Hello-and-Goodbye Summer Dress

While the Northern hemisphere waves goodbye to another summer… I’m waaaay down in the Southern hemisphere in Australia, waiting for mine to arrive. I confess I am rather spoilt… we took these photos mid-August on a quiet local beach while walking the dog and I wasn’t cold, it was a beautiful day.

Spring is nearly here & a sundress is an eminently sensible way to celebrate!

New Look 6048 - my Hello & Goodbye Summer Dress.

New Look 6048 – my Hello & Goodbye Summer Dress. Grinning like a goose as the waves catch me unawares!

Once I spotted this beautiful black & white lightweight stretch cotton on the Mood Fabrics website I was head over heels in love. I love a classic black/white print, however it’s the pop of aqua that makes this fabric gorgeous. Mood was most helpful in pairing it with a beautiful contrast cotton sateen for me, this one is Hawaiian Ocean Blue Stretch Cotton Sateen.

I love this combination it is light, bright and summery. I also have a particular fondness for cotton sateens. They are marvellously easy to sew with and endlessly versatile, perfect for dresses, trousers, jackets and more. Not to mention coming in a wide variety of gorgeous colours and prints!

White-Black Lightweight Stretch Cotton Print from Mood Fabrics

White-Black Lightweight Stretch Cotton Print from Mood Fabrics

This fabric is lovely quality and a generous 58 inches wide, giving you lots of room to play – perfect for very wide skirts or circle skirts. It has a touch of lycra which adds a bit of crosswise stretch to the fabric – hello comfortable sundress!

I had planned to make a Vogue Vintage frock… however I kept coming back to New Look 6644 and in the end I gave into my instincts. The pattern itself is easy to sew, which isn’t why I chose it, I simply love a sweetheart neckline!

I decided to fully line this dress with some cotton lawn from my stash, Mood has a similar fabric here. I always have several metres stashed as it seems to be useful for all manner of projects.

Lining a dress might seem onerous or double the sewing time, I find lined dresses last longer, wear better and crease less. I also often make the lining to test the fit. It’s an excellent timesaver because if it does indeed fit… you are half way there!

New Look 6048 - fully lined

New Look 6048 – fully lined. I like my lining to be several centimetres shorter than my shell, I’m not one for peekaboo hemlines.

If you are considering lining this particular dress, when you line the bodice you just need to layer the shell and lining wrong sides together. The top contrast band is then attached to both fabrics along the neckline on the wrong side then turned over to the front of the dress and slip-stitched down. It’s a very simple and neat finish.

I also decided to give the dress a little more structure by adding some lightweight boning to the lining seams. Mood Fabrics has some fabric covered boning here, as it is a sundress I don’t think you want very rigid or structured boning. I love how the dress sits with a some added soft structure and shape.

New Look 6048 sewn in White-Black Lightweight Stretch Cotton Print for Mood Fabrics

Side view – New Look 6048

I opted to use a white invisible zipper for this dress. I did worry for a little while about the white zipper tab showing at the top of the dress… however I actually really like the white contrast against the aqua and decided to leave it white rather than painting it with nail polish to conceal it.

New Look 6048 - back view

New Look 6048 – back view

Cotton sateen and stretch cotton are just lovely to sew with. They have a little more weight than a basic poplin and are far more forgiving to sew. Not to mention the slightly lovely sheen that the fabrics possess, giving a humble sundress a little more wow.

I would advise not ignoring those pattern instructions advising you to staystitch your edges, the lycra stretch does need to be contained as you don’t want a gaping neckline! I think this pattern is particularly suited to cotton sateen as the neckline is staystitched, stitched and then understitched… AND the contrast band is interfaced, making it far less likely to stretch out.

Now I’m off to sit out the final days of my winter… and embrace some welcome warmth and sunshine. I am one of those people guilty of clinging to their summer dresses as autumn approaches and wearing them in the fading days of winter, teamed with cardigans and jackets in a desperate bid to pretend the colder days will soon be gone…. I’m not the only one that does that… am I?

… I think I have just enough of this amazing fabric to whip up a print summer blazer with aqua highlights… *trots off to sewing room again*

Fabrics from Mood Fabrics NY: White-Black Lightweight Stretch Cotton Print (1 7/8 yard) & Hawaiian Ocean Blue Stretch Cotton Sateen (1/4 yard)
Pattern: New Look 6048 (I made size 6)





  • Sue @ A Colourful Canvas
    August 28, 2014

    Okay, I just have to say that making the lining first as a method to check fit is genius! Thanks ever so much for sharing!

    Lovely, lovely dress and what a beautiful setting!

    • Sew Busy Lizzy
      August 30, 2014

      I don’t think I’m the first one to think of it – but as I hate muslins it’s certainly the best solution!

  • Ginger
    August 28, 2014

    What a cute dress! It’s a perfect way to welcome summer! I’m not one to wear summer dresses out of season- I hate both tights and cardigans, so I do a total wardrobe swap after cooler weather sets in. 🙂

    • Sew Busy Lizzy
      August 30, 2014

      I know it’s sickening but I rarely wear tights either 🙂 I favour boots throughout winter. In fact my work wardrobe doesn’t change much at all – just a long-sleeved top under a dress and boots!

  • Ann T.
    August 28, 2014

    I love the idea of making a “muslin” by sewing the lining first. Brilliant!

    • Sew Busy Lizzy
      August 30, 2014

      Thank you – it is particularly easy to do when sewing with cottons. Fast and easy!

  • Chris Griffin
    August 28, 2014

    I wear knee high boots with my summer dresses. Then cardigans and boots. Then tights, cardi and boots. Which means I’m comfy for a Loooong time in my happy summer dresses 🙂

    • Sew Busy Lizzy
      August 30, 2014

      I love clothes that can be worn all year round. I’m quite fortunate with my weather and rely on boots & jackets to get me through winter.

  • Mary Danielson
    August 29, 2014

    This is absolutely beautiful, Lizzy! I adore the coordinated pop of blue. Boning the bodice was such a great idea–it fits you to a tee! Also, count me in for clinging to summer. I layer up like crazy, just to keep wearing sundresses!

    • Sew Busy Lizzy
      August 30, 2014

      I love boning, especially the lightweight variety. It’s such a simple way to add shape to a dress without making it uncomfortable. Thank you x

  • Sallie
    August 29, 2014

    Oh Lizzy this is gorgeous! I love the fit on you! What a lovely way to welcome in summer! And I agree with everyone else – sewing your lining first to test the fit is genius! Must remember that one! Summer is such a long season here, and I enjoy sewing summer dresses SO much that most of my closet ends up being summer wear! So yes, I definitely try to layer up for winter to get the most out of my handmade lovelies!

    • Sew Busy Lizzy
      August 30, 2014

      Thanks Sallie – we have a lot in common gallery openings and warm weather – lucky gals!

  • Gwen Gyldenege
    August 29, 2014

    I love the dress and the fabrics. Wow! The pop of color in the black and white print is so unexpected and cheerful! It would be super fun with a red cardi.

    • Sew Busy Lizzy
      August 30, 2014

      I know, the fabric is just lovely. I adore abstract black and white florals and once I spotted that aqua highlight I was sold!

  • Fiona
    August 30, 2014

    Lovely style on you Lizzie and gorgeous lining! It looks like it would be so nice to wear. Great job at picking out the teal in the print with that panel at the neckline. I think it’s little touches like that that make a project really special

  • Lori
    September 1, 2014

    I love this dress on you, Lizzie, the pop of the bright blue is an excellent choice.

  • Peter
    September 2, 2014

    Beautiful sundress — inside and out! Love the print you chose.

  • Sandra (Sewist-Stitch)
    September 4, 2014

    That fabric I have on my Mood Board – I was in love immediately, however the shipping makes it really pricey for a cotton sateen (which I love, and would definitely be a fabric of choice many times over). A great dress.

  • Cennetta
    September 18, 2014

    Lovely summer dress. It fits you to a T.