Well, if I found the March Sew the Show theme, Boardwalk Empire, less than inspiring, the April theme was the exact opposite! Alida announced the April theme early on the Facebook page and I was thrilled to see that it was Friends!
This show is such a throwback to high school and college for me. The show premiered in 1993 and ran for 10 years. I was a freshman in high school in the fall of 1993 and graduated in 1997. I finished up my undergrad degree in 2001 and graduated from law school 2004. So basically, Friends was a constant throughout these very influential years.
You’d be hard-pressed to find someone of my generation who doesn’t hear the phrases “Ross and Rachel,” “Monica and Chandler,” “Smelly Cat,” “Oh. My. Gooooood,” etc. and know instantly what they mean along with a hundred images running through their head. Looking back, it’s kind of hard to overstate the cultural influence of this show in the US during the late 1990s and early 2000s.
So when Alida announced Friends as the April theme, I was instantly transported back to the dozens of Thursday nights spent crowded into a college dorm room for the NBC Thursday night line up, starting with Friends and ending with the overly-dramatic ER. To the time when Brad and Jen were all over the tabloids and every girl was wearing her choppy layered bob.
The 1990s style was actually really well done in Friends. So much so that I couldn’t narrow my outfit inspirations down to one. In the end, I decided to make 3 outfits — one inspired by each of the female cast members in Friends. This is my Rachel outfit and the first one that popped into my head when I started thinking about Friends fashion.
In my opinion, nothing says Rachel more than the tank dress. She wore them in the show, Jennifer Aniston wore them constantly off-screen and it is the piece that I associate most closely with Rachel.
The greatest thing about Rachel’s tank dress is that it’s so wearable! She always wore them in solid neutrals so this dress will go with just about anything in my wardrobe. Rachel/Jennifer usually wore cami-style tank dresses with spaghetti straps but I knew I wanted the straps on mine to be thick enough to cover my bra straps.
With that in mind, I turned to the trusty ol’ Mission Maxi by Jamie Christina and just shortened it to knee length. This is actually the second Mission Maxi I’ve made but the first hasn’t made it to the blog yet.
The fabric is a leftover from my stash. It’s a gray cotton/spandex blend from Girl Charlee that I got back in October for some Ooh La Leggings. I did indeed make those leggings during my DSM girls weekend and I had a healthy amount leftover. Perfect for my Rachel tank dress!
My jacket is more or less inspired by the 1990s and the show as a whole rather than Rachel specifically. The pattern is the By Hand London Victoria Blazer, cropped version. The fabric is a floral stretch twill/denim from Girl Charlee, and the combo of cropped + floral + denim jacket just screamed ’90s to me. And it pairs nicely with my Rachel tank dress! I’ll post separately about the blazer later this week. (You can see the deets on the blazer here).
Back to the dress! I love the Mission Maxi pattern. It’s easy to sew, easy to wear, and really flattering, in my opinion. This dress may be too figure-hugging for some, but I love how it looks.
It couldn’t be simpler to put together. Two pattern pieces and bands for this view. Attach at shoulders and side seams, finish the neck and arm openings with bands, and then hem to your desired length.
Or not — the pattern doesn’t actually include hemming instructions since knits don’t fray. The first version I ever made (which I promise to blog … someday) was maxi length and I didn’t bother hemming it — just cut it to the length I wanted. Since this one is shorter, and therefore the hem is more visible, I decided to turn it up and hem with a double needle. Easy peasy!
Not much more to ramble on about. Now I want to make a few more in top length … and maybe another knee-length dress … and a maxi ….
Cost: $14.95 USD (hard copy); $10.95 USD (PDF)
Difficulty: Knit beginner. This dress uses the basic construction techniques for knit garments with nothing fancy or difficult. It would be a good first knit project.
Techniques required: Sewing with knits, sewing a straight seam, attaching a neck/arm binding, hemming.
Similar patterns: The Big 4 have a number of patterns that are similar to this. Any full-length knit tank dress is pretty comparable. The halter and godet options are nice bonuses with this indie pattern though.
Modifications: Shortened to knee length.
Fit: Love it. The size is perfect and I love the way it fits. I like that this pattern accentuates curves without being revealing.
Pattern Format: I have the paper pattern, but it is available in paper and PDF. Jamie Christina’s paper patterns are fine. The pattern itself is printed on tissue, which is kind of annoying, especially when the pieces are as big as these. Still, given how big the pieces are, I think I’d go nuts trying to tape together a PDF.
- Simple introduction to sewing with knits.
- Quick and easy to sew for knit veterans. This whole dress can easily be sewn on the serger.
- Incredibly versatile. This pattern can be sewn as a tank top or a dress at any length. Throw a top over it and it can even be a skirt.
- I’ve seen any number of BIg 4 patterns that aren’t materially different than this dress. If cost is an issue, just wait for one of the Big 4 sales at Joann’s or Hancocks and flip through the books for something similar.
- The back is slightly racerback and may not fully cover all bras.
Overall Grade: A. I know a knit maxi dress isn’t earth shattering, but I love the shape and sizing of this pattern. I could get something similar at a Big 4 sale, but I was willing to pay for this indie pattern that fits me perfectly straight out of the envelope.