sometimes you just need a [expletive] sundress


[ hat optional]

One of the best sewing decisions I’ve ever made was to spend three or four hours on a weekend afternoon fitting the bodice of Simplicity 1873. That was about a year ago, and I’ve thanked Yesterday Sarah many times since.

The phrase TNT gets thrown around a lot — including by me, often erroneously — but this is one case where it really applies. Going through the boring part of fitting has paid off with, essentially, a sloper for a sleeveless bodice. I can play around with variations (like wrap-back and scoop-back) without worrying about making adjustments for my narrow back or deep armscye or whatever.

So when I need a quick win in the sewing category to make myself feel better about a recent failure, I went straight to Old Faithful. Because sometimes you just need a f–king sundress.


(Sidebar: How do you like that lace that’s smothering my dress form Constance? Because I love it. It’s a crochet-type eyelash lace, and if it doesn’t become a sleeveless, scoop-back shift dress, I’ll eat my hat.)

I decided to add a V-neck to this pattern, because I realized I never really sew them. I don’t know why — I wear them in RTW all the time. But when I look through my completed projects, it’s all boat neck, scoop neck, boat, scoop, boat, boat. So I sketched out a basic V in front and a complementary little V in back.

This only took a couple of tries! For more of a party-dress feel, I’d widen the neck opening and maybe add a similarly deep V in the back, but for a day dress, this neckline is pretty much perfect.


(In fact, I’m already halfway done with a strappier V-neck version of this to wear to a wedding next week, because yes, friends, it’s wedding season.)

Per usual with this pattern, I ditched the included skirt. My previous iterations had a rectangle skirt — so easy — but I decided I didn’t want quite that much fullness, even though I still wanted pleats or gathers. So I did the same thing that I did on my Cambie dress: I took my self-drafted A-line skirt pattern and added a few inches to the center fold.

Now, I utterly expected that I’d want pleats on this skirt. I haven’t loved gathered rectangle skirts on me-mades in the past. But when I gave it a try, I found that I liked the very moderate gathering that you get with an A-line. No wonder I’ve been coveting everyone else’s Sureaus and Darling Ranges.


I didn’t need to line the bodice, but I did it anyway for the nice finish. As for the skirt, it was right on the very edge of too sheer. I didn’t have much fabric left, so instead of a full lining, I added a lining panel to the skirt front that got stitched into the side seam. Worked great, and it’s a little less bulky than lining the whole shebang.

The fabric is a truly delightful cotton voile from Mood. I’ve been kind of a Mood hound recently, but I told myself awhile ago that when I see great cotton lawns/voiles for a decent price, I should snap them up — especially if they’re in a busy print that I might not need to iron. And Mood recently has had a ton of awesome prints in nice voiles and poplins. NOT LEAST OF WHICH was this moderately ridiculous exotic-animal print.


I think I haven’t yet identified all the animals, but the following seem to be included: peacock (peahen?), ostrich, elephant, giraffe, antelope, an incongruous chicken, and whatever animal Rikki-Tikki-Tavi was. Mongoose. That’s it.

Anyway, for someone who’s scared of prints, this is a big step for me. Of course, it doesn’t look like a novelty print from a distance, and the colors are pretty muted, but all the same this is basically a Dolly Clackett dress by my (boring) standards. Maybe soon I’ll be able to use sweet U.K. slang like “What’s the craic” and find cool doors to take pictures in front of. (Take pictures in public? Too terrifying!)


Now I just have to get up the courage to wear it in public. “Why yes, those ARE zoo animals.”

Pattern: Hacked bodice from Simplicity 1873, I don’t even remember what size anymore. Skirt, self-drafted pleated A-line.
Fabric: 2 yards 53″ wide cotton voile from Mood Fabrics, $24.


2 thoughts on “sometimes you just need a [expletive] sundress

  1. Pingback: me made may: part 1 | root branch bole

  2. Pingback: me made may: part 2 | root branch bole

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