I recently finished a long-awaited project using this beautiful Spanish printed cotton I’d been holding onto for a year. I’ve been to Spain a few times, by virtue of my parents currently living only a short flight away, and one of my favorite discoveries in Madrid is that there is still a general enthusiasm for the homemade that I don’t often see in the other places I’ve been.
But this is a review of a pattern, not a country, so with a quick shout-out to the helpful worker at Almacén de Pontejos who took the time to find the perfect thread and notions for me, let’s get started!
The fabric is a very pretty 3-color print on a plain cotton weave, and from the moment I saw it I knew I wanted a full-skirted dress out of it. It came in the 60-inch width and I bought 3 meters of it, though I didn’t know exactly which pattern I would use with it (or if I would create my own). When I finally got around to planning the dress, I considered McCall’s 7086 (view A) until I realized that I was 60 centimeters short, and even if I did the narrow-skirted version I would have 80 centimeters go to waste, plus a narrow-skirted dress in a fabric that I wanted to make a full skirt with.
Instead, I decided on Butterick 6318, which was exactly the silhouette I wanted and with just the right amount of fabric. The top of the dress is especially easy, with a simple neckline and dolman sleeves, which don’t include a shoulder seam, so I was able to finish most of the cutting and assembly in one afternoon, including extra time spent to match the fabric along the seams.
The zipper took me more time than I wanted it to, mostly because I was trying to make it perfect, but I’m happy with the result. It’s no different from other back zippers I’ve done in the past.
I made one change while making it, which was to make the dress sash double-layered, since my fabric doesn’t look as nice on the wrong side. This has the added advantage of letting me choose to tie it either back-to-front or front-to-back!
The other change I plan to make is the addition of pockets, which I always include in wide skirts. The reason why I didn’t already include pockets is that the side seams are actually side-front seams, and I didn’t want to be kicking my phone and wallet any time I walked. However, now that it’s all put together, I think I can open up part of the side seam and install regular pockets after all, because the seams turned out to be a little bit closer to the side than I expected them to be. Anyone else who makes the pattern might want to figure out where the side seams end up falling when they wear it if they are going to do the same.
All in all, I’m really pleased with this pattern, and I feel like it did justice to my Spanish cotton. It’s a bit less fitted than most similar dresses I’ve worn before, seeing as it makes use of dolman sleeves, which makes sense with it fitting into a sort of transitional period between the fit-and-flare dresses of the 1950s and looser mod styles of the 1960s. (The website listing states that the pattern is from 1961.) I also liked that since it wasn’t very fitted, I only needed to worry about my waist measurement, since I never fit perfectly into dress sizes. Usually for me, if it fits in the waist, it’s too loose in the bust and too tight in the hips, unless I take extra time to grade the pattern for my measurements. But since this pattern made a dress which is only supposed to fit tightly in the waist, and was loose elsewhere, I didn’t have to worry about any of that! It was an easy, quick sewing project, and I love the finished result.