16 January 2016

Hot Patterns Uptown/Downtown Dress

After a five year hiatus from anything Hot Patterns, I decided to give the Uptown/Downtown Dress a try.  Why so long a break?  I was totally put off by that damn princess seam shirt collar.  After many tries and getting help from Michelle, I finally got the collar on correctly - only to find that the sleeve had 37,392 inches of ease and would not set properly.  I was DONE and chucked that foolishness into a fiery pit.

The U/D Dress has been on my radar for a while.  Testing out one of my 2016 intentions, I decided to forego the muslin and JUST SEW IT.  I traced a straight size 14 and cut it out of some black ponte for the body and white ponte for the neck/hem bands and cuffs.  The knit was the icky kind from Joann, so I knew I wouldn't be upset if it didn't work out.

Well.  It didn't.  The skirt and bodice were okay, but the neck binding was awful.  The fabric for the neck/hem band and cuffs really needs to have some stretch for it to look right. 

Since I didn't care about this fabric, I used it as an opportunity to test out the elastic waist.  Haha.  This actually turned out to be a muslin.  But...but...but...it didn't start as a muslin, so that's progress.  

Now here's the real deal:

Fabric & Notions:
  • 2 yards poly sweater knit (stash)
  • 2 yards black jet set knit for underling (stash)
  • less than 1/2 yard black rib knit for neckband, cuffs, and hem-band
  • 3/4" elastic
  • sewing machine and serger thread
  • size 80/12 jersey needle
Sizing/Alterations:  The only change I made was a 1" full seat adjustment.  Since the front and back skirt pattern pieces are the same, I traced a separate piece to make the adjustment.  Easy-peasy, as Trudy would say.

Fabric:  For a sweater knit, this fabric was thin.  Like nice-undies-you-have-there thin.   So I hand basted black jet set knit to every piece - eight in total.  I will never love hand sewing.  Ever.


Sewing:  All major construction was done on my serger - after first sewing the seam with a slight zig-zag stitch on my sewing machine.  I learned this from Kyle.  =)  Usually I am impatient with knits and sewing machines, but because I wanted to do this right, I sewed the seam first to check for fit and puckers, then serged the seams together.  I don't think I picked a single serger stitch!  This is usually not the case when I do it the lazy way.

The bodice has three lengths - each designed to give a different "blousing" effect depending on the weight of your knit.  Even though the shortest length was ideal for my fabric, I chose  the middle length so that I could (a) have better control of the "blousing" and (b) sew the elastic casing a la Debbie Cook.  

Hot Patterns has you stitch the elastic to the fabric...or something.  I didn't even try to understand what Trudy was talking about.  I read Debbie's review and found her method to be much simpler.  With the skirt and bodice pinned right sides together, I sewed a 1" seam.  Then, I serged the seams together, leaving an opening for inserting the elastic.

What you end up with is a self-casing and no headache.

I'll probably always wear this dress with a belt. I'm not really feeling it otherwise.  The picture on the right shows the dress with the StyleArc Cosy cardigan (not yet reviewed).  The dress is warm enough to not need a cardigan and I don't like how it looks with it anyway.

I will definitely make more versions of the pattern - even in ponte knit.  The key to making this work is getting the right fabric for the neckband, cuffs, and hem.  Too little stretch and it's fug city.


This dress is one of six pieces that I've planned for a 6PAC.  My plan:
  • dress (Hot Patterns 1090) - done
  • cardi (StyleArc Cosy) - done
  • ruffled blouse (Simplicity 2365/2447 frankenpattern) - almost done
  • knit cowl neck top (Simplicity 1945) - in progress
  • skirt 1 (???)
  • skirt 2 (???)
So far I like where this is going - despite the colors being a little drab. =)

Until next time, peace!




  1. I love the way your dress turned out, and don't think the colors are drab at all!! It definitely paid off for you to revisit this pattern and iron out the kinks. It really looks great!

  2. You learned well, Grasshopper. ;) Lolz!

    Now I have Uptown Funk in my head....

    Dress looks good. I agree about using the belt.

  3. I like it a lot. It's the type of dress that I love wearing in the winter with boots and tights.

  4. You got this pattern to work for you and it looks get on you with the belt. I have a few Hot Patterns but after my first try I am having difficulty getting back on the wagon.

  5. Your "muslin" turned out great. I love it with the belt.

  6. I like this look on you. the boots and the belt are the perfect accessories!

  7. I agree with everyone here, the color isn't drab at all! This is a really great dress and I love the way you styled it! So very much worth your time!

  8. Beautiful~so chic and it looks comfortable as well as stylish. Very nice! :)

  9. Awesome clothing patterns...I'd say you've accomplished what you set out to do! Congrats! You're my sewing inspiration!

  10. Ooooh...totally lovin' it. Pretty color choice.


Thanks for commenting! I appreciate and read them all - even if I can not personally respond.


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