Easy-to-Wear Cotton Dress
Hey everyone! Well, the humidity has arrived, and so have the mosquitoes. I think it’s safe to say that we are in the throes of summer here in the Gulf Coast. Which can really only mean one thing for a gal like me - dresses. And also that my electricity bill is about to skyrocket, but we’ll save that sad tale for another day.
I pretty much live in dresses from mid-April to November. Sure, shorts might be the staple of summer for some people, but I’ll take a frock that allows for a little breeze to pass through any day – bonus points if it lacks a restricting waist seam!
While I will always worship at the altar of All Things Silk, this season I’ve really been looking to expand my dress wardrobe into some easy-to-wear fabrics, namely ones that I can throw in the dryer (real estate on my drying rack is pretty slim… it’s a seller’s market) and ideally don’t require an iron before throwing it on for work – because I’m always late for work.
So this month for my Mood Sewing Network make I was looking for ease of wearing in both my pattern and fabric. This Gray Multicolored Abstract Cotton Poplin Print from Mood Fabrics online perfectly fit the bill. I snagged this fabric earlier this year, and it’s no surprise that it, along with it’s other colorways, is now sold out. But Mood has a seriously good selection of poplin prints right now - like this one, or ooh birds, or birds AND fruit!!
This cotton poplin has a smooth, soft hand, a nice soft cotton-y drape, and best of all, when I removed it from the dryer post pre-wash, no wrinkles! Consider me sold! And you really can’t get a fabric more well-behaved than cotton. It’s just so precise to cut, sew and press. A true joy to work with.
I always planned on turning this lovely cotton with it’s abstract, painterly print into a Grainline Alder. I bought this pattern last year and somehow never got around to making it up last summer. I wasn’t about to make the same mistake this summer! I actually really surprised myself with this pattern by going for View B which features a gathered skirt inset across the back and sides. I’ve always thought of myself as someone who, when given the option, usually gravitates to the more streamlined look – but maybe that’s changing! Good to know our personal styles aren’t set in stone.
I cut a straight size 4 based on my measurements, and I think the fit is pretty good right out of the envelope, however I did add 2″ to the length. I’m getting a little bit of pulling across the chest, but not enough to make my buttons span. And speaking of buttons, I used little black buttons in the hope that they would stand out from the print. I also just love the petite little collar on this dress. Styling wise, I surprised myself again by really liking the way this dress looks all buttoned up to the top.
It’s hard to see, but there is actually a cute little pocket on there. The print is so busy it gets totally lost (especially in photographs) which is a shame, because it might be some of the prettiest edgestitching I’ve ever done! I also think this might be the nicest my gathers have ever looked. I think the trick might be to put a line of basting below the stitching line that prevents the gathers from shifting during sewing.
I kept the insides simple. A lot of the raw edges got enclosed in the yoke, button band, collar or bias facing for the armholes, but for the side and waist seam I simply serged. I didn’t even bother to match my thread!
What’s your favorite fabric and styles to wear during the warmer months? And has anyone else made some style choices lately that surprised you?