Lessons Learned: My California Dress That Almost Wasn’t

When I got this floral from Girl Charlee’s April KnitFix, I knew it needed to be a California Dress. But it sat staring at me from my stash for several weeks because 2 yards is not quite enough for my typical maxi, and I wanted it for me rather than for one of my daughters. I finally decided it WAS going to be a California Dress … just not my usual floor-sweeping length!

I folded my fabric and quickly cut out two scoop neck bodices to below-knee length. As I pulled the cut scraps from around the edges, I realized I’d folded my knit with the stretch going the wrong direction … womp, womp, womp! Frustrated with myself for not double-checking, I threw the pieces across the room and went to bed.

This morning I woke up in a more optimistic mood and decided to stitch it together with a scant 1/4″ seam allowance rather than the included 3/8″ and see if it might fit, despite the lack of stretch. I figured that if it didn’t I could cut it down to one of my girls’ size, but was elated to find that it worked! It is a bit snugger than the pattern intended, but not terribly tight. Whew! I will definitely will be double-checking the stretch direction next time, though!


Crisis averted, I finished the neckline and armholes and decided that while I was sewing up a hem length that I hadn’t done before, I’d go ahead and add in the elastic waistline option, too. I moved the elastic line up to empire waist to accentuate closer to my natural waist and I like how it feels a bit more casual than adding a belt like I usually do. After putting in the waistline, I used my serger to roll-hem the bottom, taking off just a little of the length so that it hit at my knee rather than below.

P1050596   P1050585

It is so comfortable and cool! I see this sundress getting lots of everyday use this summer! I am so glad that I woke up in a better mood and gave it a try! I definitely learned my lesson to double-check the stretch before cutting, though. However, now, I’m toying with the idea of trying the California Dress in a lightweight, drapey woven … I’ll keep you posted if I do!

Happy Sewing!!  ~  Joelle

3 Responses

  1. Shika
    | Reply

    I have been following you via websie and facebook GC group. I love what you sewed. I am heavy chested (40) and narrow shoulders. How would you accomadate with patterns? Do you/have you used a muslin? I have yet to make something for myself that fit correctly everywhere. I.e. Fits at the bust, but the waist is too tight or it makes me look pregnant, fits at the waist and hips and there is gapping at arms and bust… Thanks a bunch

    • kymy
      | Reply

      Shika what you need is a Full Bust Adjustment. A full bust adjustment is when you bust is larger then average for your frame size. Even though Joelle is plus size and I am a misses we both have larger busts then frames. There are some knit patterns that work well, especially stuff that is meant to stretch to fit. I started an All About the Bust series but the end of the school year has been nuts. I WILL be finishing it up over the next few weeks and I think it would have just what you need!

  2. […] last month when I accidentally cut my California Dress with the stretch going the wrong direction? Though it […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Guests are limited to images that are no larger than 250KB, and to only jpeg, png, gif file types.