The “It Still Feels Like Summer” Dress
Howdy y’all! I hope everyone is enjoying their autumn, wherever you are! Here in my part of the woods it continues to feel very much like summer, and I’m not complaining — yet! I was never much of a cold-weather gal, so the mild Texas winters suit me. I decided to salute our long summers with a bright, neon orange dress! Gotta make use of this summer complexion while it lasts, right?
So, I taught myself to sew about 6 years ago, and since then it seems like there are very few fibers or fabrics that I have not worked with. What can I say, I’m a textile girl! Well! Can you believe that the one fabric I’ve never worked with (up until this dress) was ponte? Really! Ponte! It seems like such a wardrobe staple — a firm, well behaved knit, perfect for bottom weights or knit designs that require a little structure… It’s the secret pajama of fabrics! Sleek enough to be office appropriate, yet stretchy, soft, and, well, comfy! I’m not sure why I avoided ponte all these years… Perhaps it’s because pontes are often comprised of polyester, which I’ve avoided in the past, however I’ve come around to it in more recent years. Maybe it’s just because it never seemed like a particularly sexy fabric to me… who knows!
This particular Mandarin Red Light-Weight Stretch Ponte Knit is comprised of viscose, cotton and elastene. It’s light-weight, for a ponte, but it’s still pretty spongy, and opaque. The surface is very smooth with a very, very slight sheen. It’s lovely. But the real stunner is the color! I’m not sure I would name it “Mandarin Red” — to me it’s more like “High Visibility Orange”! It’s the kind of color that I don’t feel ever captures well on camera or computer monitor.
(Side note: the hem is even, I checked, I’m just standing funny in these pictures) For the pattern I decided to use the Named Patterns Beatrix Skater Dress. This was my first time working with a Named pattern and I was very pleased! I’ve always admired the fashion forward designs, and this dress in particular always stood out to me. I just love the little mock turtleneck paired with the cut-away sleeves and the godet skirt is so swishy! Even though I loved this pattern the moment I saw it, when it was released a few seasons ago, I held off making it because I wasn’t sure it would be a style that would suit me. I normally avoid dresses that are so body conscious through my torso and hips, but sometimes you just have to throw your insecurities out of the window for the sake of a cute dress!
Constructing this dress was a breeze! It came together very quickly on my serger. I was very pleased with the instructions for this — they weren’t overly hand-holding but they were clear and concise. The one area that I think I would do differently were I to make this dress again would be to stabilize the waist seam with a little elastic. The skirt of the dress is quite heavy and drags the bodice down just a smidge, thus why I’m wearing a belt in some of these photos.
The ponte was a joy to cut and sew. I hemmed the armholes and the skirt hem using my sewing machine’s triple-stitch stretch setting and it worked beautifully. Honestly, the trickiest thing about this dress was finding a bra that would work with it!
This was such a fun dress to add to my late summer wardrobe! The color is unexpected and really helps this dress stand out from the crowd!