When the UK finally started enjoying some proper sunshine this year, I realised there was a sundress-shaped gap in my wardrobe. By sundress, I mean something light with straps to keep you cool in the boiling sun. I have one dress of that description - my Colette Patterns Parfait - which is a fabulous workhorse of a dress, but I fancied a change in style. I'd pinned this lovely fifties vintage dress to Pinterest as inspiration and although I knew I didn't want the skirt on mine to be as full, I really wanted to recreate the neat, fitted bodice and contrast white bodice band.
To do this I chose Simplicity 2176, which as sundress patterns go, is about as traditional as they come. It has a lovely, princess seamed bodice, a pleated skirt and endless strap combinations. As I outlined in this post, I'm not a natural wearer of pleats and thought long and hard about whether to include them or not. In the end I decided to just go for it and embrace the old fashioned look of the pattern.
As it's a warm weather dress, I chose a linen-look cotton in Royal Blue from Minerva Crafts. This fabric is fab: it's 100% cotton, drapes beautifully and has the look and feel of linen without all the tiresome creases. I underlined it to make it a bit more opaque using white silk cotton, and used white piqué fabric for the outer bodice band, both from my stash. I love the contrast of colours, they just look so fresh together.
There were no nasty surprises lurking in the instruction sheet and it all came together without incident - a lovely, easy make. Accustomed as I am to Simplicity patterns having way too much ease in them. I cut a size 12. Annoyingly, this pattern seems to be pretty true to its measurements and the bodice ended up a bit tight. Grrr! I reduced the side seam allowances which makes it a lot more comfortable to wear, but the bodice rides a bit higher than my natural waist because my boobs take up too much space! It's my own fault for being so lazy in the first place and not making a muslin - next time I'll definitely need to do a FBA! It's totally wearable as it is though and although I'm still getting used to the look of the pleats I do like them.
Because of the pleats and neat bodice, this dress feels very ladylike - I should be wearing it with proper heels and gloves. In real life, I'll probably wear it with flip flops or wedges. Anyway, mission accomplished and I now have a sundress to add to my summer wardrobe.
If you fancy making your own sundress, Minerva Crafts have put together a great kit which you can purchase here. The kit comprises a copy of Simplicity 2176, two metres of Royal Blue linen-look cotton, matching thread and a 14 inch dress zip. Happy sewing!