Thursday, May 14, 2015

Snakeskin Southport Dress

Mixed Emotions Blog - True Bias Southport Dress

This is the True Bias Southport dress in a snakeskin print that looks smudged, or melted, or tie-dyed, I'm not sure... I love this style of dress for summer, and I made something similar last year. The vintage McCall's had ridiculous instructions though, and it was unnecessarily complicated to assemble. When I saw the Southport dress, I guessed it would be less of a hassle to sew and it definitely was, and the instructions are very clear as far as I can tell (I didn't use them throughout). I made a few fit and style changes however.

Mixed Emotions Blog - True Bias Southport Dress
I muslined the bodice after reading Coco's comment on needing to do a hollow chest adjustment which is an alteration I often need to do as well. I did have an issue with the way the neckline sat on me. Let me try to explain. If you lay the front and back bodice of the Southport dress over each other, matching center front and center back, the shoulder seams match as well. For me, it's better for the back shoulder to be a bit further away from center back. So when you sew front and back together, this allows for a bit more ease in the back than in the front. So I modified the pattern accordingly and I find it perfectly comfortable this way. I made a sketch so you can see what I mean and I hope it makes sense (the dotted line shows the front bodice).


 I also found the bodice was too big in the underarm area. The excess was all in the front so I took a wedge out from the side seams of the front bodice, removing about 2cm at the underarm.

Mixed Emotions Blog - True Bias Southport Dress

As you can see, I skipped the button band in front. I think it's a really nice feature and surely would like to use it next time around,  but I didn't think it would work out too well in this very soft rayon fabric. And I used self bias binding instead of the bias tape facing the pattern instructs you to use (I first removed the seam allowance from the neckline and armscye for this).

Mixed Emotions Blog - True Bias Southport Dress

The pattern comes with with two skirt options, one maxi and one mini. I used the pattern for the long skirt, which is more A-lined than the short one, but shortened it to knee length.

Mixed Emotions Blog - True Bias Southport Dress

Finally, instead of one long drawstring, I cut two separate 50 cm pieces, and then connected them with a 50 cm length of flat elastic. I think drawstrings work better this way: they stay in place better and have more give.

Mixed Emotions Blog - True Bias Southport Dress

I'm very pleased with this dress and expect to wear it a lot this summer. The weather has been so chaotic lately, I wish it would settle down so I could wear my pretty dresses!

Mixed Emotions Blog - True Bias Southport Dress

22 comments:

  1. Lovely dress! I haven't bought the southport dress as I have a pattern very similar already, but is quite old, so may need to check the instructions!

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    1. Thanks Tamsin! I don't know, some people rave about vintage pattern instructions. Maybe it was just that particular one that was problematic...

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  2. Simple and stylish! Looks gorgeous on you.

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  3. I love this dress and recently made it with almost the same construction as this although omitted the drawstring completely and instead opted for an Elasticated waist. Such a good easy summer dress!

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    1. Hi Marilla, you're right, we did use very similar construction, and yet it's interesting that our dresses look quite different due to the different drape of the fabrics. I have a cotton in mind for my next one, if I ever get around to it.

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  4. Lovely and thank you for the review! I have a similar big4 pattern to this, and will do your bias neckline.

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    1. Thank you Justine! I look forward to seeing your dress!

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  5. I bet you’ll get lots of wear out of this one :) I don’t know how you do it but you can manage to render chic and sophisticated even the simplest of patterns!

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  6. Thank you Sasha! It's kind of intentional: I like to feel comfortable in my clothes, but also be able to wear them out to dinner. Versatility is key for me.

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  7. That's lovely, you got a great fit and I love the fabric. I really like the tips you gave about adjusting the shoulders and the elasticated tie, I'm going to try those on my next Southport.

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    1. Thank you Katie! Did you have a similar issue with the fit of the neckline/shoulders? As far as the tie is concerned, I'd make the fabrics ties maybe 60cm next time. This one is a bit short when I tie it in a bow.

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    2. I made the tester version and I think she altered the armhole/neckline area a bit for the final pattern (which I haven't tried yet), but for my test version I addressed my usual hollow chest issue by cutting a smaller size through the upper bust then grading out. it worked quite well but doesn't sit quite as smoothly as yours.

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  8. Wonderful! and what terrific fabric. Looks so chic and comfortable at the same time. I see you had to mess with the bodice as well...but I think the end result is worth the effort. Looking forward to your next version. I'm looking for a cotton print also, but one that doesn't 'talk' too much :-) Maybe a tie-dye or ikat variation...

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    1. Thank you Coco. You're such an inspiration!

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  9. I really like the print you used! Is your shoulder fix kind of like a square shoulder adjustment?

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    1. Thank you Morgan! I guess it's more of a wide back adjustment, since it creates more volume in the back and makes it more comfortable to move my shoulders and arms. It also got rid of some gaping I had in the front neckline by establishing a better balance between the front and back.

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  10. Beautiful! And perfect for the warm weather heading our way.

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  11. It's beautiful, and you in it too! the print is just divine. Wishing you some lovely warm weather in which to enjoy it :)

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  12. Such a pretty simple dress. I was looking for a pattern for this kind of summer dress and yours look great. I also found one from Named.
    The print is fantastic!

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