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.
Hacking the Vanessa
Because I am who I am, I hacked the Vanessa not once, but twice and it was super easy.
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.