Alcatraz Dress

by Erin on June 13, 2012

So this pattern:
McCalls 3528

 

Turned into this:
Alcatraz Dress

(For this picture I dragooned my husband into taking it. He’s easier to persuade to take pictures, but the pictures aren’t as good because — insert “awwww” here — he thinks I look good in every picture, and so is not motivated to take a lot of them. Thus the weird expression and weirder hair in this one.)

I made the sleeveless version, which right now in the office is showing off what, in my childhood in the south, we called a “farmer’s tan.” The Keds are gray, the belt is a super-cheap one from Amazon, I’m wearing my default Swatch, and the sweater is a J.Crew “Jackie” cardigan. The cardigan is my favorite part, since the gray of the sweater and the gray of the dress stripe are EXACTLY the same — that’s so hard with grays!

The fabric is (I’m pretty sure) from last year sometime … I thought I had a picture of it, but perhaps at the time I didn’t think it would need one. It’s a charcoal gray and just-barely-off-white stripe. It’s shirting, and heavy for shirting but light for cotton, which is why I decided to attempt this dress in it. As you may have seen in the pattern illo, the skirt is BOTH pleated and gathered. Crazy! (It’s like that moment of revelation I had — I must have been about seven — when I realized that you could totally put BOTH caramel and hot fudge on a sundae.) It was a little more difficult to gather than I thought; the bulk of the pleats (you have to pleat first, then gather) plus the resistance from the tightly-woven cotton conspired a bit. I ended up having to run separate gathering threads for each of the four skirt panels (there’s a center front and a center back seam, lost in all those stripes).

The stripes on the bodice match exactly, or close enough. (I ripped it out twice before I got to “close enough.”) The pattern calls for something like five yards of 45″; I think I got away with 4 of 54″, helped by making the sleeveless version, shortening the bodice by about an inch, and cutting five inches off the bottom of the skirt (it was super, super long). I also discarded the armhole facings in favor of bias tape; the neck is self-faced. I added pockets. (Do I even have to add “I added pockets” anymore, or is that a given?)

Oddly enough, this is actually a little big on me. (I made the 36 bust.) I love it, though, so I’m going to look for a similar dress (maybe with a leeeeetle less skirt?) in a B34, to make in a stripey seersucker. Links appreciated. :-)

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