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Two Dresses. And Then Two More.

Sewing Two Barefoot Summer Sheath Dresses
Up for a little Show and Tell? I’ve been sewing Summer sheath dresses 🙂

It’s summer, so naturally I have gotten in the mood to supplement my handmade wardrobe. There was once a time when I loved sewing and I did quite a bit of it, but now I see it more as a means to an end. I love having a handmade wardrobe, and the most efficient way to add to it is to spend a few nights sewing. So, once or twice a year I do that.

This time around, it’s dresses. Specifically, I was in the mood for a couple of breezy linen Barefoot Summer Sheath Dresses.

Two Dresses

Sewing Summer Sheath Dresses: Black and White Stripes

Pattern: Personal pattern (Barefoot Summer Sheath)
Fabric: Kaufman Essex Yarn Dyed Classic Wovens Linen Stripes Black Fabric

Modifications

I have been losing a little weight lately (yay!) but I’m still not where I was when I first made this pattern (boo!), so I thought it would be a good idea to give myself a little room. So, I cut out the fabric with the pattern 1/2-inch from the folded edge in order to add a couple inches to the width of the dress.

This, it turns out, was a mistake.

By adding the extra room on the fold, I also changed the neckline, which is obvious now that I write it, but which just never occurred to me at the time. So, I had an extra 2 inches in the neck area, which made the whole thing gape terribly. And, unexpectedly, I did not need an entire two inches of extra room anyway, and I ended up taking in the sides. So, all around a bad decision.

I couldn’t fix the neck, in the end, so I simply folded over the gaping portion, and fastened it down with a button. Like so:

Sewing Summer Sheath Dresses: Button at the neck

It’s not perfect, but it beats scrapping the whole thing. And I found this antique red button sitting right on top in my grandmother’s button jar, so I think it was probably meant to be. I’ve worn this dress to work a few times already, and I like it. Thumbs up from me, despite the difficulties!

Sewing Summer Sheath Dresses: Blue Dress

Pattern: Personal pattern (Barefoot Summer Sheath)
Fabric: Kaufman Essex Yarn Dyed Linen Blend Fabric in Malibu

Modifications

I cut the fabric for this one at the exact same time as the previous one, so they both had the same problem. However, this one, since I already knew it was cut too wide and that the neck would be a problem, I approached a bit differently. For one, thing I used a much bigger seam allowance when sewing the sides together, but then I also incorporated the neck fold into the design, and sewed the binding right over it. It looks like I meant to do that, I think. It can be our little secret 🙂

Sewing Summer Sheath Dresses: Pleat at the neck

I haven’t worn this one yet, except to take photos. The fabric, despite being listed as “lightweight” is heavier than I thought, and a bit stiff. Hopefully a few washes will calm it down. I plan to wear it to work next week, if the weather cooperates.

And Then Two More


Sewing Summer Sheath Dresses: Modified Dress No. 1 Sewing Summer Sheath Dresses: Modified Dress No. 1

These are kind of a cheat. I actually sewed them two years ago (you can read about them here and here, respectively), but I almost never wore them. Originally, I had doubts about my ability to pull off an A-line shape without feeling self-conscious, and I just never got over that feeling. I was only ever comfortable wearing them when I had a sweater over them, taming the wide-angled natured of them.

Luckily, it’s much easier to adjust a dress that’s too wide than one that’s too narrow!

So, I simply sewed some new side seams on these two dresses, copying the shape of the Barefoot Summer Sheath Dress side seams, and I am much, much happier. I’ve already worn the plaid one since fixing it, and I’m happy with how it went.

In fact, I am thinking about tracing an all new pattern that combines the neck and shoulders of Dress No. 1 with the body shaping of the newly-widened Barefoot Summer Sheath. Then I’d really have something 🙂

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