It may not seem like it now (as I'm writing this, it's been raining for what seems like 10 days straight), but before we know it, it is going to be hot, sunny, and humid. And when that type of weather hits, the last thing you want to do is wear restrictive or tight fitting clothing. It's all about lightness and breeziness in your clothes, and that's why we've picked what we're calling Breezy Dresses as our theme for July.
Encompassing shift dresses, trapeze dresses, swing dresses, and whatever else you might call this type of unfitted style, this theme is perfect for the summer. All you need to do is throw on a dress with a nice pair of shoes and you are ready for whatever the season throws at you. (Plus, some of the patterns come with sleeve options if you want a three-season dress.) All four patterns are easy to style, look great on all sorts of body types, and are about as versatile as a dress can be!
We're also introducing something new to our post, and that's a sneak peak at the inspiration we get from ready-to-wear fashion. We've always seen our boxes as a sewing answer to all the beautiful things that are in the fashion industry. But when you can sew, why buy things when you can make them, right?
Lightweight Box: Sway Dress by Papercut Patterns
One of the first dresses I ever made, this pattern, the Sway Dress from Papercut Patterns, is practically perfect in every way. It's ridiculously easy to fit; it's reversible(!) depending on if you want the v-neck in the back or front; and it uses the "buritto-method" of finishing a facing, which is one of the more satisfying sewing tricks out there. With two options for either a short trapeze dress or a longer tie-waisted dress with pockets, this pattern is sure to become a tried-and-true in your sewing repertoire.
Now, let's talk about the good stuff, the fabrics:
So, let's take a look at our sew-spiration:
(Right to Left): Anthropologie - Melbourne Swing Dress ($140), JCrew - Button-Back Shift Dress ($98)
Medium Weight Box: Darling Ranges Dress by Megan Nielsen
Though technically a shirt dress, the Darling Ranges Dress from Megan Nielsen fits right in to our breezy dress theme. A simple bodice gives way to a gathered skirt that adds volume and airiness to the whole look. Plus, like most if not all of Megan Nielsen's patterns, there are a ton of options to customize. Choose from short sleeves or elbow sleeves or a gathered waist or no waist seam at all. Or make a button-down top and use the remaining fabric for another pattern entirely. The choice is up to you! And isn't the ability to control your style part of why you got into sewing in the first place?
And speaking of options, here's what you have to choose from for fabrics:
- Burgundy Dotted Chambray - We love Robert Kaufman's chambrays, but we know that can sometimes translate into a wardrobe full of denim blue clothes. And we have an answer to that: burgundy chambray! A purpley-red shirting cotton with hints of white from the chambray weave, with the added bonus of polka dots, to be exact. We feel the menswear feel of the fabric melds perfectly with the more feminine fit and flare look of the dress, and we can't wait to see if you agree!
- Navy Embroidered Cotton - It's hard to see in the photo, but this rich navy cotton voile is embroidered with little flowers and circles to create bands of pattern. Without any cutouts, this is the fabric you choose when you want the look of an eyelet but you don't want to underline the whole dress. Textural and subtle, this fabric will become a unique dress beyond anything you could find in stores.
- Mellow Rose Cotton Gauze - The color of this rosy gauze is pure sweetness. Somewhere between a blush pink, a salmon and a peach, this color is unique and fabulous. And did we mention how light the fabric is? An organic cotton gauze, it's about as breezy as you can get, and that's what you want in a summer dress, right? A no-brainer pick if you want a fabric that feels like wearing nothing at all.
Now, let's talk sew-spiration:
(Right to Left): Madewell - Scalloped Eyelet Midi Dress ($150), Madewell - Button-Front Day Dress ($88)
Curvy Box: Floreat Dress by Megan Nielsen
I don't think I could articulate the beauty of the Floreat Dress better than the pattern maker herself, Megan Nielsen: "Loose and fitted. With minimal seams to really let the fabric shine. Be comfortable and look effortlessly chic at the same time... Floreat is fitted from the bust upwards and is loose and trapeze shape from the bust downwards. This means you get the best of both worlds. The close fit of the sleeves and upper body make this garment look put together, whilst the generous ease in the hip and waist adds comfort."
Just reading that makes me want to close my laptop and start sewing the dress right now! Especially in one of the three amazing fabrics we have on offer:
- Black Viscose/Cupro Twill - Have you ever wanted to own a silk dress but everything about silk terrifies you? Yeah, I know the feeling. Silk is amazing but also hard to sew, clean, and maintain. Enter this viscose/cupro fabric. Because of the cupro, it looks almost exactly like washed silk, but it's machine washable and has a little more body, making it easier to sew. Fool all your friend into thinking you bought an expensive silk dress, and then smile because, one, you made it, and two, at the end of the day, you can throw it in the wash!
- Green Dotted Rayon Challis - Rayon challis might be my favorite summer fabric. The rayon is naturally cool to the touch and the challis is so lightweight, it's ideal for hot, humid days. This challis is a lovely green covered in a constellation of tiny, white dots. Green dresses don't get enough love, but now's your chance to change that by making a gorgeous, asymmetrical shift you'll love to wear.
- Red Sorrento Linen - The beauty of linen is that it gets softer as you wear it and wash it, and we can't get over the idea of making a Floreat Dress that evolves over time. Enter this red linen. The fabric will work with both the volume and drape of the pattern, and as the linen wears, it will subtly adapt to become softer and breezier. And how cool is that?
Now, let's look at the dresses that inspired us (and how great is it to see size-inclusive models??):
(Right to Left): Madewell - Button-Front Easy Dress ($118), Anthropologie - Hermia Midi Dress ($170)
Heavyweight Box: Farrow Dress by Grainline Studio
Grainline Studio is all about minimalist and elegant designs, and the Farrow Dress is no exception. What seems like a simple shift is actually a thoughtfully put together dress with hidden pockets, a hi-lo hem detail, and beautiful diagonal seaming. And sometimes, it's the simplest of patterns that really gets your creative juices flowing.
Let's talk fabrics:
- Coral and Royal Blue Color-block Viscose Twill - The first thing that comes to mind when seeing the diagonal seams on this dress is color blocking. It's the perfect opportunity to play with color and elevate a simple pattern into something wonderful. We're giving you equal amounts of the buttery viscose twill in a coral pink and a royal blue so you can decide how to color block. Or, if you don't want a two-tone look, you can make two different dresses. It's up to you!
- White/Navy Windowpane Linen - The simplicity of the dress seemed to call for a simple patterned fabric. Enter the windowpane print. Not quite a stripe, not exactly a plaid, the windowpane is all about negative space, and goes perfectly with the clean lines of this dress. In a beautiful linen, this fabric is made for summer wear. Plus, we're giving you a silk-cotton voile to line or underline the dress so you don't have to worry about opacity.
- Gold Embroidered Cotton Double Gauze - Our first venture in to Japanese cotton, this double gauze is from the same company that makes those stunning Nani Iro prints you've been eying on Pinterest. In a beautiful gold, with floral shashiko embroidery, this fabric is absolutely extraordinary. But there are two caveats for this fabric choice: 1) because it's coming from Japan, it may arrive after July 1 and thus ship late to you, and 2) the fabric is only 45" meaning it can only make the dress up to size 10.
And finally, get inspired with these ready-to-wear looks:
(Right to Left): Anthropologie - Stateside Linen Tank Dress ($206), Madewell - Mod Mini Tunic Dress ($128)
That's all she wrote for this month. In our classic boxes, we're reprising the maxi dresses from last August. So, if you want something longer, check out our boxes featuring the Kielo Wrap Dress, the Southport Dress and the Charlie Caftan.
I'm heading out to Portland, Oregon on Thursday to attend Pattern Review Weekend, so swatches will ship out when I get back, probably on May 24. And keep an eye on your email if you're signed up for our newsletter. We've got some exciting changes planned in the coming weeks!
Until then, happy sewing!