I am on a major Seamwork kick this summer, but I mean, come on – THIS PATTERN. I could make 7 and wear nothing else in this crazy heatwave. I could happily open my closet to a rainbow of this exact same dress, like some technicolor PeeWee Herman, and call it a day. I flipping love this dress.
For my birthday, I knocked up a regular, as-drafted version in bright red linen that I picked up at Joann’s the last time I was in California. I graded from a 2 at the bust, to a 4 at the waist, to a 6 at the hip, as usual. I find the darts a little long and a little high for me, which got me thinking about SBA’s (more on that it a moment), but it doesn’t bother me particularly. Also, the front vent is gorgeous and I wouldn’t be without it, but mine does feel like it takes a good deal of stress throughout the day, and I did rip it immediately (to be fair, I was kneeling to take a photo, and my dog pulled me right over) – so backstitch the bejeezus out of that end point.
I love this one exactly as is, and I’ve worn it several times already. It also made me realise that this has really skimpy fabric requirements in my size – I can get one out of a single metre if it’s wide – so more luxurious fabric is a real option. So, while it was all fresh in my mind (and, of course, on the eve of a week-long birthday trip to Cornwall), I picked up a metre of this yarn-dyed purple chambray at Rolls and Rems, to experiment a bit.
Firstly, I knew I wanted to try the button front hack from Block Paper Scissors. BUT, don’t forget, this dress was designed without a closure! As intended, it fits comfortably over my head without the buttons actually opening… so… they don’t. I’ve sewn the plackets shut at the buttons, and didn’t bother with buttonholes. Don’t tell anyone and they will never notice! The hack is a winner, and I would like to try it again. I even saw fit to use some vintage mother-of-pearl buttons I’ve been saving for years. They have the faintest purple shimmer – it’s a match made in heaven. Can you see how they’re all slightly different as well? Vintage notions are just charming.
Less successful was my “SBA”. I read online that you could remove a dart by straight up pinching it out of the pattern piece. That sounded easy enough, so I did. It looks ok, and it fits ok, but I wasn’t thinking and had to recut my facing to match. BUT, because I was using a single metre, I didn’t have enough fabric and had to use something else from stash. I also think it lowered the armhole a little too much, and I would like to go back and shorten the strap slightly now. And to make matters even worse, I stupidly added room for the button placket on both dress pieces rather than just the front (wtf?), so had to put a completely avoidable seam right down the back. I don’t think anyone would notice, and I still really love the dress, but yeah – classic bonehead error. I also topstitched my facing down on this one, and I don’t prefer it. Wouldn’t do it again for this pattern, I don’t think, even though it does keep the facing in place.
The dress is still such a winner though, that I’m thinking of making one more button front (I’m tempted by Liberty print since it’s only 1 metre!), and one more normal (black linen). It doesn’t have pockets, so I’m also thinking of making a “harvest apron” from this book I randomly picked up (Forgotten Ways for Modern Days), that I can throw on to go to the allotment without having to change for rest of my day. As for my SBA, well, it’s back to the drawing board. The girls seem to have shrunk significantly since I weaned my son in February, or it’s possibly down to my persistent bralessness, but I think it’s time for me to actually learn how to do a real SBA. Might try it with this pattern, since I know I like it, and I know it’s quick, and know it will probably be wearable even if I mess it up! Will report back if I figure that out. In the meantime, I have two great dresses. Did I mention that I love them? I did??
So that’s my “turning 35 in Cornwall” dress situation. Thanks for reading.