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.
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”.
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?
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.
- 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. I've put a couple of fabric suggestions from Fabric.com below.
- A 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
- A double twin needle (Optional)
- A serger (optional)
Fabric suggestions from Fabric.com
Download the free pattern
Size chart for the summer dress
The measurements below indicates that if your bust is 40″, use size 14.
Step One: Prepare your fabric
Apply stretchable fusible interfacing on the neck, shoulder and arm holes 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.
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.
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).
Use the serger or a 3 step zigzag at the hem. (Optional you can leave it raw)
I have applied stretchable interfacing to the hems because I do not want it to buckle or look wavy.
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.