Comfortable Summer Color-Blocking
Good afternoon, everyone! It’s officially summer down here in Texas — temperatures blazing above 90 degrees and heavy thunderstorms brewing across the state. Even better, school is out for a few months! Since most of my break will be spent putting the finishing touches on my dissertation, I opted for comfort with this month’s Mood Sewing Network piece. A comfortable, classic knit dress sounded heavenly!
Luckily, Mood Fabrics has the most divine selection of cotton jerseys. Seeing as this dress was going to be a simple silhouette, I opted to mix things up with my fabric choice. Instead of going for one color all over, I chose to color block with two midweight jerseys, Cayenne Red and Spice Orange. (Spice Orange is sadly sold out now, but this lightweight Brick jersey is very similar in color.) These fabrics are absolutely gorgeous, y’all! Thanks to their slightly heftier weight, they drape beautifully and have impressive stretch recovery. These are jerseys that feel as soft as your favorite pair of pajamas, but translate perfectly to a summer dress.
To make this casual wardrobe staple, I turned to the newest dress from Colette Patterns, the Moneta. It’s a simple knit piece with an A-line, shirred skirt and three sleeve variations. For the bodice I used the earthy Spice jersey, then combined alternating tiers of Cayenne and Spice for the skirt. It’s a relatively easy pattern hack: draw in your tiers on your original pattern, trace over them for three new pattern pieces, then add in your new seam allowances. Easy, but a fun visual effect!
Both of these fabrics were a cinch to sew with. Their recovery prevented some of the warp that can happen, when sewing a knit, though I did stabilize both the shoulders and neckline with knit stay tape. That’s not a step to skip, with even the best of fabrics, since knits can stretch out over time. The waistband is shirred with clear elastic, which will prevent any sagging there, as well. The whole dress was serged together in only a few hours’ time, though it could just have easily been sewn with a stretch stitch on a regular machine. Mid-weight jerseys sew up as easily as wovens, without any of the slide you can get in their lighter-weight cousins. That’s a relief, for those of us still harboring some knit anxieties! I can’t recommend Mood’s jerseys enough, if you’re a knit newbie.
Once finished, these jerseys combined to make my perfect summer dress: comfy, visually intriguing, and with just the right amount of swish. The shirred waistline gives body to the skirt tiers in such a fun way, reminiscent of the layered bohohemian dresses of the 1970’s. That’s not usually my decade for style inspiration, but I’ll happily take it in this case. I can’t think of a better dress to weather this steamy Texas summers! Not only will I stay cozy during those long bouts of writing, but I won’t wilt when popping out for drinks with friends. Jersey for the win!
What are you plotting for summer wardrobe staples, friends? Any knit newbies out there ready to try out some simple jersey pieces this season?