It Ain’t Nothing but a Houndstooth

 It Ain’t Nothing but a Houndstooth 

Crying for accessories   :)

I made the dress for football games since both of the college teams my family pulls for are black and something. I finished it Tuesday and their football seasons are almost over – something tells me it’s not going to make it to a game this year.

 So…….How about lunch with the girls

dinner with my hubby….

or the annual “Twas Two Nights” family holiday get together? 

I have seen houndstooth dresses  e v e r y w h e r e  this fall and couldn’t resist this Ralph Lauren wool from Mood Fabrics. It’s very soft with  z e r o  itch factor.

Several features of this McCall”s classic dress pattern appealed to me. With a separate bodice and skirt, I knew the alterations would be more precise than a one piece sheath, I really liked the pockets, and the pattern uses less than two yards of fabric. 

The dress is fully lined and heavy. Originally I made View E, but once I tried on my dress with the basted long sleeves I quickly knew it was only suitable for  subfreezing temperatures.


What had been my first ever perfect sewing project now had an issue.

 I managed to finish the now sleeveless dress by turning in the seam allowances and whip stitching the lining to the wool.It was one more learning experience, but hopefully I’m one step closer to that perfectly sewn garment……… and please don’t tell me it doesn’t exist!

So here I am in nothing but a houndstooth ready to take on most any accessory … except maybe some blue suede shoes ;)

Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends and best wishes to my international friends for a wonderful weekend!


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98 Responses to It Ain’t Nothing but a Houndstooth

  1. maria says:

    the perfect garment….mmm I truly have yet to find it :) m. You look lovely and I like it sleeveless. m. :D

  2. prttynpnk says:

    Lovely fitted bodice and pockets that don’t gap- oh, this is lovely! So many fab ways to acessorize- I think I need to explore some checks….

  3. Becky says:

    The perfect garment is one that is comfortable and looks fabulous on the wearer. I think this is probably perfect, or as perfect as anything gets. I love it!

  4. Myra says:

    This is really pretty! Houndstooth….oh how I really like you! Should be a staple piece in every woman’s wardrobe! and you have created the perfect piece for yourself!

  5. Alethia says:

    Very inspiring review! You have done a beautiful job with construction and fit, and also in sharing the different ways that this dress can be worn, thank you!
    I have this pattern, so it’s definitely a keeper. ;o)

  6. Laura says:

    FABULOUS black and houndstooth….and think the sleeveless will be much more versatile. Black hose make the outfit! Hmmmmm perfect garment?…..well maybe but not by me. LAURA

  7. Carol S says:

    If the blue suede shoes were a deep cobalt blue, they’d work

  8. frammajoy says:

    I love anything WITH POCKETS! I think I actually have a very small houndstooth print in my stash. I was amazed at all the choices of boots the other day when I was at the mall, so may make a dress and buy some black boots. ALSO, I didn’t know there was such a thing as wool that doesn’t ITCH. I never sew with it because of that. I have super-sensitive skin. Love the accessory shots. I know how much work that is from the few I put in my blog.
    Hugs, Joy

  9. Karen says:

    Don’t you just love such a versatile dress?? It looks great however you accessorize it. I know you have a lot of “go to” dresses, but this one will surely join that group!

  10. Mrs. K says:

    I love your dress, but then I love anything in black and white ;-) You did a wonderful job on fit and, I agree, sleeveless is better, too. Have a good weekend.

  11. Tia Dia says:

    The blue suede shoes would be stellar with this dress. I love a “blank slate” dress that you can dress up/down, and never thought houndstooth could be just that!

  12. Art Attack says:

    I love it…looks perfect to me. I just ordered some brown/white houndstooth check and I’m thinking tunic time. You’ll get a lot of wear out of this little number…well done!

  13. Pendle Stitches says:

    Who know houndstooth could be so versatile? This is just lovely…and terribly chic whichever way you style it. Happy thanksgiving weekend.

  14. great dress, love houndstooth and your various styling versions. I have made that pattern and it is a winner.

  15. cjgal says:

    Very nice! That will be great for the holidays

  16. Love it with the red!! How about considering a sew for conductors – you’d be great at it? Sarah – I’m heading up to Toronto soon and going to see another great designer and I look forward to connecting you too.

  17. Ana Sullivan says:

    I love this dress. I am loving houndstooth. I have pinned your dress to my Pinterest Houndstooth board. See it here:

  18. Marie says:

    I like the dress and the different outfit.

  19. Cissie Wellons says:

    Great dress, Sarah. So many different looks! I have made this pattern before and love it — although on me it ran a bit short-waisted. Love the pockets!

  20. Miriam says:

    Love all your different looks! Looks great with each accessory, bet it would even look good with yellow accessories too. Wonderful dress on you.

  21. Laura says:

    I love this dress! What changes did you make to the muslin from the first picture to the second? I’ve had a similar fit issue and wasn’t sure how to fix it. I’m thinking I need to give this pattern a try.

    • Hi Laura! I shortened the bodice at the designated pattern line and then I folded out another 3/4 inch of bulk in the back armscye to the center back. I tried to show this in the photos but it may not be clear. The first photo shows the muslin in the process of being altered. The second shows the finished alteration and the third shows the back.
      Thanks for writing!

      • Laura says:

        Well now that I look at the pictures again I can see the alterations! It is a lot easier to see them when you know what you are looking for. Thanks! I have to shorten then bodice on everything, and it is nice to see the difference that it makes, as shown in your pictures. I think I just wasn’t shortening mine enough in the past.

  22. Victoria says:

    Lovely dress! To me this is the epitome of your style. So feminine and elegant:) I hadn’t realized how great of a canvas houndstooth is. That dress will definitely take you the distance.

  23. Valerie says:

    Love the dress. You’ve reminded me how versatile this pattern is..

  24. Louella says:

    You’re ain’t nothing but a rockin’ and stylin’ lady in this sleeveless houndstooth number!

  25. Joy says:

    Lovely dress! looks good on you and your styling options are cool!

  26. Sharon says:

    I love houndstooth and your dress is perfect. I have a cream and olive small houndstooth and you have got me thinking :)

  27. sewbusylizzy says:

    This pattern has always appealed to me… and I’ve been trying so hard not to buy anymore… oh dear.
    I love the fabric and I especially love the dress paired with a belt. Thank you for showing how versatile this dress can be!

  28. Sally says:

    Love this dress!!!! It looks perfect to me!!

  29. Jacqui says:

    Looking good Sarah – very on trend!!! I am always in search of that perfect garment; you know the one that raises the bust reduces the butt and openly stuns on first entrance ;-)

  30. Julie says:

    Such a great dress, Sarah. I love each of your stylings, especially with the coral sweater. I’ve been wanting to get to this pattern for ages and after seeing yours I surely will.

  31. Sue K says:

    I really love this dress on you, and especially love the way the houndstooth accentuates the darts/pleats. The black belts really make it pop, and I love the matching bracelet. It’s perfect.

  32. gingermakes says:

    I commented on the MSN blog already, but GIRL, this is way cute! You look amazing in it (in all three stylings!)!

  33. twotoast says:

    Your dress looks lovely- very well fitted! I think that by having it sleeveless it will work much harder in your wardrobe as your photos show. I particularly like the bight colours with it such as your pink scarf. Very classy :)

  34. velosewer says:

    Note to self: Get some houndstooth for winter or for anytime really.
    This is such a versatile and classy look on you.

  35. Pauline Droy says:

    Your dress look fabulous and from your pictures you can accessories it in so many different ways. Sure you will get to wear it lots of times before the next games start.

  36. I like your houndstooth dress! I have used that McCall pattern for two dresses. However, I have made ​​mine with sleeves as Sweden is pretty cold this time of the year. I also have a houndtooths fabric lying in my stash, a little stretchy fabric so maybe there will be a third dress. I like your black cardigan with fur too – great! It would fit in the Swedish climate.

  37. Me again – have you made the black cardigan yourself. If so, which pattern did you use?

  38. The perfect garment – my 6 years olds reckon they have found the key to perfection ….. pink or purple. How about a pink/purple houndstooth? Don’t worry, I am joking lol.

    Lovely dress and it works a treat without sleeves. When it gets colder (does it get colder where you are?) you can layer over it anyway should you need to keep the breeze from your arms, so perfect really.

  39. Love, love, love!!! Houndstooth is one of my favorite patterns (Great title for your post, btw!) and this looks like it will be so incredibly versatile. I have this pattern, so it’s great to see it sewn up so well!

    Terrific fabric choice, and beautifully done, as usual! Maybe I’ll tackle that silky houndstooth I have in my stash….

  40. Barbara says:

    Oh, how I love Houndstooth! And this is no exception. Beautiful dress! Sewn beautifully! My coat (well, it’s actually my fabric as it has not yet been cut to be called a coat, but I’m hopeful) is houndstooth. I love your dress. Great work.

  41. Ernestine says:

    Fabulous as always! Every girl should have something in houndstooth!

  42. CherryPix says:

    I’d give my eye teeth for that houndstooth! A dress with bite!

  43. lbrundage says:

    It is a FABULOUS classic! And I do love when houndstooth is brightened with pink! It’s just lovely.

  44. Javie says:

    Very stylish! I love the mix of menswear with the feminine sheath dress. I also love how you accessorized it. I have some houndstooth fabric (also from Mood) and this gives me some inspiration!

  45. Robin says:

    what a smart dress – and it looks wonderful with all the different styling options!

  46. Attagirl says:

    You got the perfect fit! Wonderful dress

  47. AncientElna says:

    Thanks very much for sharing your trials and specifically, your fitting process. I was beginning to think that you were a perfect size for every pattern you worked on! When you decided to go sleeveless, did you change the armhole shape to a squared-off one, or is that an optical illusion? It looks very elegant.

    • I am an imperfect size for every pattern with an exception here and there :) After taking the sleeves out, I just made the armholes work the best I could. Now that I look at it, the armholes looked slightly more extended on my dress than on the sleeveless envelope version (which was sewn with a different technique to begin with). Many thanks for your nice comment!

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