I don’t know what the climate is like where you are, but here in Tennessee we are starting to get our first signs of spring. YES! I even noticed little daffodils creeping along my fence after I finished taking these photos. The temperature is still a little deceptive when there’s no sunshine where you’re standing (it’s not *quite* warm enough to go bare legged just yet!), but it’s quite a bit of an improvement over the snow and ice storm we had last week. Spring has sprung, my friends!
And with that in mind, I give you my first warm-weather make for 2015: a sweet little shift dress, made up in one of the prettiest cotton sateens from Mood Fabrics.
Confession: while I really love the way cotton sateen looks (That beautiful, subtle shine! Those vibrant colors!), I rarely ever sew with it. I’m not really sure why – it’s super easy to work with, it’s comfortable to wear, and the prints and colors are always super gorgeous. The drape can be a little stiffer than what I like with a fabric, so maybe that’s why. I’m more of a drapey sort of girl – rayon challis, cotton voile, wool crepe, those are the fabrics that make my heart sing. So swishy! But I do love cotton sateen, and I really REALLY loved this particular pink and purple floral number (forreal, even the way they describe the colors is really delightful – raspberry sorbet and majesty purple? Don’t mind if I do!), so I bought some yardage and found a way to make it work. If pink & purple ain’t your thing (they aren’t really my thing either, usually, but see above about making it work), there are all sorts of lovely offerings on the Mood Fabrics website. See for yourself!
Anyway, back to me and my sateen – what to make with it? I knew I needed a garment with simple lines, to keep the large scale print from getting broken up. I also wanted something that would work with the structure of the drape, rather than try to fight against it. The Francoise shift dress filled both of these needs – there are raglan seams and French darts, but I don’t think it breaks up the pattern too much. And just look at that flare! I think it turned out pretty cute 🙂
Working with cotton sateen is ridiculously, almost stupidly, easy. It’s one of the better fabrics for beginners, really – it doesn’t shift around much, it doesn’t like to fray, and the slight stretch really helps with fit (and makes it extra comfy to wear 😉 ). All you really need to work with this fabric is a new needle and a nice hot iron.
Because this is such a casual dress, I kept my construction casual, too. The seams are finished with a quick serge, and there’s plenty of topstitching around the neckline, arm holes and hem. The neckline is finished with a facing, and the arm holes are finished with self bias facing. Everything – from cutting, to sewing, even down to the invisible zip and finishing the hem – was done in an afternoon. That’s the kind of fast fashion I’m talking about, amirite 🙂
I will admit, when I first finished the dress I was a little apprehensive about how it looked – purple and pink aren’t really colors I wear too much of, and I am not much of a shift dress wearing person (I think it’s the lack of waist seam that I don’t like, to be honest. Is that weird?). However, once I threw on those dreaded black tights and added a thin black belt, I was feeling MUCH better about the cuteness factor. It’s still a bit of a departure from how I normally dress these days, but it’s not a bad one 🙂