How Many Summer Dresses are Too Many?

Apparently I don’t have enough on my plate right now, between my thesis, final papers, plays to star in and costume, and an academic journal to release next week. Nope, apparently I’ve also got time to start (and finish!) summer dresses like nobody’s business. Take this one, for example:

Pins and Needles Dress

This dress, which I’m calling the Pins and Needles dress, is a lightweight cotton piece with an inset smock and ruffled shoulder seams. The pattern is originally based on BurdaStyle’s Bib-Front Shirt Dress (#121 in October 2010). Like always, I decided to modify it a bit to suit my own tastes.

The dress originally called for set-in sleeves with a prominent cuff. Even though I cut these out, when I had completed most of the dress, I decided the summery-ness of how it was it was shaping up would make long sleeves seem silly. Instead, I used some scraps that I had left-over from shortening the hem to make a pair of ruffled insets for the shoulder seam, which I serged and then put in. They were actually double the width at first, but looked ridiculous, so I turned them over a second time and now they look lovely and quite intentional, I think.

Pins and Needles Dress

I couldn’t master the buttonhole function on my Singer confidently enough to try doing them myself on the dress, so instead I did each one by hand. It was time-consuming, but well worth it! They look decently like real buttonholes (my previous idea was to sew the buttons on without holes, making them permanent but at least saving the fuss of making five buttonholes by hand).

Another change I made to the original pattern was to take in the waist, by way of sewn-in elastic. My reason was this: the dress on it’s own is rather tent-like. I sort of worried about that from the start, since the models in both versions are obscuring the width in different ways. I rationalized that I could wear it belted, but who was I kidding? I don’t do that.

Instead, I decided to sew a short length of elastic horizontally, beginning at the end of the gathers on either side of the front panel. This way, I figured, I could gather the excess fabric, but still get in to the dress by pulling it over my head. My idea worked, and now it lies nicely against my ribcage without being too loose or too taken in.

Pins and Needles Dress

Overall, I’m so so excited to have this added to my summer collection of dresses. The pattern is adorable, and I love the matching turquoise buttons that I managed to find while cleaning up my work table. The pattern was not too difficult, but as usual, I gave up halfway and ended up just figuring it out as I went. Now that it’s completed, I have the first try at my lavender dress on my work table, and plans for another printed cotton in the works as well. Like I said in title, how many summer dresses are too many? Is there such a thing?

My BurdaStyle page.

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About Meredith

Just another twenty-something crafter, with a penchant for delicious home cooking, the English countryside, and knitting.
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