Hot! The “Lake-View” Dress

The Facts 
Fabric: 2 1/2 yards teal jersey
Pattern:  McCall’s 4140
Year:  1974
Notions: none
Time to complete: 3 hours
First worn: April 2012
Wear again? Yes!

Total Cost: Just $12.50 for the fabric!




My inspiration for this week is Lake Michigan.  I get to see the lake outside my Chicago apartment window everyday and we often go on family walks along the water on the weekend.  During the winter, the water is a greyish blue color that isn’t too pretty.  But come spring the water turns a bright blue again.  When we went to take the photos the water wasn’t too bright, but it was at least a sunny day.  I thought about making a dress inspired by some of the high-rises downtown, but the color and movement of this fabric reminded me of the waves and breezes on the lake.  Oh, and Lakeview is one of the many fantastic neighborhoods in Chicago!


I have been wanting to make a maxi dress for a bit, but I’ve never been crazy about the styles in the stores.  I don’t like that they are baggy around the waist and that it is impossible to wear a bra with them.  So I set out to make one of my own that is closer fitting at the waist and has larger straps.

I used a pattern that my brother had bought for me on a vacation to Seattle.  It was 70s-tastic with puffy long sleeves and frills around the neckline.  I took both of those off and tossed this dress together in less than an hour.  I wasn’t sure how to finish the edges though (I don’t have a serger to easily finish it), and spent the next 2 hours trying to do that.  I made a lining out of the jersey, but the edges kept rolling to the front.  I was eventually able to get it to work, but it was annoying that it took twice as long to deal with the lining than it did to sew the rest of the dress.


After I put it on, my husband commented that it looked really formal… I think when a maxi dress is in a print that it looks casual versus the plain fabric.  Now that is all I can think of.  And it unfortunately shows any and all stains on it.  While cooking, I splashed some oil on it and now I can’t get the discoloration out… But it’s supposed to be casual, so maybe a few stains will add to its character!



Becky Bean has been sewing since she was in elementary school, including personal use, for other people, a mini alteration business, and a stint in a theatre costume shop! She loves vintage style and is hoping to find more time in her busy schedule to keep up the weekly sewing!


Comments are closed.

  1. Do you know about the miracle that is Lestoil for oil stains? It is amazing! Love the dress!!

  2. Love this! And I have the pattern! I think the dress looks great, not too formal in a solid color at all. It’s good to see you can sew knits like this with just a zigzag, as I don’t have a serger either, and I’ve been avoiding them.

    Also, I am the sloppiest cook E.V.E.R., always getting olive oil or sauce splashed here or there. I usually rub detergent directly on the stain (rub it in good to help it break up the oil while in the wash) before laundering and it works quite well. It’s best to catch the stain before its been washed/dried, as the dryer can set the stain, but you can still get them out. Don’t be bummed if it takes a 2nd time through the wash; I’ve had 95% of my stains come out within 1-2 passes through. I’ve used an old bottle of Spray and Wash for some time but I’ve also heard you can use Dawn dishwashing liquid or other ‘degreasing’ dish soap successfully.

    Perhaps an apron will be a future project? That has saved my nicer duds many times! :^)

  3. I use Dawn dish washing liquid soap, the original blue kind, for oil and grease stains. I put the dish soap on the stain and just leave it there until I can do the laundry – it doesn’t bleach the spot at all. Or if I forget at the time I put the soap on the stain right before washing it, though this isn’t as effective. Once or twice it’s taken two washes but generally it comes right out.

  4. Oh my gosh, I love this dress! It’s beautiful and so flattering. I’m very very new to sewing, but this is the kind of thing I’d love to be able to make eventually! And how cute is your pup?! I love a bully breed :)

  5. Very pretty dress! That color is amazing! The pattern image looks very 70s but you’ve styled yours in a very contemporary way. I didn’t get the “formal” vibe from it, well put together, sure. I think it depends on what you’re wearing with it.

  6. This is beautiful and just inspired me! I saw some midnight blue matte jersey on the $2.97 table at G Street Fabrics earlier today. Guess I’ll have to go back and hope it’s still there.

  7. I like your interpretation of that 70’s pattern and how successful your were with the jersey knit without a serger. That’s a great color on you and your photos really tell a story of your locale. Good tips on stain removal from fellow sewers too. I’ll have to remember that.

  8. I love that color! I am with you on the no bra maxi dress, too! That’s why we sew, right? We can get exactly what we want.

  9. I love this dress. So easy and comfortable. I would so want to wear it everyday. Awesome job!

  10. This is such a groovey patterna and a great dress, so flattering. I don’t do maxi dresses for the same reason – I feel like a huge fat giant in them! Lovely work! Wouldent have been easy to get it looking so good in that fabric. Great colour on you too!

  11. Sexy and sweet. Love this color blue on you!

  12. ZOEYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY. I love your dog. A lot. Almost as much as I love your dress and that color on you.