Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Time to Vote: The Sundress Challenge

It is once again time to vote!  This week the theme is a "Summer Sundress" and you will soon see that the designers outdid themselves once again.  The poll is at the bottom of the post so be sure to scroll down through all the looks first.  Remember, the voting is one vote per computer (IP address).  Good luck designers!!!  And be sure to visit their blogs to tell them how wonderfully they did.....it is going to be a hard decision.
Sew Caroline--Vintage Summer
I was sew inspired by this Pat Bravo print from her Carnaby Street line for Art Gallery Fabrics that I knew I needed to make something from it. It has a bit of a vintage feel, so I went with it, y'all. I think it was the perfect fabric choice for this week's theme! This dress makes me want to jump on an old-fashioned bicycle with a cute little basket and ride around town to run my errands!! I. Am. Obsessed. Also, who doesn't love a good Dr. Pepper out of a bottle with a paper straw?! ;)

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I took the basic design of the Jamie Dress by Sis Boom and increased the neckline to make it a high-necked dress. Instead of straps, I made a casing & tie around the neckline. I extended the sashing around the waistline to tie into a bow in the back and I made the skirt fuller than called for. I have never really self-drafted anything, so this is as close as it comes for me!

Head over to Sew Caroline for more photos of this Vintage Summer look!

Sew a Straight Line--Solar Flare
solar flare
Dresses and skirts are my very favorite things to wear in the summer.  I knew I wanted my sundress to be comfortable and easy to wear, flattering and feminine.  I needed easy to play with the kids and easy to pack for the weekend.  Something I’d reach for all summer long.   I started with cool and light jersey knit and  a vintage lingerie pattern, Butterick 6288.  The pattern has a fabulous long, full slip and I stuck pretty close to the design in making my dress.  I love the flattering, simple silhouette.  I used bleach to tie dye and paint a stylized sun at the lower right of the dress’ skirt.  I also used bleach on the bias strips that became the straps and trim along the top bodice of the dress.  Then I made a simple layering tee to go along with the dress.

both pieces
The tee has rolled hems for all finished edges at the neck, sleeves, and hemline, resulting in a lettuce-leaf effect on the thin knit fabric.  I self-drafted the tee, making it as simple as possible.  The sleeves are an extension of the shoulders, all one piece, in a dolman style.  

I had originally planned on using various colors of dye on the dress’ sun.  But I loved the contrasting salmon color the grey turned into with the bleach, and decided to keep my focus on just the two contrasting colors.  I took that contrast up to the top of the dress with bias tape that trims the top of the bodice, and extends to become the straps of the dress.  The bias tape/extending straps were one of the only changes I made to the pattern.  The bodice is fully lined so keeps its shape nicely, but being out of the jersey knit, is still comfortable and easy to wear.  Structure without the fuss.  The perfect summer dress, with a little Solar Flare!

solar flare collage  
Click on over to Sew a Straight Line to see more pictures and details of my Solar Flare Sundress.

The Sewing Rabbit--Lotta Sundress

Whenever I think of Sundresses I think of something fun and whimsical, with just a hint of appeal. I think of garden parties, afternoon strolls on the beach, or walking through fields of flowers. Sundresses are a timeless classic that everyone can wear, from young children to mothers alike, and I loved the challenge of creating a new look for myself. Inspired by Lotta Jansdotter's Premier fabric Collection Deep Indigo ”Ruta”, the print manages to be geometrical yet playful at the same time.  And there is nothing I love more color-wise in the Summer than pairing navy with green.


For the bodice I used the Burda cap sleeve dress found here, with major alterations. Bringing up the neckline, adding pleats, shortening the waist, bringing down the side seams, altering the shoulder seams, and of course completely cutting up the back. I wanted to add a fun bubble skirt - which traditionally isn't found on adult dresses. But I loved the extra flair it gave to an otherwise open back, and by giving the bubble bottom a twist it added a tiny level of sophistication. Lastly I made the button shoulder seam overlap and look off-kilter with the other shoulder, which plays in nicely with the playfulness of the dress fabric.


For more pictures and to hear about how this photographic adventure went down, hop on over to the blog! Thanks so much, and I hope you like it!

Four Square Walls--Bloomin' Cotton
Nothing says "sundress" like florals and spaghetti straps, eh? I don't think I've heard the phrase "spaghetti strap" since high school so I don't know if that's even proper fashion terminology anymore. My straps aren't cylindrical like spaghetti anyway -- they're folded over flat and topstitched, so they're more like fettucini straps. Anyway! Pasta talk aside, here is my new sundress, made from vintage red floral cotton I received as a gift. I don't often wear florals, but my boyfriend convinced me that this fabric was beautiful and deserved to be used for this challenge. I continued to be skeptical while working on it, but now that it's done I'm quite fond of it. The print seems a little busy for the pintucked bodice but the detail is more effective in real life.
After an internal tug and war over what to do for this challenge, I finally settled on the idea of a princess seamed bodice that featured pintucks in the center. To make it, I started with the bodice lining pieces of Simplicity 2250, a Cynthia Rowley dress pattern I already had, because it had the seams and subtle sweetheart shape I was looking for. I first made the pintucks on a large rectangle of fabric, and then cut the middle bodice piece from that. I modified the whole thing so it zips up the side instead of in the center back. The skirt portion is made from --what else-- the Colette Beignet skirt pattern, altered in my usual way to eliminate the button-up front and shorten it from knee-length. I was tempted to make a big floofy circle skirt at first, but the fabric and bodice shape were already pretty feminine so I decided to make a sleeker skirt to help balance everything out. To give this cotton dress some substance and make it easier to wear, I fully lined it -- the bodice lining is self-fabric and the skirt lining is rayon bemberg.
See more photos and details of the back and inside of this dress on my blog at four square walls!

Cirque du Bebe--Let's Pretend It's Spring

Greetings Springlings! It's coming into winter here in Oz but I'm ignoring it for now so this week's theme suited just fine! Though, my lips were actually blue underneath the pink. As soon as it starts to warm up I find myself reaching for loose, easy-wearing dresses. And especially ones with insulation properties like giant kimono sleeves. I recently made my first version of Victory Patterns 'Satsuki' dress and loved the floaty feminine goodness. Imagine all the comfort of a sack dress, without the sack. Thanks to a waist tie. I chose it as my sundress base pattern for all the crazy mods I had in mind, one of my fav trends at the moment being anything geometric. This sickly sweet silk floral was crying out for triangle cut out's in the front (like a sunbeam, no?) and triangle lattice in the back. Too many triangles? Never! 
  As for bringing my plan to fruition...no clue. To construct the front, I thought I should start by re-drafting the neckline, and changed it from a V-neck to a round neck in the process. The original pattern calls for front and back neckline facings and I really love the finish so I re-drafted both facings to include the cut-outs in the front and the big V in the back. That was a first. To construct the lattice, I cut the pieces on the grain not the bias, since they needed to be stiff enough to hold still. As for assembling...I've never attempted anything like it. Hours of fiddling and 'what the's' followed by 'oh der's' and unpicking. To bind the neckline, I made bias binding for the front but regular no-stretch binding for the back after I discovered that stretch bias didn't hold up the back lattice. It flopped! Binding a neckline with one stretch and one woven binding is something I hope never to deal with again. But it all came together how I imagined so I'll quit complaining, it was worth it in the end! 
Want to know more about the process? Visit Cirque du Bebe!


  1. Congrats to all!!!! I am so inspired....

  2. I normally don't like to pick favorites, but Sophie's made me gasp out loud. It's amazing!

    1. I agree, her dress is simply gorgeous! The fabric and pattern choices, and the modifications, it is a very nice dress. I also like the pictures.

  3. I'm a little bit in love with every one of these.

  4. All of these are totally gorgeous!!

  5. So much work and some really beautiful frocks!

  6. I LOVE the "Solar Flare" by Sew a Straight Line. So pretty and I love the colors!

  7. I really love Set a Straight Line - Solar Flare. that is my kind of sundress

  8. My brain is fried from all five kids being sick at once while I'm preggy and pukey 24/7- can someone point me in the direction to vote? I cannot find it anywhere. These dresses are amazing. It's been so long since I sewed anything for myself, you ladies are inspiring me!

  9. All the dresses are fantastic and these ladies are brave and talented (I am still trying to go for my first big project). However, my favorites are Cirque du Bebe and Foursquareswalls. If I have to choose only one, I'd go with Cirque du Bebe.

  10. wowee how stunning they all look fab, I love the pop of lime green, and love the pin tuck pleats, the cut outs the lot :)

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