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Summer Sewing Challenge - Express Yourself in Linen

red summer dress

Aug 17, 2009
Article Image

Bodice detail

This dress is made of a lovely tomato red 100% linen that I got from Joann’s clearance shelf for $2.50 a yard!! I was thrilled … and then i went and used most of it for a pilgrim costume for someone else. Fortunately I never throw anything away and the scraps were enough to make myself a nice summer dress.

This a variation on a basic shift dress pattern. The bodice design came about because of a little problem I had presented myself with. I was making a simple shift dress”muslin” out of a new sloper for myself and couldn’t turn the facings inside out because I had absentmindedly already sewn the zipper into the back. I realized that I had to either take the zipper out or cut down the front of the dress. Hmmmm … I slept on it and came up with this. I cut through the side darts straight across the front and then split only the upper bodice. Necessity was … once again … the mother of invention. This was how I decided to put those two sides back together again before joining it to the lower front. I liked it so well I decided to use my cherished red linen to make it again.

So, this dress is unlined, an attempt to actually get to wear my linen dresses in the summertime. it is a nice weight for that, it doesn’t really need a lining but it’s still light. I love swishy dresses and I find they are more comfortable to wear so I added a circular flounce that I took off of some pattern. I made sure that the lower circumference of the skirts matched and that the lengths would be correct.

I narrowed the shoulders more than most dresses I make ( don’t remember why) and made a slightly curved V shape in the back. I wanted this dress to be as cool to wear as possible and I find that allowing air on my back helps a lot.

So, this came together very quickly. The seams are all serged flat and then pressed open. The seam joining the flounce to the skirt is stitched just along each side of the pressed open seam in an attempt to get that area to lie as flat as possible and have the flounce shape just flow smoothly into the main garment. The dress is surprisingly cool and comfy. The only problem is that the circular flounce makes it a bit of a “Marilyn Monroe” type number in the wind. Know what I mean?  

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  1. User avater mirela November 17th

    Beautiful and architectural.

  2. sews4fun November 1st

    I LOVE everything about this dress! The lines are classic and all you have to do is look at it to see it looks great on anyone who wears it!
    I DO see one tiny little problem with it however......
    I would HAVE to have one in every color!

  3. User avater joi October 3rd

    very nice job. the details are wonderful.

  4. moushka September 21st

    Gorgeous dress, the bodice is inspired - very Art Deco looking. A great success!

  5. jestersmother August 25th

    They are all right. Construction concept extraordinaire.
    You amaze me over and over.

  6. User avater hogaboom August 18th

    I would love to get my hands on this pattern to make for myself! I could never design all these great details.

    I love the angular / curvy aspects of this dress - and the color is perfect. This is wonderfully done!

  7. Couturegirl August 18th

    I love the color and the front detail is amazing. This looks like it would be a very flattering style to wear.

  8. solosmocker August 17th

    This is dress is exquisite. If I had it I would pay a fortune for one of these. Your sense of design is really sparkling here.

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