adult's clothing · sewing

Marilla Walker Sailor’s Dress

As most of you know, I buy plenty of sewing patterns.  There are more patterns in my collection than anyone could ever possibly use – especially because the collection started back in the late 1980s and has exploded exponentially over the last few years.  Pdf patterns have been a dangerous addition to the pattern world.  It is SO easy to just click that button and buy a pdf pattern, especially after a glass of wine on a Friday night.  Many of my friends are aware that I generally have a $10 maximum price limit for pdf patterns (which I will break for Oliver + S but rarely for others), which is one of the appeals of Lekala patterns.  After all, pdf patterns take a whole lot more work for the sewer than a printed pattern, and I’m the one paying for the paper, ink, sticky tape and packaging.  So I find it REALLY hard to resist a cute pdf pattern that is FREE.  Like this one – the Marilla Walker Sailor’s Top/Dress.  What did I possibly have to lose?  Other than some paper, ink, fabric and thread, that is.

Sailors Top as Dress by Marilla Walker in striped knit

Oh boy, those narrow stripes strobe terribly on my computer monitor! This is a one size pattern, pretty much a UK/Australian size 12, but since it’s such a relaxed fit I checked the finished measurements and figured that it would work okay. Despite being super simple in many ways, there are some lovely details that elevate this a little above the ordinary tee shirt dress. Especially the underarm gussets.

Sailors Top as Dress by Marilla Walker in striped knit

See those little squares? They give terrific range of movement. I constructed this dress entirely on the sewing machine, which gave me the ability to control where the seams of the gusset stopped and started. The instructions were okay, but if you haven’t inserted underarm gussets before you might want to research them a little. I didn’t have any hassles. The other terrific detail is much more obvious – the shoulder gussets! These give the shoulders and neckline shape, and are super easy to do.

Sailors Top as Dress by Marilla Walker in striped knit

The nicest thing about the neckline though is the binding that both stabilises the inside and adds a bit of hidden fun. I used contrasting bias binding, because that was what I had nearby.

Sailors Top as Dress by Marilla Walker in striped knit

The neckline is the same height at the front and the back – actually, this dress doesn’t really have a front or a back; it doesn’t matter which way around you wear it. That does mean that the front neckline is fairly high, so you might want to be aware of that if you don’t like the feeling of fabric high up against your neck. Otherwise, there’s not much more to say! I might wear it with the sleeves rolled up next. The top is just a shorter version of the same pattern. I might copy Sarah and make a sleeveless version with contrasting shoulder gussets – imitation as flattery!

Sailors Top as Dress by Marilla Walker in striped knit

This pattern is wonderful with stripes, as the shoulder gussets play with them so beautifully. And did I mention that it is free? Four of us tried it on at Sewjourn, all different heights and different shapes, and we were surprised that it looked good on all of us. Of course, it won’t fit all sizes, but wouldn’t be hard to to adjust to make it larger or smaller, since it is essentially based on rectangles.

Sailors Top as Dress by Marilla Walker in striped knit

The fabric I used was a cream and olive green/grey stripe that I suspect came to me from Anna’s stash. It is a lovely quality with a bit of substance without much cling, which is perfect for a dress like this one.  Such an easy casual dress for casual weekends.

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6 thoughts on “Marilla Walker Sailor’s Dress

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