June is Independent Pattern Month over at the Monthly Stitch, with each week bringing a new challenge. For the 1st – 7th June the theme is dresses.
I really wanted to make a BHL Flora for this challenge; I have had the pattern since it came out and I thought that this would give me the necessary incentive to make it up. Sadly when I made my first muslin (and thankfully I did), it presented me with some fitting challenges I just did not have the headspace or patience to deal with. I think part of the problem is that BHL patterns have so far been a reasonable fit on me without any alterations, so I was ready for that to be the case here, and when it wasn’t I couldn’t manage my expectations quickly enough. Another part of the problem is my current low body confidence – I know that this will pass (especially if I step away from the pizza and move towards the salad bar for a couple of months) and when it does I might be more in the market for fitting a sexy sundress (or a couple of months off the pizza might mean my original muslin fits a bit better without too many alterations!)
Anyway, enough of what I didn’t make… After that I really needed a quick win and for that I wanted an easy make with minimal fitting. Enter the Staple Dress from April Rhodes.
This pattern had been on my radar for a while, but I had always thought it looked a bit simple for the $15 price tag. I mean it is a really lovely dress – I have seen many lovely versions, but it is basically a front and a back stitched together with a shirred waist, so though I had often looked at it there was always a voice in my head telling me I could probably more or less work it out on my own. However, when it was included in the new Perfect Pattern Parcel, I snapped it up and now I’m glad that I have this lovely pattern to work from.
I made it in a size XL. I think the L is closer to my current size, but with that low body confidence and all I wanted it super loose. I used an African Wax Cotton print I bought on eBay – it was a 6 yard piece and I probably used about half of it in order to get my patterns matched (plus I wasted an inordinate amount making the belt). The instructions are really clearly written and fully illustrated, so this is an ideal pattern for a beginner, or a quick and satisfying make if you have a bit more experience and a few hours to spare.
The pattern calls for bias strips of the self fabric to bind the neck and armholes, but I decided that this print worked better just left plain, so I used a contrast ready made bias to turn under and then topstitch.
I don’t mind shirring in the traditional way, but I have never tried it on my current machine and after following SewBusyLizzy’s trials on Twitter I decided to just dig this out of my stash as it is really easy to use and gives a good wide elasticated finish. If you’ve not come across it, it is a kind of elasticated mesh tape, which you just stitch to the wrong side of your fabric (holding it taut as you sew), and you don’t need to play with the tension of elastic on your bobbin!
The only other alterations I made to the pattern were the addition of belt loops and a self fabric belt, which I made super long so that it can tie in a big bow (front or back) or it can wrap around three times.
Pattern: April Rhodes Staple Dress (as part of the perfect pattern parcel) – difficult to say the cost, as I got a total of 6 patterns, one of which I had and not all of which I will use, so let’s call it £5.00
Fabric: African Wax Print Cotton approx £7.00
Notions: Gutermann thread and Gold-Zack shirring elastic tape £2.00
Total cost: About £14.00, but I intend using the pattern again.
Time to make; including pattern printing, taping etc, with addition of belt loops and belt, 4-5 hours (I think).
Will I make it again? Almost certainly.
Conclusion. I really like this dress. It is a very easy make, but I love the casual shape and it is perfect for summer days and pizza bellies.
And what would a sunny photo shoot be without a cat photobombing me?
And finally, how do you like my shoes? They are Lotta From Stockholm clogs and were a birthday present from JB – he has such excellent taste (with only a bit of guidance).