Hi Melly Sews readers, this is Fleurine from Sew Mariefleur. This month’s theme is “Imaginative” and today I want to show you my Catalina dress and write a little about how easy it is to modify this pattern to end up with the perfect dress for you. I’m usually not much of a pattern hacker, so coming up with these modifications feels pretty imaginative for someone like me.
For a long time I’ve been wanting to make a maxi Catalina dress, especially since I love the cap sleeves. When I stumbled over this pretty knit from LA Finch Fabrics, I knew at once that I needed to make a Catalina dress out of it!
First of all I raised the neckline a little bit – a higher and less round neckline just seemed to work better with this elegant maxi dress. I wanted to keep the dress as simple as possible to give all the attention to the fabric – that’s why I decided to omit the pockets and to cut the top and the bottom as one piece. So this dress just consists of one front piece and one back piece – it doesn’t get much easier than this, does it?
The fabric is slightly see-through, so I needed to line it. I used a stretchy thin rayon knit as lining. Since the dress is basically made of two rectangular pieces below the sleeves, I just cut one big rectangle, the same width as the finished dress, plus seam allowance. I sewed a black tube and sewed it to the inside of my outer fabric, starting just below the armholes. This means that my dress is lined from just above my bust to about mid-thigh. The fabric isn’t that see-through, so you can’t see the difference easily, but believe me – without a lining it would have been a pretty daring dress.
Because of the lining, adding the elastic casing wasn’t a problem: I just sewed two rows of stitches through both layers of fabric where my waist is, leaving a little hole in one row. I think I could have sewn the casing a little bit lower, it’s a tiny bit higher than my actual waist, but it doesn’t really matter. I then inserted a black elastic and closed the hole. That’s it!
In the end I hemmed the neckline and the sleeves with a black jersey binding, turned to the inside. The hem of the dress is a tiny double turned hem.
This was one of the easiest dresses I have ever made and I absolutely love the result. The neckline and the cap-sleeves make me feel incredibly elegant, and since the fabric is so stretchy it’s still possible to walk easily.
This won’t be my last Catalina dress!