I spent the '80s and '90s wearing skirts and dresses every day to work, so I'm at the point in my life where I'll opt for pants and jeans whenever I can. But nothing beats a breezy dress on a hot summer day, and that's why I made this dress. (Plus I thought the finished version of it in the April/May issue of Vogue Patterns magazine looked great; see scanned photo below.) This dress works for a trip to Stop & Shop or lunch at the beach club, and the pattern's slight fullness around the waist and hips means I don't have to worry about holding in my stomach all the time. "Cause if you're hot and sweaty you don't want to add sucking in your gut to your miseries.
Vogue gets props for a pattern that's simple to make and well designed. No facings here—Vogue tells you to use bias binding around the neck and armhole and then topstitch it in place—and you turn up a narrow hem at the dress bottom and stitch (this dress hits me at mid-knee). A beginner could easily sew this dress, especially if she made it in a solid color and didn't need to worry about matching fabric motifs. The fabric I used is a cotton print with lycra and teeny ribbing.
That's what took most of my time, matching the design at the center front and back seams. The April/May issue of Vogue Patterns magazine has a very helpful article about pattern matching. Following author's Kathryn Brenne's advice, here are the steps I took to ensure a perfectly matched seam:
Matching Design Motifs at the Seamline
- Drape the fabric on yourself and determine where you want the design to fall on your body.
- Mark the bustpoints on your pattern. Lay your pattern tissue on top of your fabric, placing it where you want your design motifs to fall, then trace the design directly onto the tissue.
- Draw your seamlines onto your tissue, then cut out your pattern, making sure the design motifs line up with your tissue markings. As Brenne advises, reverse your pattern pieces for cutting on a single layer so there will be a left side and a right side of your garment.
- Fold and press under the seamline of one side of the garment. Pin the folded piece to the other side, matching the design at the future seamline.
- Slip-baste in place working from the right side: Catch a stitch in the under layer, then in the fold.
- Remove pins and check that everything aligns. Machine stitch the seam and voila! a perfectly matched seam every time.
Here's my center front seam. This was the most time-intensive part of the pattern, making sure the motifs lined up in the seam.
I love the fact Vogue tells you to skip facings with this pattern and just bind the neck and armhole edges. I used black cotton from my stash for contrast binding. I also extended the pleats by 2.5 inches so this wouldn't look like a maternity dress on me.
Coming soon: I made this BWOF 11/08 top out of a lightweight stretch denim so I could have a casual top in my wardrobe that wasn't a knit. Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there!