For two thirds of my life, I was decidedly not a dress person. Not only that, I HATED wearing dresses. They involved too much for me. Slips, tights, proper footwear? Not for me. This hatred was complicated by the fact that I went to a high school that required girls to wear skirts. My own teenage rebellion was to reject all dresses on principle and never wear one if I could avoid it.
Then, something happened. Not all at once like a lightning strike, but, over the course of my twenties (when I was no longer required to wear them), I figured out that dresses don't have to be this "involved" wardrobe item. In fact, with the right dress, you can get your very own secret pajama outfit while still looking presentable to regular society. It would've seemed like anathema to my teenage self, but there's some sort of witchcraft in a dress where it's a complete outfit in one garment and a comfortable one to boot!
That's where the Weekend Dress comes in. Okay, I may have made up this term, but I think there's something to it. It's the dress that isn't designed to be fancy or dressy, but the one that fits like an oversized t-shirt, can be layered on top of things, and just feels comfortable for those weekend days. It's the jeans and t-shirt equivalent of a dress that you throw on to run errands or go to your kid's soccer practice or get lunch with friends. And when you've made this dress yourself, it's all the better an addition to your wardrobe!
So we've put together three patterns that we think will become your weekend wardrobe staples. Three, you ask? Just like last month, we're using the same pattern in two boxes because we love the style just that much. And we think you will too. So without further ado, let's talk boxes!
Sew Fearless Box: Indigo Dress by Tilly and the Buttons
Full disclosure: I was seriously not convinced by this pattern when it first came out. When I first started sewing, I was lured by Tilly and the Buttons and its user-friendly patterns, brightly colored patterns, and cheery blog posts. I made several of their patterns and I've used some of them in boxes here.
But at first flush, the Indigo Dress was too cutesy for me. This mainly came down to the flounce detail (not pictured above) that accompanies the waist gathers in one of the views. Such details - flounces, ruffles, cold-shoulders - do not fit my aesthetic and so I dismissed the pattern as something "not for me."
But then, on Instagram, I kept seeing these gorgeous dresses and discovering in the descriptions that they were the Indigo pattern. Color me shocked! And I realized, underneath the flounces was a really versatile and stylish dress, that can fit into many wardrobes from those of sewists who like ruffles to that of sewists who don't. In other words, it's an all-around outfit winner that will fit into any wardrobe.
The dress itself, with its slight empire waist, features bust darts, gathers, and a slight high-low hem. You can sew it as a top, a tunic, or a full dress, and it will look great paired with flats, tights, or even a pair of leggings underneath. And you can make it so many different fabrics for different looks. We've chosen three that will look great with all the views (flounce or no), and we hope you agree!
- Black Watch Plaid Cotton Lawn - A classic black watch plaid combines two of our favorite colors - navy blue and deep green - to form a timeless tartan that is classic and elegant. And we love the idea of using a structured print to contrast with the softer lines of the Indigo pattern. Paired with some gray tights or black leggings, you have an instant outfit that will be perfect for all your weekend or work needs.
- Rose Yoshiko Broken Viscose Twill - In keeping with the styling of Tilly and the Buttons, we decided to go with a bright, cheery color, and this rose pink is just that. With a bit of peach in the mix, this color will lift your spirits, especially in March when it feels like winter will never end. Plus, the viscose twill features a broken weave, giving it a cool texture and fine drape. A perfect dress to welcome the approach of Spring
- Indigo Dots Cotton Chambray Union Shirting - Not quite dots, the pattern on this fabric is created by a dobby weave in the chambray that exposes the white threads, like little hashmarks on the blue. With a soft drape and even softer hand, this fabric feels like your favorite denim shirt that has been washed a million times. That makes it a perfect match for the Indigo pattern for a look that is casual, lived in, and effortlessly cool.
Sew Confident Box: Hinterland Dress by Sew Liberated
Have you ever had one of those patterns that seems to be haunting you? Well, maybe not haunting, which implies some sort of otherworldly intent, but perhaps fascinating you, sticking in your mind, never quite disappearing from your "to make" list? The Hinterland Dress is that pattern for me. Every time I see it, I make a mental note to make it for myself and to use it in one of our boxes. And now is finally the time!
I'm not quite sure what is is about the dress that I find so alluring. It could be Sew Liberated's highly curated instagram feed doing its job. (Seriously, it's worth following even if you don't sew). But I also think it's the pattern itself. The apron-like shape, the lightly gathered skirt, the button placket - it all adds up to a dress that combines simplicity with elegance, functionality with femininity.
Looking at home both on the farm and in the city, this dress has everything we're looking for in a weekend outfit. And to play with that balance of rural and urban, we chose fabrics that are modern takes on classic fabrics, something we just love here at Needle Sharp HQ.
- Auburn Red Double Gauze - The first fabric I thought of for this dress was double gauze. The fabric is light and airy but has enough structure to work for both the loose, gathered skirt and more structured bodice. In an earthy auburn red, the dress will pair beautifully with anything from a denim jacket (how much do you love the orange-blue pairing) to a cardigan sweater to a leather bomber. Dress it up with boots or down with sandals. The color will speak for itself, and in the soft double gauze, it will be secret pajamas all the way.
- Black and Gray Windowpane Viscose Mix - We fell in love with this fabric back in July when we used a solid version of it in our Breezy Dress Boxes. Heathered yarn gives the gray gorgeous subtle variations in color, and the viscose is touchably soft. With the grid pattern, this fabric reminds us of a modern take on classic gingham and we think the line will complement the pattern beautifully. Throw this dress over a black turtleneck for an instant posh look or make the long sleeve version and really embrace the check. Either way, you'll have an unforgettable weekend dress!
- Royal Blue Neon Neppy Chambray - It's hard to see in the swatch photo, but this chambray actually has slub threads of neon yellow and pink speckled throughout the surface. With a soft yet firmer drape than the other two options, this fabric will allow you to play with the volume of this pattern while still embracing the shirt front bodice. And honestly, who doesn't love a chambray dress?
Sew Curvy Box: Quincy Dress by Jennifer Lauren Handmade
This is the first time we're using Jennifer Lauren Handmade, but I can guarantee it will not be the last. When I first started looking at indie patterns, JLH stood out for its distinctly feminine but not saccharine designs. I especially fell for the Dalloway Skirt which was very similar to a skirt I love (and continue to wear) from Anthropologie.
When they started producing paper patterns, I knew it was only a matter of time before we used them in one of our boxes, especially one of our Sew Curvy Boxes as the patterns are based on a D-cup and range to size 24. And the Quincy Dress is like the perfect foray into this new (to us) pattern maker. It's the ideal weekend dress with its easy fit and simple styling. Plus, with a drawstring waist, you can wear loose or cinched depending on your mood!
While lots of fabrics work for the dress, we decided to go with rich hues and lighter weight fabrics that will help you transition into spring. Style these fabrics with boots and a scarf or flats and a cardigan; either way you'll have a beautiful, handmade dress you'll feel great in!
- Black Chintz Printed Vintage Crepe - Chintz fabric, named after the Hindi word for "spotted" referred to a simple cloth with flowers or other printed designs. This fabric is a modern take on that style, replacing the muslin woven with a drapey crepe and the traditional cream background with a rich black. But the floral pattern itself is very Old World, and we love the way it will be on display in this dress. Unexpected and gorgeous, this fabric will be a one of kind dress that you'll want to wear well beyond the weekend
- Plum Viscose Linen Silky Noil - Our love affair with the linen-viscose silky noil knows no bounds. With so many rich colorways to choose from, it seems that there's no end to how many ways we can use it and achieve stunning results. In a deep plum, this color way will make the Quincy Dress (and your heart) sing. A gorgeous fabric option
- Teal Daisies Dali Rayon Poplin - If a large scale floral isn't for you, might we suggest this fabric that is dotted with small white daisies. The dark teal background offsets the playful flowers creating a cool balance of youth and sophistication. In a silky soft rayon poplin, it will drape beautifully and go easily from winter wear into spring sundresses without missing a beat. your new favorite all-year round dress!
Sew Indulgent Box: Hinterland Dress by Sew Liberated
As I said above, the Hinterland Dress, for me, has an allure that I can't quite explain but can't quite deny. And part of that, beyond what I've already said, comes down to its versatility. The idea of a weekend dress is that it is both secret pajamas and brunch outfit; ultimate comfort clothes and stylish wardrobe standout. And the Hinterland Dress takes this to the next level by also being a great layering piece.
Sew Libertated has made the interchangeable, layerable garment part of its brand. Several of their patterns are designed to be worn in different ways and in different combinations. In fact, their Metamorphic Dress is not only created to be layered but also to be reversible!
So it was a no-brainer for us to use the Hinterland Dress in our Sew Indulgent Box and to up the ante with one of their layering patterns as well. So in this box, in addition to getting the Hinterland Dress and all the accoutrements to make the pattern, we're also sending you the Stasia Knit Dress pattern which will look amazing under the woven dress or on its own. And we've chosen fabrics that will look great layered or by themselves!
- Royal Blue Bliss Double Gauze - This double gauze is truly bliss. While some double gauzes we've used have a plain, flat face, giving you the feel of gauze with the look of broadcloth, this gauze has a crinkled face and cushy feel. And we love the texture it adds to the Hinterland Dress. The gathers at the waist will blend beautifully with the crinkles, and the blue is rich but not too bright, evoking denim without the stiff texture. A gorgeous fabric for a gorgeous dress.
- Black Chambray Linen Viscose Woven - I think what I love best about this fabric is that it looks like a gray suiting, all stuffy and business-like, but it's actually soft and lush, a linen-viscose blend that works for so many applications. Black warp threads combine with white weft threads to create a gray chambray is simple and light, a perfect fabric for this pattern. The gray will go with most outfits, and it will layer well with all your favorite shirts.
- Red Sorrento Linen - This bright cherry red linen is happiness in a fabric. The color is rich and deep with cool tones to keep it from being brassy and the linen is washed for softness to give a soft drape perfect for this dress. Sometimes you just need a bright red dress to liven up your weekend, and with this fabric choice, you can make just that. A handmade win-win!
This month, we're reviving our Breezy Dresses for our Classic Boxes, so if our Weekend Dresses aren't your thing, you can still make a comfortable, secret pajama outfit for the transition into Spring.
On top of that, we're trying something new this month. We had such a great response from our Best of the Year Boxes that we've decided to offer some of our kits by themselves, without a subscription. Because sometimes you want the kit now and don't want to wait for your subscription to ship each month. Plus, if you've been thinking about our kits and aren't quite sure about the commitment, now is the chance to try one for yourself (or someone you love).
We'll be offering these boxes every two months and once our inventory is gone, they're gone. So don't wait! This cycle, from now until March 15, we'll be offering Jeans Kits and Blouse Kits, eight kits in all to match your style and your budget. Check them out here and tell us what you think in the comments or on social media!
Until next time...