One of the dresses that is literally everywhere from Pinterest to Amazon is some version of a sweater dress with a thick, deep V-neck that’s off the shoulder. Well, Made for Mermaids made all of our fall/winter sewing dreams come true with the Vanessa Dress! Now home sewists can be the Pinspiration, ha!
The Vanessa Dress from Made for Mermaids
The Vanessa Dress only comes with the V-neck neckband in both the front and back. For shoulder style, it comes in both on and off the shoulder. The sleeve options are color-blocked lantern, plain lantern, long-sleeved fitted and there are 2 cuff lengths–long and short. You can make this in a top, mini, dress, or midi length. So there are so many options available to really customize this dress to what you want it to look like.
Fabric Choice With The Vanessa Dress
This dress has been designed for knit fabrics. For the versions I made, I used a soft sweater knit from Freckle Fabrics and a cable knit from So Sew English. I do have another one planned in a lighter weight fabric like double brushed polyester or bamboo knit to see how it works out. The fabric should have at least 40% stretch at a minimum so Ponte, scuba, Oakley, French terry, and hacci are all really great options too.
Sewing The Vanessa Dress
This is quite literally one of my favorite patterns right now because of the ease with which you can make this dress. Both the front and back pieces are the same so cutting the fabric is really fast. I was able to cut the pattern using my projector in 5 minutes. This is big to me because patterns with lots of pieces take a lot of time to just cut out and I don’t always have the time I need to do this. If you’re a serger user, you can construct the dress and top entirely on this machine. For the dress version, you do need to hem and this can be done on your sewing machine, serger or cover stitch. But this is a really fast sew–perfect for those last-minute makes when you want something new and have like an hour.
I love the versatility of this dress. I styled mine with over-the-knee boots because it’s so easy. You can add a belt to really cinch your waist and give it a more dramatic blousing effect. And adding a wool fedora hat will definitely take this look to current! If you’re looking to be more dressed up, adding some booties that are heeled or some stilettos will really dress this look up.
My first hack was adding a slit and showing a little thigh. Instead of coming all the way down with the seam, I stopped mid-thigh and hemmed it.
My second hack was making it into a faux dress to be worn together or as separates. I loved how this came out so much. I cut the bodice at the dress line and added the band to it as well as the skirt portion. Super easy.
This definitely gets a 5 out of 5 needles for ease of make and versatility in wearing.
It’s been about 2 years since I’ve made a top that has the cute back like this one here. When I first made them, I swore my brain was broken! I couldn’t figure out the knot part at all. Needless to say, I’ve practiced a lot and can now whip these up pretty quickly.
Patterns for Pirates Twist Back Top
When I made my top years ago, my kids wanted one but there was no youth pattern. I was super excited that this new release from P4P included both youth and adult sizing. In addition to the different sizing, there’s the option for both tank and sleeved options.
Youth Twist Back Top
I made both of my girls the tops because of quickly these come together. My youngest is wearing a 5T and my oldest is wearing a size 12–I’m crying at how big they’ve both gotten!!! My oldest wore hers all day and then put it back on the next one so I’m thinking this is definitely a winner.
Adult Twist Back Top
So I’m fairly certain that I’m going to be making a thousand of these for the fall and winter. I love how low the knot is in the back. The different sleeve options make it really versatile for styling and seasons. I have a light black sweater knit that I plan on making and wearing it backward for a plunge v-neck style to wear on a date with my husband!
Styling & Fabric
The tank option I totally will wear once I get off my butt and start working out again. The blue fabric is like a lightweight burnout fabric and is so perfect for working out. The rest of them are a delicious French terry that has a 4-way stretch and is incredibly soft. I can totally see this being made in all fabrics really. I can’t wait to do one in a sweater!
Basics. They are SO necessary but they can also be really hard to find too–especially when you’re looking for a certain color, style, etc. In the sewing world, we will normally have patterns for all the complicated things that you could think of but when it comes down to it, basics matter too! This is why I HAD to jump on the Pattern for Pirates test for the Basic Tee pattern for the entire family.
Patterns For Pirates Basic Tee Pattern Collection
Ok. Let’s get into it! The pattern collection includes:
Men’s (crew, v-neck, regular, long, short and long sleeves)
So yeah, everyone you know and could sew for is covered!
These patterns are easy, breezy to put together. And they take about 30 min tops to make. During testing when my son would run out of clothes, I would just make him new shirts from this pattern because they were so quick and easy!
One of the questions that came up is the difference between this pattern and the Favorite TShirt pattern that they have as well. The Favorite Tee is looser from the under bust down. This one is like a cross between the Favorite Tee and the Layer Me Up. I have the Layer Me Up and I want to love it but the way my belly is set up post children, I don’t like the way it fits. This one? Talk about dreamy!
Fabric Choice & Styling
You’ll want something that has four-way stretch and good recovery–unless you like misshapen clothes! For Beau’s and Denvor’s shirts I used the Doodles fabric. It did pretty well with the neckband and holding its shape. Kalima and I’s is a lightweight double-brushed polyester. Depending on your fabric choice, this pattern can be dressed up or down which I love. I wore my dress recently to a dinner with my husband styled the way I have it here.
Definitely a 5 out of 5 needles for ease and the amount of use this pattern will be getting!
I swear… 2018 I was a sewing fool! I just couldn’t say no to all the tests and new techniques to try out. It caught up with me and I couldn’t keep my blog up-to-date with all of them! 2018 was a year of epic pattern releases and I can’t wait to share my favorites with you!
My Favorite 2018 Pattern Releases
It was hard to choose but these are some of my faves!
Going Home Sweater by Ellie and Mac
I loved how this raglan fit. I’m actually a huge fan of raglans that don’t make me look like I’m a baseball reject. I made this one in a tunic version in a double brushed polyester plaid and it was all love!
Juliette Body Suit by Petite Stitchery
I’m an 80s baby and a 90s girl so this pattern took me back to my childhood when bodysuits were super in. I was super nervous about making one but it was really easy and now I’ve made 3 of this pattern and a couple of another body suit pattern.
The Family Go-To Jacket by Patterns for Pirates
Yes, I made my entire family jackets. This was one of my harder sews because it used techniques I wasn’t familiar with but the face that I MADE US ALL JACKETS was really big to me!
The Women’s Adeline from Made for Mermaids
I made two versions–long and short. The long is by far my favorite. I feel like a goddess whenever I wear it. I hacked it to create a suuuuuper low v-neck for my vow renewal as well as made my girls matching ones. It’s such an easy pattern to work with.
The Sierra Pattern from Made for Mermaids
This is a pattern I can’t wait to make more of. I made the original in some suuuuper short shorts which I loved. I also hacked it into a pants romper with a zipper for nursing. I feel like a functional milk maid in this!
The Clueless Collection from Made for Mermaids
This was THE cutest collection ever!!!! I made some really quality skirts for my oldest and I. But this collection has socks, a blazer, bodysuit, skirt, sweater vest, and cardigan. It’s a huge and really functional collection!
Harmony Harems by Petite Stitchery
I can’t stop making these. When I left the corporate world, I actually used to make and sell Ankara print harem pants for babies. And now I’ve made them in French Terry, Cotton Lycra, and DBP. It’s love.
Women’s Serenity Top & Dress by Petite Stitchery
I saw a sweatshirt on Pinterest that said “Wifey” and I knew I had to have it. This pattern allowed me to essentially recreate it easily. It’s soooo comfortable and was such an easy to make piece!
I shared with you guys one of my recent makes of the Ellie And Mac Tulip Dress and I’m basically obsessing over the tulip style dress. In truth, I have been for some time but I never wanted to go through the trial and error of creating the different styles myself. The DIBY Club recently released a new patterns called the Rosa Dress.
The DIBY Club Rosa Dress
The Rosa Dress has 3 lengths–top, knee length and maxi dress. The top is a dolman style and feels amazing. There was a picture on Pinterest of this beautiful tulip dress that was the inspiration. Every time I would see it, I wanted a thousand of them. And now I can make them!!!
Ok friends, this pattern is going to cost you quite a bit in both paper and fabric depending upon what size you go for. It’s a total of 62 pages for the entire pattern. Yes, I know, that’s a lot but it’s totally worth it. Once the fabric is cut, it took me maaaaaybe 45 minutes to put it together. I opted to leave my edges raw and I love the look.
Fabric Options and Styling
I’ve seen some of the other testers do the tops which came out cute worn with shorts or jeans. The fabric will totally determine the styling of this dress. I used a rayon spandex from Pretty Posh Prints that is dreamy. But I think that if you were make it with a jersey fabric or something more casual than it could be dressed down.
This definitely gets 4.5 needles out of 5. The only downfall is how many pages it takes to print but otherwise, it’s super easy and doesn’t take much time.
In my head, I’m a classic kind of girl. And honestly, one of my styles does include some of the classic feel–if we’re talking like classically boho-chic. When I saw this dress I just knew that I had to challenge myself to make it. It was just so cute!!!
Patterns for Pirates So Classic Sundress
Let’s chat options:
Bodice: buttons, center seam, plain
Straps: regular, halter
Skirt: mini, knee, maxi
Yes, that means that you can have alllll the dresses you need and they’ll all look different! For mini I made the maxi dress with plain front and regular straps. For myself, I made the knee length, buttons, and regular straps.
I love that this pattern didn’t require much in printing. A lot of the pieces are rectangles and the measurements are part of the tutorial. But if I’m being completely honest, this was the hardest dress I’ve ever completed–mine that is. It had a lot to do with fabric choice and working with my measurements. Because this is a fitted dress, your measurements matter A LOT!
Mini’s dress was way easier for some reason and I think it’s because I was adjusting her elastic from the outside but mine was a little more challenging. Our matching dresses were made out of some kind of thin denim made of 62% Cotton and 38% Lyocell that I got from Joann’s. I LOVE how it looks. It’s so beautiful but sewing with it was a challenge because it kept stretching! And I didn’t iron it before cutting out my pieces.
It’s important to note that in order for your fabric to be fitted properly, you need to iron BEFORE cutting. This may seem obvious but it wasn’t for me.
Fabric Choice and Styling
The sky is literally the limit with this pattern. I used both the thin fabric as well as a thicker African wax made from cotton. They draped totally different and have two totally different feels. I hacked the pattern to create a separates outfit with the African wax fabric and I’m so in love. I’ve worn this with just a white t-shirt tied up to be a crop length and have felt so beautiful!
This pattern gets a 4 out of 5 needles. It’s definitely a must-have pattern but it’s not the easiest pattern to make! It’s totally worth it in the end though!