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  • Writer's pictureChristine Dierk

Oh the Paw-sibilities!

One of my favorite things about fit and flare dresses (aside from the silhouette) is how easy it is the mix and match between patterns. Constructing this style of dress pretty much always follows these steps:

1. Construct the bodice.

2. Construct the skirt.

3. Attach the skirt to the bodice.

4. Add zipper, hem, and finishing details.

This is obviously oversimplified, but you get the general idea. Because this silhouette has a clear distinction between bodice and skirt, it's super easy to take the bodice from one pattern and the skirt from another and combine them into one dress! While mismatched pattern markings and seams can be a hassle, all you really need is for the two pieces to have similar waist measurements.

I made this dress using Butterick 5982 and novelty fabric from JoAnn. I made view C, substituting the bateau neckline from view A. This pattern features a skirt with both gathers and pleats. However, I thought that a circle skirt would better show off this fun novelty print. I substituted a simple quarter circle skirt from another pattern and voila!

While mixing and matching pattern pieces is a great way to design and create a purr-fect dress, there are some challenges to this approach. Pattern markings are specific to the pattern, and usually don't generalize to others. It can also be difficult to match side seams when the bodice and skirt are from different patterns. What I find the most challenging about mixing and matching pattern pieces is figuring out how much fabric you need, and how to arrange the pieces when cutting them out.

Just like the pattern markings, the recommended yardage and pattern layouts are specific to the pattern, and don't typically hold when substituting pattern pieces. For example, this quarter circle skirt required more fabric than the included skirt with pleats and gathers. I had to unpin and re-pin my pattern pieces several times before cutting to ensure that everything fit.

While a little more work, I love being able to take pieces of patterns that work, and substitute others to create purr-sonalized dresses. I adore the way this dress turned out, and this fabric is one of my favorites! The cat faces always make me smile, and I'm constantly being asked where I bought this dress. Plus, it has pockets! What's not to love?


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