Who’s ready for fall? Fall in Northern California is always a bit of an ironic season, because just as PSL’s pop up everywhere, the temperatures here reach 70-80 degrees. Still, I crave a little bit of fall in my wardrobe even if I won’t get it truly for a few more months, so I made this knit leopard curved seam dress to bridge the temperature gap. I wanted something that was easy to throw on and felt extremely chic but comfortable, easy to sew to dynamic visually.
Often, I make my patterns myself, but with this design I decided to make my life easier and use a commercial pattern to help save time. I used McCall’s 7967, a simple knit dress pattern with sleeve variations that is a great pattern to have in your arsenal to alter for many different design styles.
I used view D as my starting point, but then made these alterations:
- Lengthened the hem to a midi skirt length
- Opened and raised the sleeve cap more than the view D sleeve, to give more of an 80’s power look
- Drew out my design lines on a muslin version (cut on the fold) so that I could divide up the sections, and create new design lines that fit into the regular sheath shape. Pictures below, but note the pic is before all of the notches I added in- don’t skip this step!
The fabric was an amazing recent (Fall 2019) find at Joann fabrics, and I absolutely love the double knit quality and tonal options that they have, which make color blocking extra fun! I can’t seem to find links online, but I guaranteed they will have at your local store.
Leopard Curved Seam Dress
From the simple alterations, the sewing of the dress was quite easy. I sewed everything first with my Husqvarna Epic 980Q, selecting Medium Knit, straight stitch and 3.5 width. Then I serged all the edges with my Huskylock S25 just to make sure everything was nice and secure, and that this dress will be able to be thrown in the washing machine with zero issues.
This dress exceeded my expectations, because it’s another extremely wearable dress that feels fashion forward. I really aim to make my wardrobe as fashion forward but comfortable as possible, and this dress fits the bill. I can easily style it with heels or sneakers, and wear it almost anywhere and feel comfortable. I have received loads of comments on this one, but if you are a newer sewist, I suggest you trying making this project because it was fairly easy to make!
The sleeves are the one portion of the dress that I would actually change if I made again. I wish I had even more heigh in the sleeve cap, but since this knit fabric doesn’t hold as well as a stiffer woven would, it sinks down on my shoulder more. In the future, I would gather the sleeve less around the entire sleeve cap, and more in the top of the sleeve, to help bolster it and give height. However, this exaggerated 80’s drumstick sleeve is all the rage right now (thanks to brands like Batsheva and Rotate Birger Christensen) so it still feels relevant even though it wasn’t exactly what I wanted!
I still try and be as sustainable as possible with my designs and since I bought the fabric not knowing exactly how much I would need of each color, I ended up using the remaining fabric to make my daughter a similar dress! Although it didn’t come out perfectly, it’s actually a super easy dress shape that she has room to grow in, took very little time to make, and SHE LOVES!