All good in the end

This is the dress that very nearly never was…


It shouldn’t have been difficult, really. The pattern is the Southport Dress from True Bias, one I bought as soon as it was released. It’s a style of dress I love for summer, and I was pretty impatient waiting for the warm weather to show up so that I could get to it! The fabric is Cotton + Steel Frock rayon, which I got from Miss Matatabi as part of my Carolyn Pyjama Party prize, and it is so lovely. Its quite different feeling from most of the rayon I’ve sewn with (mostly crepe), very smooth and soft. It was so nice to sew, it pressed beautifully and was generally just a joy. 


However, I only had 1.5 yards of the rayon, and the pattern called for 2.3. I figured that I could cut the pocket pieces out of some matching navy silk which I had in my big scraps pile, and I bought some navy grosgrain ribbon for the tie (I asked for groz-grain ribbon in the shop, and the lady had to tell me it was pronounced gro-grain, what a pleb! I’m also scared of asking about tricot knit, is that french pronunciation too??). I laid out all of my pieces, and realised that I could do it if I cut the skirt pieces with the selvedge in the seam allowances. The selvidges are something I’ll need to be aware of if I buy more Cotton + Steel fabric, not only is it really narrow but it has quite wide contrasting selvedge (how many times can I fit the word selvadge into a paragraph?).


I quite like that I’ve got the fabric details running up my skirt seams! So I cut the skirt and back bodice out, then opened the fabric out flat so that I could match the diamonds running across the bodice. Then I cut out two right bodice pieces, because sometimes I’m a total muppet. I had enough to cut a left bodice, but that meant I needed to piece the waist tie casing. Not a major disaster, but annoying! Must pay better attention when cutting out.

The other thing that caused me grief was getting the binding right on the arm holes. It went on fine around the neck, but I just could not get it to lie flat and not pucker around the bottom of the armscye. I had at least 5 goes at it before I got it sewn in pucker free, but it’s still not sitting flat. I think I might have picked binding that is a bit heavy and wide, but its not a problem I’ve had before! Next time (because there will be a next time) I think I’ll cut a facing for the arm holes at least.
 After that wee drama everything went smoothly. The instructions were really good, and it was a pretty quick sew. I omitted the buttonholes and just sewed my mother of pearl buttons through both plackets, as its easy to get over my head as it is! I also took 5/8″ off the straps, as I have a short torso.

I really love this dress! I wore it today to the Wellington Sewing Bloggers Network Christmas picnic, and it was lovely and comfortable and cool. And the expandable waist tie was good with all the food we had! Big thanks to Leimomi for taking these pictures, it was nice to get some direction from the photographer and not have to run backwards and forwards setting the self timer!

22 thoughts on “All good in the end

  1. Your dress is lovely! And I’m jealous of your lovely weather too, as it’s winter in my part of the world. I’ve done the cutting the same piece twice too. It was a skirt back, and I could have kicked myself! I was able to fudge it, but it’s a mistake I’ve only ever made once! Re tricot, I think it’s pronounced tree-co, but I was rubbish at French and could be totally wrong!

  2. Very nice! I hate that feeling of running out of fabric and having to eke everything out, so glad it worked out! I really want to try the cotton and steel rayon, excited for the new collections next year.

  3. Such a lovely dress on you Kirsten – well done. I’ve been having similar facing/bias woes. I reckon my New Year’s resolution will be buy more fabric than I think i’ll ever need in one piece. So painful trying to whittle little bits of fabric into pattern pieces. Oh and I guess you’ve been tagged!!!

  4. It’s a lovely dress! I like the ribbon idea, nice and easy and fast.
    I admire your fast blogging skills! That’s something I have to improve in 2016. πŸ˜‰
    Oh, and I would say it’s called “tricko” (unpronounced t) but no guarantee.

    1. I know, I’m usually happy to buy 1.5m for a dress, unless it has a crazy full skirt or something! I had forgotten that Japanese fabric seems to come in 115cm widths though… Glad I squeaked it in, but lesson learned!

  5. Oh my goodness! I didn’t know it was gro-grain either! The things you learn! Your dress looks lovely and I’m so glad you were finally able to get on the Southport train. It really is the perfect summer dress, isn’t it? Sorry about all your troubles, but I’m glad you got everything worked out as your dress looks great!

    1. Thanks Heather! I want someone to put out a phonetic sewing dictionary, there are so many words I’m not sure how to pronounce because I’ve only ever read them! It was only troublesome because I was too tired to be giving it my full attention, I should know better…

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