Catherine’s Choice

The title sounds a bit like a sappy novel, but, really, it is the name of the pattern I used to make my first serious sewing project for myself! I was excited starting out with this project. I set my sights pretty high for how I wanted this to turn out. Most of my dressy clothes are skirts and blouses, and I really wanted to wear a real dress for a change! The Catherine’s Choice pattern is a nursing dress pattern put out by Baker Lane. The bodice is lined and you are supposed to untie the front and pull up the bodice to nurse your baby discreetly.  The dress is quite long and I wasn’t really into such a long dress for the summer months. (hopefully I will be making some more longer ones for the cooler months) I thought the dress would  look cute if it hit just below the knees. A retro look is what I was looking for. The wearable muslin was made out of some brown cotton I had in my stash, and I bought a pretty fabric with pink polka dots on a cream background for the version I wanted to wear to a friend’s wedding.

The pattern is printed on heavy paper. (which I LOVE!) Not having done much altering before, I spent a very long time measuring and altering to get this to fit right. I transferred it onto some free interfacing I had gotten a long time ago. This way I could check the fit easily. Even so, I still managed to make the bodice of the brown muslin too big. I had made it based on my bust measurement and that made it too big in the neck and it fit weird under my arms. Back to the drawing board I went and took some advice I had heard a long time ago- cut the pattern out based on your shoulder measurements. This seemed to work much better and the fit of dress #2 was MUCH better than the first! I think if I make this again I will add a little more ease over the bust and underlay, lengthen the bodice an inch or so and do a large upper arm adjustment.  Best of all it was ready to wear to my dear friend Leah’s wedding! ( and church and another wedding!)

Some of the changes I made were to shorten the skirt and modify the tie on the front. The tie was long and had short length of elastic in the back. I lengthened the elastic and shortened the tie by quite a bit. The longer elastic made it so I didn’t have to tie and untie the front while trying to hold on to a writhing, fussy, starving 1 year old! Overall, I think this dress is cute and once you have made one the second comes together fairly easily. 🙂



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5 Responses to Catherine’s Choice

  1. Shanon says:

    VERY CUTE! I am just starting to sew….this is AMAZING!. Where do you find deals on fabric? I do not have luck at all……

    • Brooke says:

      Deals on fabric…I have been pretty lucky with this! Most of the time it is being in the right place at the right time! A couple of days ago I was at a wedding and had a little time before it started so we stopped at Hancock Fabric. Right as you walked inside they had a table of fabric clearance to $1 a yard!!! (cute fabic, too, not ugly stuff) I think the slightly smaller cities have better deals than bigger ones. I was at a couple fabric stores in Madison and couldn’t find any good fabric deals. :/ Eau Claire and Steven’s Point I have had better luck with. Other place that I have gotten good deals- rummage sales, thrift store (think % off colored tag days), remnant bins, Walmart. I have had people GIVE me fabric when they found out I sewed. Another way I get fabric is from sheets with a cute print, adult clothes- the larger the better. Our thrift store has a $6 bag day each week, so you can shop the dress rack and pull off denim jumpers to make shorts or pants for the children- or even a skirt for yourself! (a big one can make 2-3 pairs of shorts) The big flannel nighties can be made into p.j.’s, smaller nighties, or cloth diapers. Receiving blankets are good for this, too, and run $.10-.25 at rummage sales. The polka dot cotton for this dress I got at Walmart and paid $2.50 a yard for- a lot more than I normally pay, but it was a good fit for the dress. The contrasting dark pink dots was a piece from a remnant bin- probably around a dollar for 1/2 yard. Hope that helps!

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  3. Christie says:

    What a sweet dress, and I love your advice to Shanon, great thrifty choices!

  4. Pam says:

    I love polka dot fabric on clothes. You are doing incredibly well with altering patterns!!! The dress fits you beautifully. I’m sort of OK with altering a garment for someone else once it’s been sewn, but have no confidence altering at the pattern stage. Great job!!! Look forward to seeing more of your creations.

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