There are some fabrics you have to buy. They scream your name from across a store (or website, in this case), demanding that you take them home and turn them into a garment that is perfectly you. Y’all, this Very Berry Floral Cotton from Mood Fabrics is that fabric, for me. I mean, just look at it! It’s brightly colored, full of swishy body, and covered in flowers. This light, airy cotton is deeply feminine, but still very grown-up, thanks to the watercolor quality of the flowers. This is fabric love, y’all.
So, of course, I turned it into a sundress.
With the full heat of summer upon us in the Northern Hemisphere, light, airy dresses are in heavy wardrobe rotation. Since this cotton is both lightweight and floaty–closest to a voile, I’d say–it worked perfectly for that purpose. A lining was a must, thanks to its slight translucence, and I wanted a design that would show a bit of summer skin. Enter my old standby pattern Simplicity 1873. It would make the perfect base, for my platonic sundress.
While I love the original pattern, I changed it up quite a bit, to better fit the vision I had. First up, I turned the scooped neck into a lightly curved v-neck, for a psuedo-plunging neckline. Then, I added a little kimono-style cap sleeve, finished with small bias bands of fabric. Finally, I subbed out the pleated skirt of S1873 for a lightly gathered skirt that hits me just below the knees. Tada! A summer sundress that’s a cut above my usual silhouette.
When it came to construction, this project was a joy to sew up. Like most cotton wovens, this fabric was super easy to work with. It didn’t really fray and pressed beautifully. For the lining, I chose a lightweight batiste from my stash, in a lemon yellow polka dot. It coordinates with my floral fabric quite well, but is thin enough not to add too much weight to the dress.
Technique wise, there’s nothing terribly fancy in this dress. There’s a lapped zipper in the back, which I hand-picked into place, and big roomy pockets to store cell phones and peppermints. For the neckline, I added stay tape, so it wouldn’t stretch out of place. To finish out, the outer layer also has a hand-sewn hem, while the lining’s hem was top-stitched in place by machine. Really simple, all around. That’s the great thing about cotton sundresses, isn’t it? They’re so striking when worn, but relatively easy to put together.
After finishing this dress, late last month, I’ve already worn it three or four times. The fit is spot-on for me, thanks to using a properly adjusted base pattern, and the fabric is just such fun to wear. It’s the perfect dress for a bright, sunny day! Even better, it dresses up and down really easily. Summer wedding? Bright belt and nude heels. Lazy Sunday BBQ? Cute sandals and sunglasses. If there’s one thing I love more than a floral dress, it’s a floral dress that works for practically any occasion. That counts as a sewing success, in my book. More detail shots and construction information will be up on my blog, tomorrow!
What’s in heavy wardrobe rotation for y’all, this month? What garments do you reach for, when those temperatures start to spike?