Hot! The “If I Were in Oz” Dress

The Facts
Fabric: Green stripes and dots “Stretch Jersey ITY” from
Pattern: Stretch & Sew 1505
Year: c. 1980
Notions: Nothing but thread!
Time to complete: 8 hours
First worn: For pics, January 2012
Wear again? When it’s warmer!
Total price: ~$4

I realize that the fact that this dress has sleeves doesn’t make it necessarily look like a summer dress, but trust me, it is. The fabric is SO THIN (hence the slightly visible slip) and consistently cold to the touch – which I imagine will be a great feature come summer. I have to have sleeves on my dresses (even summer ones) because I work in a basement office in a museum with a consistent temperature of 65-70F year-round. But I’ll still have to wear a cardi over this.

The only modification I made was making the hem 6 inches shorter to hit at my knee (as in the envelope view) because I am apparently the shortest person on earth. This pattern used the French Tack neckline technique which I’d never done before so that was really interesting, and my results are….interesting too. The overall shape did turn out more flattering than I was expecting, so that’s good I guess.

I did hit a milestone with this project, I broke my first needle! Actually, two needles because something kept getting misaligned with my walking foot and the needle kept hitting the presser foot part instead of going in the throat plate hole, and it would all get jammed and clunk really loudly until the needle would break. Luckily I only had 12 inches of hem left to sew (and the belt) so I just switched to a regular foot and made it work. Anyone have any idea what’s going wrong?



Liz has been sewing since April 2011 but has been crafty all her life. Her full-time job is as a museum curator at a smallish institution, where her DIY skills often come in handy. Liz likes to sew while watching TV, which she uses to measure the amount of time it takes to finish.


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  1. Cute color! This looks like a great summer dress. I actually broke two needles while using my walking foot a few projects ago. I wound up removing the foot until the next project. Everything worked fine on that one so, I assume it was on slightly crooked. Maybe yours was too?

  2. Sweet dress – long light sleeves stop you from getting sunburnt. very pretty fabric.

    It always makes me jump when I break a needle, luckily it doesn’t happen too regularly.

  3. My experience with breaking needles is sometimes due to the needle possible “bending” just enough for the needle to “miss” piercing the fabric at just the right place. So I 1) change sewing needles often (and do not reuse them) 2) if I have any thread jams at all, I will usually change the needle, too and rethread the machine and 3)I can damage my machine if I continually sew when the needle is bent or misaligned. Hope this helps…

  4. Thanks for the advice, ladies! The second needle was brand-new so it wouldn’t have been bent from use. I wonder if the feed-teeth were pulling too much, or if my stitch length was too short? I’ll have to give it a go again.

  5. Such a lovely dress! I am a big fan of the neckline and the fabric – well done!