Faviola, The “Housewife” Summer Dress

summer dress

A couple of days ago, I went to a local store to buy a floor runner for a hallway.  After looking for a while, I finally decided on one and proceeded to bargain the price –a common practice here in Singapore.  After much arguing, I actually decided not to buy the rug.  It wasn't anything special and the price was indeed inflated.  When the salesman perceived I was backing away, he proceeded to use the old flattery tactic, but having grown up in Latin America I was immune to it.

summer dress

What did catch my attention though, and despite me wearing a rather obvious wedding band, he continued to use the word “miss”.  I corrected him and said “missus” –after all, I am married.  The man said but you do not look like a “housewife”.  I was a bit taken aback and asked him why he would say such a thing?  He said, “housewives” wear “a uniform” and you can spot them a mile away.  I looked at my dress which was the first thing that had caught my eye in the closet.  Normally, I dress casually and according to my mood, but today I would be having lunch with a friend I have not seen in 5 years, furthermore, she is French, so not a hair out of place….”ever”.

summer dress

In Latin America where I grew up, when we get up, we shower and dress ready for visitors.  After all, when we say “Mi casa es su casa” we mean it.  People often do not call before dropping by.  Of course, they don't expect you or your house to be perfect, but just looking plain is actually frowned upon.  I'm not suggesting you take on the practice.  But, then again why not?  After all, you never know who you might meet while at the supermarket?  Needless to say, “Fabio” did not get to sell his floor runner and I ended having a great time catching up with my friend.  But the thought kept bugging me.  Are we so comfortable at home in plain clothes that we have begun to become invisible?  How does wearing super casual clothes every day affects our mood?  Why do we think dressing nice has to happen only when we go somewhere special?

summer dress

This dress is very easy to make.  It does take a bit of effort to prepare the fabric, but once you are ready, it can be sewn in 30 minutes.  Make it and try on the dress to go the supermarket or take a stroll around the neighborhood and see how many people ask you if you are coming or going to a party.  What are you celebrating today?  You!  Yes, I am wife inside the house, but I'm also a keeper, a cook, a nurse, a mother, a friend, a lover, a woman with many hats.  I think this dress says all that.

summer dress

Materials:

  • Jersey (Rayon or linen) only 2 1/4 yards for the sizes 2-14.  3 1/2- to 4 yards from 14 to 18.  4  1/2 to 5 yards for 20 to 22.  62″ wide. I've put a couple of fabric suggestions from Fabric.com below.
  • Ballpoint or jersey needle.  I always use Schmetz.
  • Stretchable interfacing cut on a bias or stay tape
  • Satin bias tape.  This is what I used but any kind should do.
  • Thread to match your fabric
  • Double twin needle (Optional)
  • Serger (optional)

Fabric Recommendations from Fabric.com

Size chart for the summer dress

The measurements below indicates that if your bust is 40″, use size 14.

Screen Shot 2016-06-19 at 5.53.16 PM

Download the free pattern

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Download the Free Pattern

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Step One: Prepare your fabric

Apply stretchable fusible interfacing on the neck, shoulder, and armholes to both front and back of the top.  Please notice that ITY jersey does not need to have the seams finished.

Step Two: Attach the front and back

Take the front side and back side of the top of the dress right sides together and pin at the shoulders.  Sew at 1/2″ seam allowance.

Step Three: Apply bias tape to the neck

I like to apply bias tape to the neck area when the neck is wide enough for the head to go through without the need of a zipper.  It provides both a decorative detail and prevents the neck from losing shape with time.  Pin the tape starting at the shoulder seam on the right side of the fabric and fold in sewing it on the first fold of the bias tape.

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For a more detailed explanation of how to apply bias tape to a V-neck line please have a look at the following article.

Step Four: sewing the sleeves and the sides

Mark the middle of the sleeve top and bottom and each half of the sleeve.

Pin the sleeve to those three points first.

Untitled design(5)

As you start sewing stretch the fabric between those three points. Proceed to sew at 1/2″.  Clean the seam (use serger of 3 step zigzag) and iron towards the sleeve.

Sew the sides and clean the seams.

Step Five: making the flounce and skirt

Because both skirt and flounce are a circle we are going to treat them the same way.  Sew the sides and clean the seams (use a serger of 3 step zigzag).

Untitled design(8)

Use the serger or a 3 step zigzag at the hem. (Optional you can leave it raw)

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I have applied stretchable interfacing to the hems because I do not want it to buckle or look wavy.

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Step Six Attaching skirt and flounce

Pin the skirt at the sides, front and back and stretch the fabric in between while you sew.  Clean the seams with a 3 step zigzag or if you have a serger use it.  The dress is done and all you need now is a to iron the hems using a cloth and some steam.

Put on the dress, strappy sandals and some lip gloss, and you are ready for anything!

Step Seven (Optional)

The pattern is drafted for a full circle skirt.  (half circle is shown below) however, on the bigger sizes, 14 and up and when using ITY knit will make your skirt too heavy.  In that case, you can reduce the width of the skirt.  The important thing here is not to reduce the waistline while reducing the hem width.

This is how to do it.

We are going to work with one-quarter of the pattern. Take half of the half circle.

Trace a line from the waistline to the hem and cut the pattern from the hem to but not through the waistline.  You will stop the scissors about 2mm at the waist.

Using sticky tape overlap the pattern pieces one on top of the other the amount you want to reduce skirt by and tape. 

Add the cut on fold pattern marking and you are done ready to cut.

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summer dress


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184 Responses to Faviola, The “Housewife” Summer Dress

  1. Mona Murphy says:

    Hi, I meant to ask if you have the pattern in A0 format for sending to the printers

  2. mona says:

    HI, do you have the faviola dress download in A3 format?

  3. Jenny Lombard says:

    Hi there, i’m preparing to sew the Faviola.

    Is the flounce the piece on the bottom of the sleeves?

  4. rita penner says:

    I shared your lovely pattern on my local Sewing group where a friend said, “Rita… LOL you can’t make a dress in 2021 called “the Housewife” dress! LOL EVEN if you do run a household… you just can’t make a dress called the housewife!!!! LOL” I told her I read the post about the person being mistaken for NOT a housewife. You both have a point. Good for a ha ha!

  5. Mellie says:

    What a lovely dress! I’m definitely thinking about making it. I’m curious about two things:
    1. Is there a pattern for the pretty belt, too?
    2. Would side pockets work with this dress? (I’m a huge fan of pockets)
    Thanks!

    • Mayra Cecilia says:

      Hi Mellie, the belt is just ribbon-like in the olden days. The leather belt does not have a pattern yet I think I will make it since I use it a lot and it is very versatile.
      Pockets will work but you need to draft them so that they do not hang flat around you.

  6. Ess says:

    What a lovely dress. And such a great fabric. I have a couple of questions – The olive patterned fabric looks like it might be a lightweight knit – ITY? but the fabric. com suggestions are for quilting cotton wovens.

    I haven’t worked much with knits, but I have some ITY I would love to make into this dress. But I think even a straight skirt would pull and stretch out the top. How do you distribute the weight?

    I also would need pockets – even small ones for a key.

    • Mayra Cecilia says:

      HI Ess, you are right too much fabric will pull the top if the correct fabric is not used, a very lightweight knit is a must. If you can not find this you can take out some of the fulness of the skirt to balance the weight. The pockets need to be drafted from the waist down of there will be bulk and this will ruin your dress.

  7. Jane P McKay says:

    Lovely dress and thanks so much for the pattern. I come from a long line of “housewife dresses” and love this idea. We too often stay in a “casual mode” and fail to celebrate our female-ness and lovely traits. I will be downloading this pattern and hopefully using it for a dress to wear whenever I want to. Jane Neal

    • Mayra Cecilia says:

      I do hope you do jane, time is not on our side and with our freedom being taken away we certainly are running out of events in which to feel beautiful, so yes Carpe Diem!

  8. noele says:

    i must be just missing it but i cant find the download for the faviola dress.i even went to kofi and bought you a coffee while i was there . appreciate all your help noele

    • Mayra Cecilia says:

      Hi Noele, the link is under the sizing chart. Thank you for Ko.fi please do let me know if you are still having problems finding the link.

  9. Sharen Gibbons says:

    I love this pattern thank you

  10. naturallyShanna says:

    Hello Mayra! Can you omit the sleeves and add bias tape around the holes? Will that lay ok, without being too open to see the side of your bra?

    • Mayra Cecilia says:

      Hi Shanna, I ould raise the armhole yes by about an inch. You can always take away before you apply the bias tape if this is too high for you.

  11. Rita Johnson says:

    I haven’t made a circle skirt in years! I think i want to try this….Thanks for the inspiration. I live in Tennessee (US) and wear dresses all the time in the summer just because they are cooler.

  12. Diane says:

    All morning I have been trying to down load and print the housewife dress. I am getting really up set. I have not had this problem only with this dress. I donated $10.00 either you give it back to me or print the pattern yourself and send it to me. Let me know if you are going to send it so I can send you my address

  13. Ivlia Blackburn says:

    I made this out of ordinary woven linen but made a square neckline and long sleeves. I managed with 3m of 60″ wide fabric and a 3/4 circle maxi skirt. Looks fabulous on and is lovely and cool in the summer.

    • Mayra Cecilia says:

      HI Ivlia, sadly I am at the farm and no internet to really on, please piece together 1 to 5, 6 to 10, 11 to 15, 16 to 20 and 21 to 25. That should help, but do tell me if you still need further help. Kind Regards,

  14. Jennifer says:

    I loved your article today as well as the dress! Challenge accepted.

  15. Jasmine says:

    I realy appreciate your work

  16. Miranda says:

    Lovely dress! Just wondering…directions say “jersey” fabric, but both fabric.com suggested fabrics are woven. Am I missing something? Thank you!

    • Mayra Cecilia says:

      yes the links went ready crazy, I will change them as soon as I get to my computer on Friday but you can look for linen or bamboo knit Lightweight or very lightweight.

  17. Rebekah says:

    Never mind. I found it. Thanks!

  18. Rebekah says:

    Never mind. I found it. Thanks!

  19. Timi says:

    Very nice! 🙂

  20. DENNIS HOSSZU says:

    Most interisting in deed

  21. Karen Bernardo says:

    You specified rayon or linen jersey. Is there a reason you can’t use a cotton or polyester knit? I might have one of those, but rayon or linen, no.

    • Mayra Cecilia says:

      Simply because it would make a nicer natural fibre dress in summer, keeping you cool and looking pretty in the heat of the day. That is all, the amount of stretch is much more important.

  22. Rede Batcheller says:

    Hi! Again you have posted a pattern that appeals to me. I look forward to the day when the rest of life is less demanding so I can sew myself some new clothes…until then I practice gratitude — and occasionally drool. I would like to make a comment on what you say about dressing plain (or worse) and effectively being invisible, with comparison to “dressing up”. I, for one, have found it more and more comfortable as I have gotten older to cultivate the invisibility that apparently comes with age. If I dress up it is to call attention to mself. If I don’t it’s because I want to exploit the social situation of being ignored, overlooked, whatever you want to call it. When I was younger — and not retired — I was one of those who had to work esp. on how I looked in order to “fit in”. Year by year the necessity has decreased, and I have one or two small “things’ that people may remember, but on the whole I am playing the game rather than being played by it. Refreshing. esp. as my energy level flags . . . Love what I see and read of the work you do and life you lead. Blessings!

  23. CM Pete says:

    I adore this dress! But I can’t find the beautiful pattern. got a link to it?

  24. Jade says:

    I love this pattern, can’t wait to try it, but I don’t see a link to download the pattern??

  25. Marthese says:

    Where can i find the link to download the pattern, please? I couldn’t find it in the article.

  26. Susan Hixon says:

    suitable fabrics available to me range from 42” to 56” wide. What width did you use for this dress?

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