This week we continue the Sew Yourself Some Love feature with Brooke and the Winter Wear Blithe Dress. Most of our contributors love this feature because it encourages them to take some much needed time for themselves!
Hi Everyone, it’s Brooke from Idle Sunshine! I sew a lot for my kids (who really don’t need any clothes), so I was quick to jump on the Sew Yourself Some Love Train! I do sew for myself, but my wardrobe has a few “holes” in it, so I want to concentrate on filling the gaps instead of shopping for the things I am missing!
This dress is something I’ve had in mind for quite a while, but I just couldn’t find the right pattern to make it. I have a few sleeveless store bought versions that are similar and I wear them constantly in summer. I finally spotted the Blithe by Winter Wear Designs and decided that with a simple hack, I could have the dress I had been dreaming of!
Dresses are such great pieces because you aren’t looking for a top and bottom to match (that are both clean & ironed). You throw them on and go, and people throw compliments at you for “dressing up”! You could wear this style with flat sandals or heels and add a necklace, depending on the occasion.
This particular fabric is a rayon and is perfect for this dress, light and airy with great drape. The print is really cute, but makes it hard to see some of the details, so let’s take a look at the line drawing from the pattern. It has a full collar and collar stand, front placket, front and back yoke with gathers and pleat details, 3 sleeve lengths with tabs, placket and cuffs, top, tunic and dress lengths in both straight and curved styles. The only thing missing from my dream dress was a gathered skirt, but that was an easy fix!
I love my sleeveless dresses but to be able to wear it to work, my shoulders have to be protected from the sun, so I chose the short sleeve version (which isn’t shown on the line drawing). I looked at the dresses in my wardrobe that I liked and decided to cut the bodice pattern off approximately 6” below the armscye.
I constructed the bodice using the pleated back version. Then when I tried it on, I decided it was a little too loose where it would attach to the skirt, so I added a 1” pleat in the bottom of the bodice piece to match the pleat above it. If you prefer, you could match the back yoke and back bodice pattern pieces together and trim the back bodice width to be the same as the yoke before cutting your fabric out on the fold. I quite like the pleat feature top and bottom, but a smooth back would look great too!
Now that I was happy with the relaxed, but not too loose fit of the completed bodice, it was time to cut a skirt. I measured from the bottom of the bodice to where I wanted my skirt to hit - around knee length. I prefer a longer length for work and rayon can tend to shrink, even though I washed it before cutting, so I erred on the side of caution. I added seam allowance and an inch for my hem and cut 2 rectangles 26” long by 34” wide. I overlocked all edges and sewed the side seams and hem. Then I gathered the top, matching side seams and centre front and back, before attaching to the bodice.
It really was a super simple hack. All the hard work is done in the easy to follow tutorial contained in the pattern. It makes this complicated looking placket and collar very simple to accomplish. I think this is actually my first ever collar and stand?! I added 2 snaps instead of buttons and buttonholes, because I am lazy like that!
And that’s all there was too it! I hope you like my interpretation of the pattern, I am so happy with the finished result!