The “It Still Feels Like Summer” Dress

Safety Orange Ponte | Named Beatrix Skater 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?

Safety Orange Ponte | Named Beatrix Skater Dress

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!

Safety Orange Ponte | Named Beatrix Skater Dress

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.

Safety Orange Ponte | Named Beatrix Skater Dress
Safety Orange Ponte | Named Beatrix Skater Dress

(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!

Safety Orange Ponte | Named Beatrix Skater Dress

Safety Orange Ponte | Named Beatrix Skater 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.

Safety Orange Ponte | Named Beatrix Skater Dress

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!

Safety Orange Ponte | Named Beatrix Skater Dress

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!

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Comments


  • PsychicSewerKathleen
    October 26, 2016

    Beautiful! I love ponte too 🙂 I just finished a bias skirt using a drapey yet fairly robust navy rayon ponte and absolutely love it. Beautiful dress !

    • Sallie
      October 26, 2016

      Thank you Kathleen! I think I’ll have to make a few more ponte additions to my wardrobe – such a wonderfully practical fabric! A couple skirts sound like JUST the ticket!

  • Somelikeithaute
    October 26, 2016

    Such a beautiful make, and it looks so good on you! Thank you for introducing me to Named Patterns! There are just a couple of things I would suggest for next time. (Apologies in advance as I know you didn’t ask for my critique, but here goes.) You could definitely rock a shorter dress, so to give yourself a longer look, I would raise the hem to just above the knee, or higher if you’re comfortable. Also, you’ve got that pretty little back curve (called that unfortunate name: swayback) so material can bunch up around the low-waist/high back-hip. Do a swayback adjustment where, in the paper pattern or muslin, you pinch out the extra material in a horizontal dart from center-back, ending at nothing at the sides. That should give you a beautifully smooth back. Best wishes, and keep up the great work!

    • Sallie
      October 26, 2016

      Thank you! Yes, I wasn’t sold on the length once I saw the pictures, either. Normally I prefer a midi length, but this is not quite midi, and not really knee length. But I wouldn’t want to lose that fun flare of the hem, so perhaps taking some length out at the hip level would work? And I’m never sure when I actually need a swayback adjustment, or if it’s just my posture! But I do seem to have a lot of excess fabric on the back of this make, so that will definitely be something I change if I make another version in the future. Thanks again for your keen eye and input!

  • Girls in the Garden
    October 26, 2016

    I love this dress on you the color and shape are fantastic. Wear those body conscious styles all you can, you look fantastic and someday you will be 50 and wish you had more!

    • Sallie
      October 28, 2016

      LOL! Thank you Lori! That’s what I try to tell myself anytime I feel sort of self conscious in a particular style “Well, you’re only getting older and you’re never gonna look better than you do now, so wear it with confidence!” I’m hoping with that mindset I’ll still be wearing miniskirts when I’m 90!!!

  • Fiona
    October 27, 2016

    I love the shape and colour of this on you Sallie! It’s really interesting to read your thoughts on ponte as I never really sew with it either. I tried it a couple of times years back but neither project was entirely successful and i didn’t enjoy working with or wearing the fabric that I had. I think they were probably cheap polyester versions so maybe I should give it another try with a better quality bit of yardage from Mood!

    • Sallie
      October 28, 2016

      Yes, I think the quality of ponte can make all the difference. I remember owning a few pairs of polyester ponte RTW pieces and finding them horribly prickly, but this stuff is so smooth and soft. And the fact that it’s a bit more stable and thicker than other knits makes it pretty versatile. You should give it a shot!

  • Erica Bunker
    October 27, 2016

    I love that fabric! I made dresses for my daughter and I out of it. I agree, Mandarin Red was a strange name for that color. It’s very much Auburn University orange! I found that a racer back T-shirt bra in nude worked great with that fabric because it is more translucent than most pontes.

    • Sallie
      October 28, 2016

      The dress you made out of this fabric TOTALLY made me snatch up this fabric! You looked incredible in it! I was even going to copy the pattern you used too, but then decided to go with this Named pattern, which has a similar sleeve and neckline. So, basically I was copying you! LOL!

  • Amanda S.
    October 27, 2016

    The cutaway sleeveless style makes your arms and shoulders look amazing! I like the fit and color and love the length. Even if you like shorter or longer skirts, I find it really fun to have a nice variety of lengths in my closet. Plus, it’s hard to look season appropriate in south Texas, and I think the length combined with the high neckline hints at fall while still keeping you comfortable temperature wise.

    • Sallie
      October 28, 2016

      Yes! Exactly! I find this time of year so hard to dress for! It’s still warm but I’m ready to start hinting at fall. The high neckline definitely does that.

  • Cennetta
    October 27, 2016

    Well, Sallie, ponte knit suits you. This dress is so cute and you are radiant in it. Love the silhouette all the way around.

    • Sallie
      October 28, 2016

      Oh thank you so much, Cennetta!!