something? How about our latest Secret Lives of Dresses installation? Please? Karen

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Kristen January 20, 2009 at 9:56 am

That dress is too cute for words! I confess a weakness for little puffy sleeves….

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Nola Meme January 20, 2009 at 10:18 am

I do like the dress, but in winter I need long sleeves (or at least 3/4 length) so that they don’t bunch up under at cardigan. Also, I can never pull off the sash with cardigans – too bulky at the midriff. How about this? It seems sort of Duro-ish with long sleeves and no sash….

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Marjie January 20, 2009 at 10:30 am

Mid length, not puffy sleeves would make this a great all season dress. I like the sash. I think definition of waistline is a good thing, even for those of us with kids and age under our waistlines.

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Arby January 20, 2009 at 10:31 am

Am I the only nag? I really want to know if you finished the dress in the post dated July 9, 2008 titled Crowd Sourcing Color Choices. I’m dying to know what color bias trim you ended up choosing.

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Arby January 20, 2009 at 10:32 am

Also, I think the dress choice is great!

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Linda January 20, 2009 at 10:35 am

I made this dress and LOVE it! Make it in cord or wool with a lighter fabric for the sash and sleeveless to wear a lightweight T-neck under it. Funky t-neck with striped tights? Fabulous!

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AuntieShel January 20, 2009 at 10:42 am

I remember that adorable dress, think I even left a comment on it. It’s a lovely shape and would be perfect with a straight sleeve (very doable.) Ah, which fabric?? Any you suggested. Know what I was thinking (dreaming) of today? Wool challis. Does anyone remember that/still make it? Also, I remember a cotton/wool fabric from years ago–it could have been from Liberty, it had a name and I’m too old to remember. It was fabulous.

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Erin January 20, 2009 at 10:44 am

AuntieShel — that cotton/wool fabric is Liberty Jubilee! Every once in a while I can find a vintage piece of it. I think fabricmart had some wool challis. It was really expensive, but looked beautiful.

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Theresa January 20, 2009 at 11:32 am

I agree with Myra and Caseykoaster. I made the Simplicity wiggle jumper in blakc wool. I wear it atleast once a week and get MANY compliments.

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Lavon January 20, 2009 at 12:22 pm

I usually make jumpers. I can have the option of wearing a turtleneck under them when it is really cold or a scoop neck if its warmer. I am not at home otherwise I could tell you the pattern number but I usually make 3 of them and I am good for the whole winter.

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Karen January 20, 2009 at 12:27 pm

What do you think of New Look 6615? Its kind of a fitted duro-ish style, I’ve been planning to make the sleeved version into some fall/winter dresses but haven’t gotten around to it. You’d just have to maybe slim down the sleeves a little to fit under the cardigan. Or from the Burda Style site, the Jonny or Celestina dresses? Those are also on my to-sew list.

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Cookie January 20, 2009 at 1:40 pm

Erin, are you forgetting it’s virtually IMPOSSIBLE to run around pretending to be Sophia Loren or Esmerelda the Gypsy Queen without an off-the-shoulder peasant blouse with puffed sleeves? Hinge 2 tambourines together, festoon with ribbons, add a handle, and you’ve got a nifty accompanying purse.

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harthad January 20, 2009 at 2:38 pm

Has anybody mentioned Simplicity 3673 yet? Nice jumper and retro to boot. I have the pattern but haven’t found the right wool for it yet.

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Erin January 20, 2009 at 3:24 pm

Arby, I chose a pretty buttercup yellow! I will post a picture soon!

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Jean January 20, 2009 at 4:34 pm

So, what about using one of the sleeves off another pattern… hmmm maybe a 3/4 length or long sleeve? I could see it in a baby cord… it would be cute!

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Theresa January 20, 2009 at 7:42 pm

oh harthad –that is the jumper I made! I referenced the wrong one. I used a soft black wool. I wore it just last week.

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Anonymous January 21, 2009 at 2:42 pm

Hi, for your winter dress, how about Simplicity 2754? I made it in wool in the fall for a winter dress with the long cuffed sleeves and cowl neck, and it fits fine under a roomy cardigan. It would be easy to add pockets. http://www.simplicity.com/dv1_v4.cfm?design=2754

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Anonymous January 21, 2009 at 3:34 pm

OK, anyone feel like explaining what a ‘jumper’ in womens clothing is? In Ireland it’s a sweater (a much appreciated piece of clothing at the moment!!). To me, what you are talking about is a pinafore dress, and I’m afraid, like Erin with the puffy sleeves, I find it hard to imagine them looking well on a woman over six years old :). Though I had a look at the patterns mentioned above on patternreview, and they did look quite well… Love this blog, there are so many ideas floating around!!

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Zippy January 21, 2009 at 4:58 pm

What about Simplicity 7633 from the 60s? http://vintagepatterns.wikia.com/wiki/Simplicity_7633

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[MONSTER] January 22, 2009 at 10:58 am

I was thinking slighty longer deflated sleeves too – a heavy -matte- silk would be divine!(I’ll take one in Teal-Green!)

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[MONSTER] January 22, 2009 at 10:59 am

You were right… it is too cute in polka dots. *drool*

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La BellaDonna January 22, 2009 at 3:21 pm

I’d say it would work well in any of the fabrics you mention, with the provision that you might, with the babycord (and even, perhaps, the others) consider either lining the sash in a lightweight coordinated (or contrasting) fabric – or even NOT lining the sash at all, in order to reduce bulk. I have to confess that my concern with the dress/cardigan combination is that I have visions of the dress sleeves jamming up inside the cardigan sleeves – but then, I have big upper arms, and I DO have problems with sleeves jamming. If I can get into them. So I often wear SLEEVELESS dresses, for the very reason Lavon mentions – turtlenecks and long-sleeved T-shirts fit nicely under them, or cardigans fit nicely over them.Anonymous in Ireland: In the U.S., a “jumper” is a sleeveless dress, under which various tops, ranging from turtleneck sweaters to peasant blouses, may be worn. They can be significantly less childish and more sophisticated than “pinafores”, to which they are absolutely related. Take a peek at the Simplicity 3673 pattern; it has two simple dresses, one with a narrow skirt, one with a full skirt, both of which are sleeveless. They can be worn that way when it’s warm, or with a sweater or a blouse underneath when it’s cold. Erin, you may get even more use out of a heavy silk, which is (or can be) more formal than the other fabrics, and a little more trans-seasonal. Babycord, how I love thee … and I love flowered flannel … and patterned corduroy … and Viyella of yore (and mine, too) … *sigh* I miss you all, long-gone fabric stores of my youth …

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the unreliable narrator January 23, 2009 at 11:30 am

Sadly I have no dress pattern advice, but…did you see the vintage Liberty silk up at eVilBay?!?http://cgi.ebay.com/Vintage-silk-floral-fabric-from-Liberty-of-London_W0QQitemZ150322422982QQcmdZViewItemQQptZUS_Fabric?hash=item150322422982_trksid=p3286.c0.m14_trkparms=66%3A2|65%3A16|39%3A1|240%3A1318

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Anonymous January 23, 2009 at 11:38 am

I just found this plaid dress on the Target clearance racks for $6.74, and it has pockets and slight pleats at the belly. It still had the matching skinny belt but I subbed it for a red patent leather one and felt very pulled together. http://www.target.com/Merona-Scoop-Neck-Pleat-Dress/dp/B001F6Z4YK/sr=1-2/qid=1232735385/ref=sr_1_2/187-4368532-4912468?ie=UTF8index=targetfield-browse=1041790rh=k%3Aplaid%20dresspage=1

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jen January 23, 2009 at 6:16 pm

thx for the link, i love this! i think you could make this into a nice winter dress which also be perfect for transitioning into spring.well, for me, i could totally see this in a light weight heather grey wool. maybe a dark blue. maybe some ecru embroidery at the hem a la anthropologie…hmm, might have to get this pattern myself!

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fdw January 24, 2009 at 2:36 pm

I love this style, but my advice is to go by the measurements on the actual pattern as the sizing is a bit odd. Vogues usually fit me perfectly but this one was too big in the bust and too tight on the midriff. I’ll be adjusting it and making the style again, but swapping the puff sleeves for slim 3/4 sleeves with 3 buttons up the sides. Swish!

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jinnan-tonnyx January 28, 2009 at 3:34 pm

I just sent you an email through Butterick’s site (before I read this entry actually) of a dress that may fit your specifications with a little tweaking. And I won the Hot Patterns giveaway a couple months ago, though they may not have sent you the pattern yet.Jenny R.

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Anonymous January 29, 2009 at 5:21 am

La Bella Donna, I’m sorry, I thought I had replied, thank you for that information!Anon in Ireland

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