My new favourite dress – New Look 6000

I should be writing about all the clothes I made to take with me on my recent trip to Australia, which, given it was winter when I was there, meant I effectively got in early with creating my autumn wardrobe (Audrobe, as Rachel from the Stitch Sisters brilliantly named such a thing).

And I will get around to doing that, I promise. I just have to take about a million photos of it all first…

But this dress has vaulted to the front of the blogging queue. I finished it yesterday, wore it last night and am pleased beyond words with how it turned out.

It is the New Look 6000:

Clearly a very popular pattern going by the number of reviews on the Pattern Review website and also numerous other bloggers who have made and posted about this dress, such as Sewmanju and Handmade Jane.

I bought this pattern last year, but it only goes up to a 16 with fairly small measurements, which I wasn’t at the time and I didn’t feel confident with my grading skills back then. Now my measurements are a lot closer to the pattern’s ones and I decided if I made it in ponte roma with a bit of a bust adjustment it would probably fit ok. And it did! Hooray!

It is a figure hugging, snug fit but that is what I was after. For this sort of dress (and dresses generally) they suit me better when fitted rather than a bit loose.

I really wanted to sew it with all the trimming, hence I went for view C with the collar, the cuffs and the sunburst-looking pleats. I’m so pleased I did as I love the way they have all turned out.

The pattern is for wovens, but it does list double knits as one of the suggested fabrics. The sewing instructions are decent, but they are aimed at the woven option so I made a few changes to take advantage of the easier nature of using ponte:

  • I knew I wouldn’t need the zip so I eliminated the back seam allowance and cut the back piece on the fold instead. The dress is fine to get on by pulling over my head. I also eliminated the back vent by doing this, but again, being jersey the dress is fine for walking in without it.
  • I sewed the back collar pieces together (straightening off the slight pointed edge as I serged) because of the above change, as I couldn’t work out whether it would sit properly with the separate pointed collar bits if the back seam wasn’t there. Next time I will probably just redraft the two collar pieces to be all one piece and smooth out the line around the back of the neck more.
  • I sewed it on my overlocker save for the darts and pleats, which I did on my normal sewing machine (using the stretch stitch for the pleats).
  • I added some stabilising ribbon to the shoulder seams to stop them stretching out wth wear.
  • I didn’t stay stitch the neck as I wasn’t sure if it would need to stretch to get over my head without the zip. Turns out it doesn’t need to stretch so I would probably stay stitch it next time, although being jersey I didn’t need to follow the instructions for clipping the edges when attaching the collar, so maybe the stay stitching isn’t needed anyway.
  • I sewed the sleeves in flat and didn’t need to do the ease stitching as I just pinned and then stretched the dress shoulder seam as I overlocked so the pieces matched up.
  • I then sewed each sleeve and dress side seam in one continuous line, like sewing any other jersey top or dress.
  • I didn’t use the neck facings in the end as I felt they would be too bulky, plus I discovered you can’t see the overlocked seam when the dress is on. I will probably get around to adding bias binding to the seam at some point though, just so it looks pretty on the inside!
  • The seam allowance edges of the pleats were a bit bulky when all pressed downwards as per the instructions, so I pressed the top 3 up and the bottom 3 down, which looked much better.
  • I used a twin needle to under stitch the cuff seam allowance, to help keep this in place. I also found the cuff edges (where they meet on the sleeve seam) didn’t sit together as neatly or closely as I wanted, so I put a few hand stitches there to hold everything in place. This also helped to keep the seam allowance tucked away inside the sleeve.
  • I used a twin needle for the hem.

Because of these various changes and omissions, this dress was really quick to sew up. As in, it took a couple of hours or so after cutting out the fabric. Not including the time it took for hand sewing the buttons, which I am not the fastest at doing!

Apart from the above, the only changes I made to the pattern were to grade out slightly alongside the bust (curving it out only by 1cm (1/2″) or so) and using 1cm (3/8″) seam allowance on the side seams.

I think I would probably need to make a formal full bust adjustment if I were to sew this up in a woven, and probably give a little more room at the waist and hips, but the above all worked great when using jersey.

Ok, photo overload time:

Please excuse all the different lighting! My usual spot for taking photos was too sunny and hence I toured the house trying to find other spots (that had vaguely tidy backgrounds!)

And yet more photos:

A close up of the collar and pleats

The overlocked seam for the collar, which you can’t see when the dress is on

Cuffs!

The only other change I will make to the pattern is to take a wedge out of the back neckline (and collar piece) as it gapes a bit there.

I love the slightly vintage nod of this dress. I feel like I am slightly rocking my inner 1960s air stewardess when I wear it!

I very much want to sew more of these dresses. Can I make them all view C though?! It’s a pretty distinctive dress but I can’t help wanting one in every colour! I have this lovely stretch cotton sateen:

that would be awesome in view C for wearing to a wedding. And I do have a wedding to go to next weekend…

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