Out And About Dress: Round 3

After having a moldy closet repaired (oh, what an experience #OldHouseProblems), we decided to take advantage of the fact that the room was empty and repaint.

That room happened to be my sewing room.

*happy dance!*

In case you were wondering: absolutely no fabric was harmed in the moldy closet {PRAISE!}. Probably because I keep my fabric thrown anywhere but the closet (because let’s be honest: I like to be able to see my fabric so I can give it heart-eyes as often as possible).

It took a lot of restraint not to paint the room purple, but the Hubs made me promise to stay away from purple since I’d already chosen that for The Cave {formerly known as the Man Cave…PS: You can see the lovely shade of purple in this post}.

So of course I picked the 3rd best thing {2nd would have been pink} – BLUE.

sewing room 1
Painting in progress!

Here’s a birds-eye view of the room courtesy of the Hubs playing with some lenses I never took out of the package…

‘scuse the mess – I’m still getting sorted!

It’s a bit “baby boy blue,” but I still love it!

And it only took me 3 weeks to finally get it done. Probably because of things like this…

sewing room 2
aka: why you shouldn’t let a perfectionist be in charge of painting.

Anyhow, I’m finally starting to move my sewing stuff back in which brought on a second purge of supplies and fabric. And the shocking realization that pattern/fabric hoarding is not a joke anymore. I think I might be sick.


*as I grab for my credit card and order another 3 yards of the mulberry ponte knit…*


I’m trying very hard to limit my pattern-and-fabric-purchasing. Right now my focus is on using the patterns and fabric I have so I can try to keep my sewing room organized and simplified 😉

The project I’m sharing today may be proof that I need far fewer patterns than I think I do…

out and about dress 3b

Yes, I made another Out and About Dress! It’s my favorite! A gathered waist and pockets seem to be a staple in the definition of “my style” (also purple seems to be a part of that definition…).

I’ve been able to really master this pattern for my shape. I’ve gotten the bodice modified to a point where it fits me like a glove. {See my original Out and About Dress post to read about my alterations} Yes, it’s made with knit fabric which is forgiving and doesn’t require a perfect fit, but I still consider it a win for fit!

out and about dress 3c

We’ve finally started getting some chilly weather {remember how it “snowed” last month?! 😉 } which made me want to start the long-sleeved Out and About Dress I’d been dreaming about.

out and about dress 3e
See all the cold weather “blowing in”?! 😉

I ordered this dreamy ponte de roma knit fabric from Imagine Gnats. If you’ve never ordered from the Imagine Gnats shop, I highly suggest joining the mailing list and taking advantage of the next sale {and no, Rachael is not paying me to say this, but I’m totally open to fabric bribes should those ever be on the table #JustSayin}.

I have a very indecisive personality [I’m a Libra…what can I say?!] so I get overwhelmed with too many choices {this also explains why I prefer shopping at Trader Joe’s for groceries}. I appreciate that there aren’t 20 different choices for purple knit fabric. There’s one – maybe two – which helps keep me from flying down the rabbit hole and spending hours debating myself about which purple is best for me.

So when I saw a sale a while back, I knew it was time to buy that purple ponte de roma I’d been eye-balling and get chopping away at my next long-sleeved (!!) Out and About Dress.

I’ve been trying to hold myself loosely to projects this year. Meaning: last year I stressed myself out by putting expectations on projects – forcing myself to finish something that day rather than allowing myself to step away to enjoy other weekend leisures. This year, the Hubs and I have been enjoying long walks around town together on the weekends. Rather than limiting those, I’ve allowed myself to step away from the project knowing that it will patiently wait on me to return. {And I’ll return a much happier seamstress 🙂 }

That’s exactly what I did with this dress. I don’t mind that it took me 3 weekends to finish because I was able to work on it in chunks which was far less stressful. I didn’t feel rushed so I was able to focus on the small details that lead to a wonderfully constructed garment.

out and about dress 3f

I reinforced the shoulder seams with twill tape. I also used elastic to gather the skirt which should keep the waist from drooping over time (so I hear).

To add the elastic: I cut a piece (un-stretched) for the front that was the same length as the bottom of the front bodice. I cut an additional piece that was the same length as the back bodice. I stretched the elastic as much as I could to fit the skirt pieces which gathered them without having to baste stitch. I ended up chopping about 2 inches off the back skirt piece (vertically) and about 4 inches off the front skirt piece.

I used the original sleeve length (I think I cut a size small) which fit my arms perfectly.

Towards the end I realized I didn’t have quite enough purple thread so I had to use gray for the underside. You can’t see it and it’s not terribly noticeable even when you’re looking at the interior hem. And frankly, this article has given me my new mantra: fuck perfect. And I love my new dress.

out and about dress 3a

When I posted this dress to Facebook, a friend asked if I use a serger. The answer is no. Sergers sounds fabulous, but I’m still trying to master the basics. {Proof: I recently took a Sewing 101 class with Sewn + A Sewing School (taught by my quilt guild president) and learned so much!}

My point is: There are a ton of fancy sewing accessories, supplies and machines out there. And boy would I love to have them all {Hubs: are you reading this?! There’s my b-day wish list: ALL THE SEWING THINGS}. BUT – they’re not required for you to make beautiful things!

Rather than a serger, I use a twin needle, but even that’s not required! I made my first Out and About Dress (which was also the first garment I ever made) using a plain ole zig-zag stitch…because I had never heard of a twin needle. {I have since learned what a twin needle is thanks to that time I pattern tested the Canny Tunic and discovered this article from the designer-who-became-my-friend-Addie.}

My point is: Don’t hold yourself back. If you want to sew garments, then by golly jump inhead first! What’s the worst that could happen? You end up with a dress that doesn’t fit right? Okay, so what! Cut that bad boy up and make a scarf…or two. Give one to a friend – they’ll think you’re brilliant and your confidence will be restored.

Then go start on another dress. ‘Cuz why the heck not?!

If you’re passionate about it, you’ll figure it out. Just stick with it.

out and about dress 3d

PS: Is my sister reading this?! I hope she is. Because she took the Sewing 101 class with me (which made MY HEART SING! LOOK AT HOW ADORABLE SHE IS SEWING HERE!!) and I hope she remembers the joy of creating something – even if that something requires that you sew the same seam 10 times because your sister forgot to tell you to roll the edges on your French seam…

Anyhow friends – go forth and sew things. Because you can. And what you make does not have to be perfect. I give you permission to make crappy things. As long as the crappy things make you happy. {remember our new mantra: fuck perfect}

And if you ever need a reminder that you’re awesome, send me a message – I’ll be your sewing cheerleader!

Author: Jordan Slice-Metcalfe

My name is Jordan. I'm a full-time working mom whose coffee cup is always half full (and probably still in the microwave). I've got a weak spot for rescuing old dogs, pretending pizza is a vegetable, negotiating dessert with every meal, propagating more plants than any home needs, dreaming of sewing projects while my husband is talking to me, and loving my tribe too deep.

6 thoughts on “Out And About Dress: Round 3”

  1. I just read your article – Gor it from a link in Indie Sew. I have been trying to learn by the way of the Internet for about 2 yrs but I stop and go and when ‘things’ don’t turn out right. I just wanted to Thank for such an informational and encouraging article. Articles like yours keeps me encouraged. Take Care !

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