We are having some really hot weather for the UK at the moment and summer dresses are my favourite thing to wear to work in the hot weather. Paired with a light cardigan, I can manage the heat outside and the cool of the air conditioning in the office.
I have had this beautiful fabric in my stash for a while. It is a soft, lightweight jersey and I love the way that the red and pink go together. It has a strong 60's vibe, which seems to be a theme in my sewing at the moment, so I wanted a pattern that would compliment this. The remnant that I bought was just 1 1/2 metres long which also limited my choice of pattern.
Among my patterns I had New Look K6263 and that seemed the ideal choice.
The pattern isn't designed for stretch fabrics but I think it needs something with a bit of body that drapes well so decided to take a risk. I chose to make view A because I liked the keyhole neck detail, but the bow was much too fussy for me. It is a loose, flowing dress without a fitted waist so I cut a size 12, which is my RTW size, when I often make a size 14. The pattern has 11.5cm ease or 4 1/2 inches which does seem a lot and isn't necessary with a stretch fabric. In the end I was very glad that I didn't make a larger size because I think my dress is a good fit. My bra straps lie comfortably under the neck band and I think that the arm holes would have gaped if I had made a larger size.
I cut a contrasting neck band from some of the fabric left over from the collar of my summer shift dress. I think the contrasting colour highlights the construction features nicely.
I found the neckband quite challenging to put together. The first step was to apply facing to the V
I use a light weight, fusible interfacing which I neatened around the edge with a simple zigzag stitch to avoid it becoming bulky. The pattern suggested under-stitching around the V but my fabric pressed well and this didn't seem necessary. I trimmed the seam allowance close to the seam and I haven't had any problems with it lying flat.
The armholes were trimmed with bias binding. The back opening was just turned in and hemmed by machine. This was all quite straightforward. I used traditional 5/8th inch seams using a narrow zigzag to allow for the stretch
From that point on things began to get more challenging. The neckband is made up of 6 pieces of fabric plus 3 pieces of interfacing. It was very important to mark the dots and notches accurately because these were key to stitching the band in the right places before attaching it to the dress. There were 13 steps altogether to make the neckband and sew it to the dress. The instructions were clear and the diagrams were very helpful, but this definitely isn't a pattern I could have put together without reading to instruction sheet. In the end it all fell neatly into place and it looks deceptively simple, just a plain white band on a simple shift dress!!
I am very pleased with the details at the back of the neck. I made narrow rouleau loops from the white jersey fabric and used two vintage buttons from a collection my great aunt gave me, so this dress holds some extra family memories for me.
The fabric is soft, light and drapes well. I especially like the A-Line shape, which skims my figure in all the right places, and it is very comfortable to wear. I think I would consider making it again some time but the next thing I want to make is a "real dress". I have made lots of straight shift dresses and am really looking forward to making a bodice, a fitted waist and a full skirt.
So for now here are a few more photos of a dress that makes me want to twirl!
Bye for now,