Denim Malvarosa Dress

Malvarosa 1

Hi Everbody! I am super behind on my blog reading, my blog comment responding, and my sewing! Thank goodness for Instagram keeping me connected to my fellow sewing people when I’m busy with the kids in the Summer. I finally got a little time to turn on the computer and do a few things since Caroline is asleep and my oldest son, Luke is off having fun with grandparents.  I am excited to show you my newest dress, another Malvarosa from Pauline Alice Patterns.

Malvarosa 2

Malvarosa 3

I love my first Malvarosa, but I have never been happy with the way the cap sleeves look on me. I think I really needed a forward shoulder adjustment to get the curve of the sleeve more in line with my actual body. Unfortunately, I don’t think I knew that a forward shoulder adjustment existed when I made that dress. I wore that Malvarosa dress on the last day of Me Made May this year and remembered how much I like the style. I decided I wanted to try to modify the dress into a basic tank style, which I thought would be a lot more wearable.

Malvarosa 4


I modified my pattern piece just based on folding the cap sleeve on my first dress and eyeballing the pattern piece to try to duplicate the armscye. I cut out the dress from some lightweight denim from Joann and then let it sit in a bag for 6 weeks. I finally got around to sewing it a couple of weeks ago. Instead of using facings for the neck and armscyes, as in the original pattern, I cut bias bindings from some Liberty of London scraps. I love knowing that there is something special inside this basic-from-the-outside dress.

Malvarosa 5

I finished the dress and wore it once before deciding that the armscyes needed to be opened up a little bit more. They felt a little restrictive and I wanted to love this dress so I forced myself to unpick the bindings, open the armscyes by about 3/8″, and then re-sew it. The adjustment didn’t take too long and I’m so glad I did it right away instead of letting it fester unworn in my closet. I am really pleased with the fit now!

Malvarosa 6


Malvarosa 7

I did make one completely ridiculous error when I was modifying the pattern/cutting the fabric– I forgot to do a forward shoulder adjustment after I reshaped the armholes! (What?! Wasn’t that the whole point of remaking the dress, you big dope?? Yep, it was.) I didn’t realize it until it was far too late and there was no way to fix it without starting all over again. The dress fits fine, but it annoys me that the shoulder seam is sitting back behind the highest point of my shoulder. I am not sure how many drop waist dresses a person needs, but I have modified my pattern to include a forward shoulder adjustment should I make this dress again.

Malvarosa 8


Malvarosa 9

So other than that shoulder seam issue I love this dress and I think in this basic fabric I will be able to wear it year round. It’s great with sandals in the hot weather and I think I will look cute with a sweater and boots in the fall and winter.  I’m really glad I got around to making another one, finally!







19 thoughts on “Denim Malvarosa Dress

  1. It’s adorable and looks great on you! I think your adjustments were really successful – good on you for not procrastinating opening up that armscye. Those kind of adjustments seem like they will take longer, the longer you put them off.

    Also, I can empathize with your forgetting to do the shoulder adjustment – I have done the very same thing. In my case the shoulders really bugged me, so I ended up taking them apart, reducing the front and then piecing a little strip onto the back shoulder. You end up with two seams but I found the result much more comfortable – and on your fabric it wouldn’t be noticeable. Anyway, it’s a great dress.


    1. Thanks, Masha! I actually thought about adding a piece like you mentioned but didn’t do it. I totally should have but no way am I unpicking the arm bindings again (and I would have to do the neck binding, too!) I should have thought about it a little more before I went past the point of no return. Oh well, I hope I won’t forget such a common adjustment again.


  2. Gah, you look so cute! A denim dress is genius! I love your alteration to make the dress sleeveless. It reminds me of Mingo and Grace’s Charlie dress now, so you can be matchy-matchy with Caroline if that’s ever your thing!


    1. Thanks, Fiona! I haven’t gotten the Charlie dress pattern yet– I think she may still be too small for the smallest size, but I should check. I think it’s such an adorable pattern and I have a piece of double gauze set aside for my first one. I should get some of this same denim, too, so we can be matching!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This dress looks great in denim, so versatile for different seasons. The pockets in the ruffle are super, I love them. Shame about the shoulder issues but I’m sure no one else would notice but if like me it becomes a bug bear. I think you could definitely have another in you wardrobe.


    1. Thanks, Lynsey! I may end up sewing another one at some point to replace the one with the weird cap sleeves. I am going to try to ignore the shoulder issue on this one for as long as I can!


  4. This look is so cute on you!! The denim, the sandals… perfect! I should totally make this pattern sometime. I’ve always thought the drop waist wouldn’t work on me, but it looks like such a fun dress!


    1. Thanks, Lisa! I was a little unsure about the drop waist on my pear shape when I made the first one, but I was pleasantly surprised that it looked better than I expected. It’s so comfortable and easy to wear. I think you’d like it!


  5. Teri, I love everything about this dress! (OK, I will admit that the LIberty bias tape is my very favorite bit, hehehe!) I never really looked at this pattern because I just assumed it wouldn’t suit my pear-shaped body. But it looks so great on you! I’m going to keep it in mind for future (I won’t commit to adding it to my list because my Spring/Summer list was 6 pages long and I only sewed about 3 things, LOL!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Gail! I love the Liberty bias tape, too. I can totally relate to the overly long sewing list. I didnt get to much of my Summer sewing list– we will see how I do with my Fall/Winter list!


  6. This dress is perfect (even if you didn’t remember the forward shoulder. I’ve done that before too. LOL). And really how can you go wrong with denim and liberty bias binding? I’m feeling much like you are, I’m having such a hard time keeping up with my blogroll, but I always seem to have time for Instagram. 😉


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