In the summer, I live in knit dresses. Long dresses, short dresses, and everything in between. There's nothing more simple than throwing on a light dress and slipping into some sandals. Voilà, you're ready for the day. You can dress up the outfit with a nice cardigan and some jewelry or you can keep it simple and wear it as is. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.
That's why I've chosen knit dresses for our first summer pattern theme. They're fun; they're eminently wearable; and they are a must-have for any wardrobe. Plus, knits are a joy to fit. You can save so much time on pattern adjustments and still get a fantastic finished project - a breath of fresh air after some fit-heavy boxes like pants and blouses.
Now, some of you may balk at the idea of sewing knits, especially if you don't have a serger. But fret not! With the right settings and tools, sewing knits on a regular sewing machine is not at all daunting and can result in a lovely finished project. I know, I've tried. We're including ballpoint needles and twin needles in all our boxes, and we will have helpful links in June to help you as you sew. Oh, and you want to know the best part about sewing knits? The seams don't have to be finished so it significantly cuts down on your sewing time.
Lightweight Box: Zéphyr Dress from Deer & Doe
Deer & Doe is a new pattern company to our boxes, but not to my radar. For those unfamiliar, the company is based in France and has gorgeous, fashionable but wearable patterns that, bonus points, are great when worn together. In retail terms, think of Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, or J Crew. Just flat-out great ready to wear items.
The Zéphyr Dress fits perfectly into that aesthetic. Its firmly in the "skater dress" category, but with princess seams and an option for a v-neck, it's anything but boring. You can even make a two-piece set with a crop top and skirt, if that's your thing.
For fabrics, we've chosen natural fibers and colors and patterns in keeping with the Deer & Doe brand. That means earth tones, jewel tones and simple patterns. So, let me tell you a little about them:
- Onyx Cotton/Spandex Jersey: Nothing more classic than a little black dress. And nothing better than making that little black dress as comfortable as pajamas. Soft, lightweight but sturdy, this fabric is a dream to sew and wear. Plus, with just the right amount of spandex added to this cotton jersey, it's got great recovery. Translation: this dress will look great on you for years to come.
- Dark Teal Bamboo/Cotton French Terry: Bamboo is a wonderful fiber that acts like cotton, but wicks moisture away from the body which means that it's the perfect fabric for hot, muggy weather. This french terry will provide much needed breathability but because it's on the more medium weight side of things, it will flow over your curves and cover up an panty lines. It's a win-win, if you ask me.
- Natural/Dark Brown Striped Bamboo/Cotton Jersey: Ah, stripes. You either love sewing them or avoid them after panicked thoughts about pattern matching. With this fabric choice, I'm hoping to move you out of the latter category. The stripes are 1/2" each, and I've been dreaming about sewing the top with the pattern off-set on the princess seams like this one from Victory Patterns. It's a simple way to add complexity to the dress so that you're friends can't believe you made it yourself.
Medium Weight Box: Zadie Dress from Tilly and the Buttons
Ah, the Zadie Dress. If you lurk the indie pattern world as much as I do, this one is a favorite. It has everything you really want in a dress pattern. Cool style lines, color-blocking possibilities, figure-flattering curves and simple, Tilly-approved instructions. It's the pattern that has it all. In fact, it's probably the dress that inspired this whole theme.
Let me allow Tilly to sell it: "The dress has striking diagonal seams, concealing lovely (and practical!) in-seam pockets. The fitted bodice has a flattering empire waistline and round neckline finished with a neckband. It flares out into a feminine, knee-length semi-pleated skirt that’s great for swishing."
Honestly, I couldn't have said it better myself. So let's talk fabric.
- Black Cotton/Spandex Jersey/Black & White Crosshatch Cotton Jersey: It's hard not to look at this pattern and not want to color-block. The sharp edges on the bodice and the slimming side panels scream for it. So who are we to deny? For our first color-blocking option, we've chosen the classic black and paired it with a fantastic print that looks just like cross-hatching on a pencil sketch or, to put it in fabric terms, a very open weave. Sewn together, you get an excellent black and white dress that can be worn year round. Plus, because we don't want to stifle your creative juices, we are giving you enough fabric of each color so you can choose how you want to color-block: Black side panels? Cross-hatch sleeves? The decision is yours!
- Hot Pink Viscose Ponte de Roma: If you're not going to color-block, there's nothing like a vibrant, fun color to brighten up your sewing. This hot pink has just the right amount of saturation to keep it from veering into pastel-land, and it will show off the style lines of this pattern beautifully. Pair the dress with a bright contrasting belt (I'm thinking aqua) and you have a whole outfit. Plus, the ponte de roma is super stable so it's a dream to sew and fit.
- Red Cotton/Spandex Jersey/Flame & Blue Shattered Print Cotton Jersey: It's been a few boxes since we had a good red, and, man, this one will make you hotter than the summer heat. In this option, we're pairing a bright red solid jersey with a printed red and light blue pattern that looks somewhere between shattered glass and a Mondrian painting. The two fabrics will sew up into a dress that's fun, bold and one of a kind. And, like with the the first color-blocking option, we're giving you plenty of fabric to decide how to combine your pattern pieces.
Heavyweight Box: Beatrix Skater Dress from Named Clothing & Coppélia Top from Papercut Patterns
Ok, admit it. You saw the theme and thought: How on earth do you get a luxury box with knit dresses? And the answer to that is give you two patterns for the price of one! In addition to the the knit dress, we are also giving you a coordinating wrap cardigan pattern to wear as a cover-up on those cooler summer nights. Double the pleasure, double the fun!
The knit dress pattern in this box is the Beatrix Skater Dress from Named Clothing. A knee-length sleeveless skater dress, it features a short turtleneck, cutaway armholes, and a trumpet skirt with flattering vertical seams. Because of the form-fitting nature of the pattern, I chose heftier stable knits so you don't have to worry about panty lines or the dreaded spanx underwear. Here they are:
- Burgundy Scuba Knit Suede: This unique scuba knit boasts an ultra soft, brushed suede-like face that will be a dream to wear. And unlike a lot of scuba, it's thin, lightweight and has a flexible yet soft drape. With a rich deep red, the dress you make from this will be a perfect day to night dress that will get year round wear.
- Black Viscose Ponte de Roma: Like I said earlier, a little black dress is timeless, flattering, and oh so versatile. And a dress out this black ponte de roma is sure to become a wardrobe stable. With a flexible and stable drape, soft hand and mediumweight body, this dress will create a slimming silhouette and highlight your curves.
- Embossed Royal Blue Neoprene Scuba Knit: This is a one of a kind fabric. A thick, neoprene scuba knit that's been embossed with a hexagon pattern. It looks almost like laser-cut but without those pesky holes and need for an underlining. Because of it's thicker texture, a little like a lighter wet-suit material, this fabric will really accentuate the trumpet skirt. If you want volume, choose this fabric. Plus, the color is a knockout!
The second pattern in the box, the Coppélia Top from Papercut Patterns, is the perfect cover-up for cooler, summer nights. Or even cooler, AC-blasted days at work. With ballet style raglan sleeve and a wrap-style that nips in at the waist, it's the perfect cardigan to have in your bag to pull out whenever needed.
With that in mind, we've chosen lightweight knits that will breathe even while keeping you warm.
- Heather Peach Featherweight Bamboo Jersey: This thin, wonderfully lightweight jersey is the epitome of a summer fabric. The gorgeous color lives up to its name, evoking warm, sweet peaches, a summertime favorite of mine. Likewise, the soft hand and fluid drape turn this wrap sweater into an amazing summer cardi. Not too heavy, not too warm... but just right.
- Ivory Double Brushed Polyester Knit: If you've been paying attention to fabrics lately, the double brushed poly has been popping up everywhere. It's definitely the fabric of the moment. And its hard not to see why. With a luxuriously soft texture on both sides of the fabric, it feels like moleskin but sews like a simple jersey. In a bright ivory, a cardigan made out of this option will be incredibly versatile and, of course, fashionable.
- Silver Grey Bamboo Jersey: I'll say upfront, I think a grey sweater is about the most important piece of clothing in my wardrobe. It goes with absolutely everything! So of course I was going to choose a grey for this cardi. The bamboo makes this fabric ultra soft and breathable, and it will become a lovely cardigan that will be your go-to choice for when you want to layer.
So that's it for this month! Honestly, can it just be June now? Or at least June weather?
Alas, while we wait, head over to the product pages for more details about difficulty levels and what else is included in the boxes.