Side view of light green with white polka dots dress with pattern in one of the giant pockets. Photo by Mary Warner, January 20, 2024.
fiber art projects

Pockets So Big They Should Be Called Saddlebags

A project I was busy with over the past few weeks was sewing a dress from a pattern I got years ago.

It's Sew Simple McCalls dress pattern, Style L9578. The dress on the model is sleeveless, falls just below the knee, and has been made in a red and black plaid. Photo by Mary Warner, January 20, 2024.
It’s Sew Simple McCalls dress pattern, Style L9578. The dress on the model is sleeveless, falls just below the knee, and has been made in a red and black plaid. Photo by Mary Warner, January 20, 2024.

I had some green cotton fabric with white polka dots in the amount I needed, so I set to work. (I love me some polka dots! (●’◡’●) )

While the pattern claims that “It’s Sew Simple,” it was a bit more challenging than the typical pants pattern I’ve made countless times before. I have to admit I’ve been kind of a lazy sewer, not really challenging myself with different patterns. Over the past couple of months, I’ve changed that bad habit.

I was particularly careful while I was putting this pattern together, lining things up before sewing and ironing seam allowances per the instructions. Not that I don’t line things up and iron seam allowance with other patterns  – I do – it’s just that I took my time sewing this dress, refusing to rush the process.

There were times I felt rather impatient that it wasn’t DONE ALREADY! Especially after I accidentally attached the neck facing wrong and had to unpick the stitches.

In looking at the images on the pattern envelope, it was not readily apparent to me just how big the side pockets are on this dress. Seriously, these pockets are so big, they ought to be called saddlebags. They are a pocket-lover’s dream!

Just so we’re clear, I’m a pocket-lover. (❁´◡`❁)

I was excited to try on the dress when finished.

Me taking a selfie in the bathroom mirror. I am wearing a light green with white polka dots sleeveless dress with a long-sleeve purple shirt underneath it. Photo by Mary Warner, January 20, 2024.
Me taking a selfie in the bathroom mirror. I am wearing a light green with white polka dots sleeveless dress with a long-sleeve purple shirt underneath it. Photo by Mary Warner, January 20, 2024.

Check out these pockets! While I’ve got the dress pattern stowed easily in one pocket, I could have added far more.

Side view of light green with white polka dots dress with pattern in one of the giant pockets. Photo by Mary Warner, January 20, 2024.
Side view of light green with white polka dots dress with pattern in one of the giant pockets. Photo by Mary Warner, January 20, 2024.

I am a little disappointed in how the dress fits, however. The shoulders are too wide and the neck is too sloppy. There are no finished dimensions on the pattern, so I made the Small, which turned out to be too big. I’ll have to try making this in the Extra Small size.

Top of light green with white polka dots dress showing a sloppy neckline. Photo by Mary Warner, January 20, 2024.
Top of light green with white polka dots dress showing a sloppy neckline. Photo by Mary Warner, January 20, 2024.

If only I’d taken a look at Liz Haywood‘s book, The Dressmaker’s Companion before I had started. She explains how to measure pattern pieces to determine what the finished size will be. I’ll know better next time.

2 thoughts on “Pockets So Big They Should Be Called Saddlebags”

  1. What fabulous pockets! I hope you can find a way to tweak the neck and shoulders to fit.
    A good tip someone gave me is to pin the pattern tissue together and try it on to see the proportions. You’ll only be trying on half the garment, but you can see where seams and neckline sit. Maybe do for the extra small?

    1. Yes, the pockets are amazing! I’ll give your suggestion a try, Liz. Thank you!

      I’m also going to measure the pattern pieces. Most patterns give you some idea of the finished measurements, but this one only had the back length.

      One of my problems is that I have narrow shoulders and a small bust, but my waist is quite big in comparison, even though I’m fairly slender. I’m basically two different sizes according to most patterns and it can be tricky to figure out what size is most appropriate.

      At least I’m getting less afraid of wanting to try adjusting the patterns. For this one, I think I could take a slice out of the middle of the front and back sections if the extra small seems too large. I also want to try this in a slightly weightier fabric. I suspect it would give the pockets more body.

Thoughtful comments welcome.