My striped linen summer dress is a sure sign that I’ve been in Summer sewing mode for a while now. And by Summer…I don’t mean the lukewarm, kinda cloudy with sunny intervals and the odd shower sort of Summer like we get in the UK…I mean clear blue skies, scorching sun, shimmering blue sea and golden sand. In other words, Greece! Because that’s precisely where I’m heading in a couple of days, or I might even be there already by the time you get to read this post….in which case, jealous much? Lol!
*update…as I’m finishing off this post the temperatures in the UK are starting to soar high…guess I better eat my words..hah!
For the heat of Greece, cool lightweight fabrics in natural fibres are what’s needed and I found just the perfect fabric for my new fluted hem dress. I bought it from Patterns and Plains, which is a new-to-me company that I discovered on Instagram. A quick browse through their carefully curated selection of fabrics and I was hooked. I was immediately drawn to some gorgeous Irish linen in random vertical stripes. The colour I’m wearing is called Kiwi and I also bought the Strawberry colourway that I’ve already sewn up and will be showing you project in an upcoming blog post so be sure to look out for that one too.
So I wanted a dress in an easy body-skimming style with a bit of a fun shape and thought I ought to search my pattern stash first before looking online for a new pattern, I mean, why spend if it’s not necessary? Anyway, I found Vogue 8303, a pattern from 1992 that my mum had made up for a client when she used to sew for others. As soon as I saw the pattern I loved how the fluted hem and large pockets were in line with current trends, so decided to take the plunge.
The pattern’s a size 14-18 and I tend to be a 12 in Vogue. It turned out that I needed to make the back narrower, shave some off the sides at the hips and adjust the front and back armhole depths for my forward rolling shoulders. I also checked the length and had to shorten it above the fluted parts so that they started to flare out at the right height because I wanted the finished hemline above my knee.
There was a bit of head-scratching and faffing when I cut out because, to be honest, I could have done with more fabric..see, that’s what happens when you buy fabric without knowing exactly what you want to make. Anyway, it meant that I had to get rid of the centre back flare and that I couldn’t match up the stripes on the shoulder seams.
It bothered me not to have the matching stripes on the shoulders but I found a way to create a design feature. I added a horizontal stripe section along the shoulder line to disguise the non-matching and it looks a little like a narrow yoke or a sleeve tab. Also, instead of the longer length sleeves, I just stitched on a narrow band and matched the centre of it up with the little yoke. The horizontal striped pockets carry on the theme of mixed stripe directions and I love how it all looks 🙂
You can see from these photos how I added some double rows of topstitching on the pockets, neckline and hem and have inserted a concealed zip down the back (tutorial for a concealed zip here). It’s unlined, which may be a slight risk because its not the most opaque of fabrics but I need my dress to feel as cool as possible to wear, so I’ll just wear nude-toned undies to stop any show-through.
This was a lovely pattern to sew and I’m pleasantly surprised at how much I love the shape of this style. It feels glam and flirty to wear and oh, so comfy. I know that linen creases, but hopefully, the stripes will help to disguise the creases a little.
Also, I can’t quite believe that I’m actually wearing stripes. I’ve always considered myself a stripe-phobe because I could never bring myself to wear the kind of stripey casual tops that I see many sewists make and wear. But then I had a bit of a revelation when I realised that ‘my kind of stripes’ are random widths and mostly verticle or diagonal ones. I simply can’t bring myself to wear evenly spaced horizontal stripes because they feel totally out of line with my style (a bit too sporty perhaps?). This dress has cured my phobia!
And on that note, I’d like to say thanks for reading, I appreciate it and let me know in the comments, your thoughts on linen and what kind of stripes you like to wear. I love to chat.
Catch you soon…
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