I love summer – warm weather (sometimes!), sunshine, flowers blooming, long days and relaxed evenings. It all makes me happy. 🙂
Know what else makes me happy? Dresses! In particular, summer dresses. Yes indeed!
And so, it seems only appropriate that my first make on the blog this year is… a summer dress. (Surprise!)
This months theme over on The Monthly Stitch is ‘Cheers for New Years’ – choose your favourite beverage as inspiration for something to sew. While pondering which drink to use for inspiration, my eye was caught by this multi-pink-toned quilting cotton from Minerva. The colours and squiggly design immediately made me think – strawberry milkshake! (Which is, after all, a rather fantastic drink for summertime.)
Inspiration and fabric decision made, the next choice was… which pattern to use? (Obviously, it would have to be a dress. Because, dresses.) With the directional print of the fabric, I thought it would be fun to make something that could use that as a feature – the Sylvie dress by Christine Haynes. It’s a fun summer dress, and features a wide band under the bust – perfect for mixing up a print direction for contrast.
Size-wise, I made a size 6 at the bust, grading out to a size 10 at the waist and hip. Officially, my high bust measurement put me at a size 8 in the bust, but going by the finished garment measurements I felt that would be too much ease for my personal preferences.
(And here’s where I made a dumb mistake. Firstly, do not cut out fabric when tired and upset. Secondly, when grading between waist and bust and there is a wide underbust band involved, remember to grade the band as well as the upper bust piece! Yes, there was a lot of unpicking involved to take it and correct that one. Whoops!)
As with all patterns, I lowered the bust darts – in this case, by 2cm.
I didn’t have enough fabric to make the dirndl skirt variation of the dress, so instead I extended the skirt out by 8cm on either side at the hem, and angled the side seams to meet, to create a gentle A-line shape. (My walking style is not conducive to wearing straight skirts. Long legs, long strides, seams rip….!) I also added 1″ at the skirt hem because – tall.
Another change – pockets! I added simple in-seam pockets to each side seam. 🙂
The pattern sewed up nicely – quick and easy, with a nice and neat finish where the wide band meets the upper bodice as it’s self faced on the inside. The neck and armholes are finished with bias binding (the pattern has a piece for cutting a self-bias facing, but I didn’t have quite enough fabric so used a purchased pale pink bias binding instead).
I also used a white polyester hem binding on the skirt – normallly I use Hug Snug, but thought I’d branch out this time and try a different type. (It worked fine for the hem, but it’s quite stiff and a bit rough, so I wouldn’t recommend it for seams that sit next to your skin. I’ll be sticking with the lovely soft Hug Snug for those!)
I must admit though, I’m a bit on the fence about the final dress. I’m not 100% sure that it suits me?!? It’s mainly the colour I’m unsure of – is it too pale? (Normally I go for bolder colours, but when viewed from a little bit of a distance, the colours on this kind of blend together into something a lot closer to a pastel shade….)
And another confession – I made another mistake when cutting out, that I didn’t realise right up until the end. (Yep, that lesson again – don’t cut out fabric when distracted!) I forgot to do my usual SBA. *hangs head in shame* And with this style of bodice, that’s even more obvious than usual! So there is far too much fabric in the bust of the front upper bodice. *sigh* I’m currently debating whether to recut the upper front bodice (I think I may have just enough fabric to do that?!) and fix it, or not. What do you think – is the colour and style working enough for me to bother unpicking and fixing? Or should I just give this one up as a lost cause and give it away instead? I have lost perspective on this one due to my annoyance at my own stoopid mistake when cutting out. Gah.
But hey – it’s a summer dress! And there are roses in the background, and I have a big milkshake cup! Yay! 🙂