Summer is finally here which means it’s sundress time! When True Bias released the pattern for the Southport dress a few weeks ago I snatched it right up! I love the blouson silhouette and the tank style works so much better for me than thin straps.
I happened to have the perfect fabric for this – a geometric rayon challis I picked up from the “designer” section of Joann for $5/yd. Despite possibly inducing vertigo in observers, I had intended to make the maxi length until I realized it was only 44″ wide. Oops! I actually really like the short version so I’m not too disappointed.
Although my bust is bigger than the pattern should make, I looked at the finished measurements and made a straight size 18. No FBA needed. The other adjustment I made was to not make the front plackets. There’s never going to be a need to unbutton this so I did a faux placket with topstitching and just sewed the buttons on. Look Ma! No button gaping! My neckline gapes slightly so next time I make it will take a wedge out of the neckline so it lays flat.
This is a very comfortable dress to wear! It’s been in the 90’s the past few days in Portland and I’ve been keeping nice and cool. The shape really works for me and I don’t have to worry about wearing any shapewear to smooth out my lumps and bumps. I also love that it has pockets. Yay for pockets!
I can definitely see myself making more of these in a maxi version and maybe in a knit too!
When Rochelle announced Spring for Cotton I knew it was finally time to sew one of my many vintage patterns! I have a huge stash courtesy of a family friend, but they are all single sized. Since they were also the wrong size, I was reluctant to try to make them but after taking my Palmer/Pletsch class I’m much more confident about fitting and grading!
This was my original plan for the dress. I had picked up this gorgeous fuschia crossweave cotton at Josephine’s Dry Goods before the downtown location closed. It was only 43″ wide to begin with and after washing it shrunk down to under 40″ and so I didn’t have enough fabric. Boo hoo! The funny thing about the pattern is that it’s a Size 18, which is what I use but is sadly from the old sizing system so it still needed to be graded up.
I was looking for a cotton with a little more body than just a quilting cotton and I didn’t want to shell out the money for something really nice until I knew if my grading was successful. I ended up finding red cotton pique in the “Designer Fabric” section of Joann for just $5/yd. Score!
The dress is constructed by first sewing the front and back plackets which are self lined. The dress pieces are then pinned along the stitching lines and top stitched together. Sleeves were added in the usual manner.
For pattern modifications besides grading up a size. I did do an FBA on this dress. I didn’t like how dart looked so I moved the excess into the front gathers. This dress is insanely long,unhemmed it hit me at midcalf and I’m 5’7, so I didn’t worry about the uneven length created by the FBA. I also had to deepened the front neckline as it was nearly choking me. Ladies in the 60’s must have had very skinny necks!
I also ended up edge stitching down the placket. The instructions don’t call for this, but it looked unfinished to me with the edges flopping around. So I did it and I like the way it looks much better. I also omitted the back zipper, leaving the yoke section open and adding a top hook. I’ve come to realize I can pull many of my dresses over my head and zippers are unnecessary.
My favorite part of this dress must be the buttons. I went to the Button & Ribbon Emporium here in Portland to search for the perfect buttons. I pulled out tons red buttons before I came across these beauties. They are slightly translucent/iridescent and I love the swirly design on them. At nearly $3 each I spent almost as much on buttons as I did on my fabric but they were worth it!
I will eventually take some photos of me wearing this dress, but I haven’t had any time. This dress is also my first project for the 2015 Vintage Pledge.
I went back to New Jersey for the holidays. While I was at Natalie’s house she handed me some sparkly black jersey and said make me a shirt. Apparently I am the official family sewer of knits.
I was actually wearing a Coco top at the time, so I had her try it on to see what sort of size I should start with and adjustments needed so it would need to fit her and her growing tummy.
Once I got back to Portland, I had to figure out what to make. I had already hacked my altered Coco pattern to make a Renfrew-like cowl neck top with a ponte for myself, which would definitely work with the drapey jersey. But first I need to fix that neckline. The first version had too wide of a neckline for the cowl, so I retraced the pattern and set about altering it again. This time i made the neckline narrower and deeper – more like a Renfrew.
Once that was done it was a matter of measuring the neck opening and cutting a rectangle to fit. I recall that the Renfrew cowl is 2 pieces, but I cut a single rectangle and folded it half. So the only cowl seams are on the center back and along the neckline.
You may wonder why not just use the Renfrew pattern? The answer is that I really love the fit of my altered Coco. Its very flattering – fitting nicely across the bust while skimming over my middle. Renfrew just didn’t fit me that well and I haven’t gotten around to modifying it yet, so it’s easier to just add a cowl then refit the whole pattern.
I love how this turned out. I added some length and width to the pattern to make it work as a maternity top. I think the the cowl neck looks great and balances out the sparkly fabric. This is also the most professional looking garment I’ve ever made!