Blockprinted Catalina Dress

Blockprinted Catalina Dress: Elizabeth Made This

Hey all,

Today I’m writing my first post over at the Monthly Stitch Collective for Indie Sew Month. I barely squeezed in my Blank Slate Pattern’s Catalina Dress with blockprinted jacks, but I did it. You can head on over to The Monthly Stitch to see my project there.

Blockprinted Catalina Dress

I started with Blank Slate Pattern’s Catalina Dress.  I was originally drawn to it because I’m cheap when it comes to dresses, and I appreciate that this pattern requires very little in the way of fabric.  For me, I’d way rather spend money on a 1 2/3 yards of fabric required for this vs. having to buy 3-4 yards of a poorer quality fabric required for so many dress patterns.  If Liberty ever makes jersey in my color palette, this pattern will be the one I reach for.

As for pattern details, I love the cut on cap sleeves on this pattern.  This kind of sleeve looks great on everyone and they’re so easy to sew.  Also, the pockets are fantastic.  Between the comfort factor and always need a place to stash my keys, a garment without pockets always makes me feel like I’m missing something.  Surely I’m not the only one who has dropped keys on the ground because I was reaching for pockets that weren’t there.

catalina dress
Everyone wears their dresses lining side out, right? It’s the “need more coffee” look.

For my version of this dress, I started with a lovely green knit I picked up at Mood in LA last year.  If I remember correctly, it’s a rayon cotton jersey.  It’s got a great smooth hand, but it’s a little sheer as jerseys can often be.  Thankfully, I had a thin mesh knit in my stash to line the skirt, and I cut up an old camisole to line the bodice, sewing the straps into the seam allowance of each shoulder where they intersected.

The dress came together easily due to the great instructions.  I changed a couple of things from the instructions.

catalina dress
First, I bound the neckline and armholes with strips of stretch lace.  The pattern calls for bias tape, which would work great if you made this dress with a woven.  I chose the stretch lace because it was the perfect color and because bias tape would have shown from the right side due to the sheerness of my particular jersey.
I also waited to trim the seam allowance on the waist seam until after I sewed the casing (which I sewed onto the bodice, not the skirt per the line drawing).  Because I lined my dress, I was dealing with 2 extra layers of bulk, and I wanted to give myself more of a chance to actually catch all of the layers in the casing when I  formed it by stitching from the right side.  This worked out well.

catalina dress
On the pockets, I sewed 4 rows of topstitching, two rows of straight stitches inside of 2 rows that used my asterisk stitch on my Janome.  I like the added texture of the asterisk, and it plays into the pattern for my blockprint.
I chose to print my dress after I sewed it.  I figured it would save me time in pattern matching across seams.  I also had plenty of fabric leftover since this dress requires so little fabric, so I wanted to have unprinted yardage for other projects.

catalina dress
I carved a stamp of a jack from a small linoleum scrap and my Speedball cutters.
catalina dress
For printing, I set up a card table with a layer of old towels covered with a vinyl tablecloth for my printing surface.  I stuffed the dress with strips of cardboard between the lining and the jersey.  I painted white screenprinting ink with a small paintbrush onto the stamp to print each jack.  I set a yardstick across my dress from left shoulder to the right hem corner as a guide then printed the jacks at 3″ intervals on either side of the yardstick.  I offset each row so that a jack was roughly in the middle of the two jacks in the adjacent row.  I kept moving the yardstick around the dress to get the successive rows, stopping for drying time as needed.  I heat set the ink with my iron without steam.

catalina dress

The cardboard helped me get nice clear impressions.  As a kid, I painted a lot of t-shirts with cardboard t-shirt forms and I always loved how the cardboard kept the fabric nice and stable as you worked.


The clarity got off in a few places, like the waist seam where there’s extra bulk, but for my first go at really printing on jersey, I’m happy with how it turned out.

catalina dress

Mostly, I love how comfortable and girly this dress is.  Why, oh, why haven’t I sewn more summer-friendly dresses like this?!  And I’m so glad I decided to line it.  It’s so nice to be able to grab a dress, toss on a scarf and go without having to bother with finding a slip/making sure that the slip doesn’t show/fiddling to get the slip to lay right etc.

catalina dress
I match the kitchen table!

   Here’s my Catalina Dress review.

Elizabeth Made This

Let’s keep the conversation going!  Check out my sewing dreams and inspiration on Pinterest, and keep up to date on my projects on Instagram and Facebook.


Light Chic

9 thoughts on “Blockprinted Catalina Dress”

  1. Elizabeth you are such an inspiratation! I love reading your posts! Love the idea about using the stretch lace for binding. The dress is so gorgeous!

    1. elizabethmadethis

      Thanks Linda! I LOVE how the stretch lace worked on the neckline…it’s got the elasticity of stretch elastic in the neckline, but it’s so much easier to work with.

  2. Wow! The printing and the sewing are both just beautiful. I love how your projects are always so unique and give me ideas for different techniques to try! Your blog is such a joy!

  3. OMG, I love your print. and the asterisk-stitch edging is inspiring! I’m all for summer dresses too. They’re so easy and fun to wear. Yours is perfect.

    1. elizabethmadethis

      Toss it on and go. For all of the layering that’s required during the rest of the year, it’s good to have a anything goes sort of season that only needs one layer.

  4. Pingback: Summer pajamas and tees - Elizabeth Made This

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