A Springy Cotton Sateen Shift Dress

I don’t know what the climate is like where you are, but here in Tennessee we are starting to get our first signs of spring. YES! I even noticed little daffodils creeping along my fence after I finished taking these photos. The temperature is still a little deceptive when there’s no sunshine where you’re standing (it’s not *quite* warm enough to go bare legged just yet!), but it’s quite a bit of an improvement over the snow and ice storm we had last week. Spring has sprung, my friends!

And with that in mind, I give you my first warm-weather make for 2015: a sweet little shift dress, made up in one of the prettiest cotton sateens from Mood Fabrics.

Francoise Dress

Confession: while I really love the way cotton sateen looks (That beautiful, subtle shine! Those vibrant colors!), I rarely ever sew with it. I’m not really sure why – it’s super easy to work with, it’s comfortable to wear, and the prints and colors are always super gorgeous. The drape can be a little stiffer than what I like with a fabric, so maybe that’s why. I’m more of a drapey sort of girl – rayon challis, cotton voile, wool crepe, those are the fabrics that make my heart sing. So swishy! But I do love cotton sateen, and I really REALLY loved this particular pink and purple floral number (forreal, even the way they describe the colors is really delightful – raspberry sorbet and majesty purple? Don’t mind if I do!), so I bought some yardage and found a way to make it work. If pink & purple ain’t your thing (they aren’t really my thing either, usually, but see above about making it work), there are all sorts of lovely offerings on the Mood Fabrics website. See for yourself!

Francoise Dress

Anyway, back to me and my sateen – what to make with it? I knew I needed a garment with simple lines, to keep the large scale print from getting broken up. I also wanted something that would work with the structure of the drape, rather than try to fight against it. The Francoise shift dress filled both of these needs – there are raglan seams and French darts, but I don’t think it breaks up the pattern too much. And just look at that flare! I think it turned out pretty cute 🙂

Working with cotton sateen is ridiculously, almost stupidly, easy. It’s one of the better fabrics for beginners, really – it doesn’t shift around much, it doesn’t like to fray, and the slight stretch really helps with fit (and makes it extra comfy to wear 😉 ). All you really need to work with this fabric is a new needle and a nice hot iron.

Francoise Dress

Francoise Dress

Because this is such a casual dress, I kept my construction casual, too. The seams are finished with a quick serge, and there’s plenty of topstitching around the neckline, arm holes and hem. The neckline is finished with a facing, and the arm holes are finished with self bias facing. Everything – from cutting, to sewing, even down to the invisible zip and finishing the hem – was done in an afternoon. That’s the kind of fast fashion I’m talking about, amirite 🙂

Francoise Dress

I will admit, when I first finished the dress I was a little apprehensive about how it looked – purple and pink aren’t really colors I wear too much of, and I am not much of a shift dress wearing person (I think it’s the lack of waist seam that I don’t like, to be honest. Is that weird?). However, once I threw on those dreaded black tights and added a thin black belt, I was feeling MUCH better about the cuteness factor. It’s still a bit of a departure from how I normally dress these days, but it’s not a bad one 🙂

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Comments


  • Mary Beth
    March 9, 2015

    Darling fabric, I hadn’t seen this one before, and it’s definitely fab in a dress.

  • Jenna
    March 9, 2015

    Francioise is such a lovely pattern! I’ve got 2 Francioise dresses now – but what I should have done with my last one, is made one out of fabric with a bit of stretch! Ah – well – lesson learned!

    Your dress and the pattern of it looks lovely! I’m glad you got the domain issues sorted.

    • Lladybird
      March 11, 2015

      Oh yeah, my muslin was made of non-stretch and that made me realize the importance of the stretch – makes all the difference in comfort! That being said – I mean, obviously you’ll just have to buy more fabric and make more. For science, right 😉

      And thank you! I must say, I’m very happy to be back and running on the internet haha 🙂

  • sallie
    March 10, 2015

    Oh what a lovely little dress! I love the Francoise pattern, and I think these colors are really very pretty on you! This is a great spring dress!

    • Lladybird
      March 11, 2015

      Thank you so much, Sallie! Hoping this dress will help coax in the spring a little faster 🙂 haha!

  • Cennetta
    March 10, 2015

    Cute dress, Lauren. Looks great on you. I might have to get a few yards of that fabric myself. 😉

    • Lladybird
      March 11, 2015

      Thanks, Cennetta! Ooh, you should get some of this fabric – the colors would look AMAZING on you!

  • Fiona
    March 11, 2015

    This is such a great print and silhouette on you Lauren! Love that lilac zip!

    • Lladybird
      March 11, 2015

      Thank you, Fiona! Can you believe that zip was in my stash!? I don’t even remember buying it (I pretty much never wear lilac), but it’s such a perfect match for this fabric. Fate 🙂

  • Peter
    March 11, 2015

    I love that 60’s silhouette on you, Lauren — you have a slightly “subversive suburban housewife” vibe in that print and with your hair. Fun!

    • Lladybird
      March 13, 2015

      Ha that’s such a good way of putting it! Thank you, Peter!

  • Lori
    March 11, 2015

    This is a different look for you but I love the fabric style and dress on you. Of course, Lauren, you would look cute in anything!

    • Lladybird
      March 13, 2015

      Haha thank you, Lori. Likewise to you as well 🙂

  • Sarah Gunn
    March 12, 2015

    Really cute, Lauren! You look great in these colors!

    • Lladybird
      March 13, 2015

      Thank you, Sarah! 🙂

  • Ginger
    March 12, 2015

    Love this shape on you! You should wear it more often! 🙂

    • Lladybird
      March 13, 2015

      I’m going to try to make it a point to! What is life if you can’t change up your silhouette every now and again amirite 🙂

  • Sew Busy Lizzy
    March 12, 2015

    I love big strong floral prints, they look so modern! It’s nice to see you in some bright colours and I think this shift style suits you.

    • Lladybird
      March 13, 2015

      Thanks, Lizzy! It feels good to be back in bright colors – something about winter makes me want to revert back to my inner goth, with all the blacks and greys. But spring for me (and, well, summer too!) is ALL ABOUT bright colors 😀

  • Sarah Wilson
    March 18, 2015

    Fab dress, love that print.