Hot! The “Chevron Bandito” Dress

Chevron-promo The Facts
Fabric: Heavyweight cotton – $5 for ~7 yards
Pattern: McCall's 6224
Notions: Vintage zipper – $.005
Year: c. 1962
Time to complete: About 15 hours
First worn: November 2010
Wear again? Yes, when it warms up.

When I buy fabric, I almost always have no idea how I will end up using it. This fabric was the exception: the moment I saw it I knew exactly what the finished dress would look like. It would have a definite Mexican vibe and a full skirt. McCall's 6224 immediately came to mind (I previously used it for The "I Will Never Wear a Batik Print" Batik Print Dress). And that's just what happened — only with a lot more work than I expected.

I wanted the skirt to have a border print of some sort. Originally, I thought that I could cut the fabric so that only one grouping of stripes would be at the bottom of the skirt. The problem? The skirt was way too short. So I decided to cut orange-stripes-orange. Still too short. I then cut the stripes into vertical strips and then stitched them to form one longer piece. I attached that bottom piece to the main skirt piece and voila, a longer skirt with a bottom border of some kind. 

And then the bodice. Oh, the bodice. Matching the pieces to form a chevron was actually quite simple. The real problem arose when I realized that my pattern was not suitable for a chevron. The darts at the chest and the waist would completely ruin any sort of matching I had accomplished. I had already cut the bodice, and though I had more fabric, I was not willing to abandon the chevron. I decided to look online at vintage patterns until I found a dress that had a chevron bodice. Upon closer examination I saw that the solution for a chevron-darted bodice was diagonal darts. Abandoning McCall's, I created darts in that manner and all seemed to be right with the world.

But that was just the front bodice! I then had to match the chevrons at the sides and at the back (where I would have to insert a dreaded zipper.) The sewing gods were on my side and it all managed to turn out quite okay.

The only disappointment of the dress turned out to be the bodice lining. Because I modified the bodice darts, I had to modify the lining in the same manner. I wasn't so precise doing that and as a result, the insides look sloppy. 

That said, the dress turned out just like I hoped! Now I just need to attend a fiesta. ¡Olé!



Mena Trott

Mena Trott started The Sew Weekly to document her attempt to sew all of her own clothes in 2010. Since then, she's made over 125 outfits and has way more clothes than she needs.


Comments are closed.

  1. VERY impressive chevrons! They look superbly done the whole way around. Clever thinking with the darts too. Looks terrific!

  2. VERY impressive chevrons! They look superbly done the whole way around. Clever thinking with the darts too. Looks terrific!

  3. I’m impressed. :)

  4. I think this is actually my fave dress of the year, your tweaks have made it amazing, and that pattern matching is mind boggling!
    SO lovely, you really suit orange too!

  5. Wowza! I agree with Veronica…my favorite dress so far. The chevrons are amazing. the colors really pop and it looks fantastic on you! Way to go with the research on the darts! (I will have to file that away in my sewing memory!)

  6. I have to agree. My favorite dress yet! You should submit it to Threads. It is really a masterpiece.

  7. Mena, this is unbelievable! Definitely one of my favorites. Plus you included a zipper! You do my peeps proud! :)

  8. what a cleaver hands, what a good sense. Very impressive,

  9. It’s a great dress, but more importantly-you LOOK FANTASTIC in it-great job, great work.

  10. This is by far my favourite dress so far! I love the fabric.

  11. You are amazing. That is a lot of good work and careful thought and it paid off beautifully. It is a fun dress and Cinco Da Mayo is just 1/2 a year a way. So if nothing comes up before then you are ahead of the game. Great job as always.

  12. Love it! Super cute, and that color is great on you.

  13. Mena, this is inspired. I love how it turned out … and I totally understand about the whole “this took way longer than I thought it would.” Nice save ^1000000 on all the unexpected’s that came up along the way :-).

  14. You inspire me every week! I love to check your blog (which is in my “favorites”) to see what new thing you’ve come up with. Thanks for sharing your talent with all of us!

  15. Beautiful dress, truly unique and very well done – just love it..may borrow the hem treatment-it really kicks this dress up a notch….

  16. Amazing!!!! I love this one, so well done! Enjoy your dress :)

  17. Wow – that’s quite a work of art! I’m impressed with the diagonal darts.

  18. Just before reading your post, I saw this on Etsy:
    Chevron bodice, diagonal darts, orange striped fabric…
    I like yours better though because the perpendicular stripes give it that little something extra.
    (I’ve just started following your blog, and I haven’t yet looked back through all your posts, but thanks for the inspiration!)

  19. The chevrons are beautiful!