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!