Time Out to Sew a Summer Dress

I go whiny this time of year, whining about the heat, the sun, the insomnia…  It is hot, though I see a perk- summer dresses.  This past month, I notice I reach for Cleopatra, Blueberry Parfait, and Terra Incognita more than anything else.  They’re far and away most comfortable of anything I own.  Maybe it’s all dresses all the time for me this summer- light, inexpensive and above all comfortable.

I picked up a blue and white cotton duvet cover, “Bladvass,” from Ikea’s clearance bin the other day.  It’s open-weave, which will feel great to wear.  The yellow is a thin cotton voile, in a color I adore but can’t usually wear.  I’ll line the skirt and the upper bodice with yellow.

I hate wearing bras in this weather.  I do, of course, but as soon as I’m at home that’s it.  (TMI?)  That doesn’t mean I don’t want support, so I sometimes build bras into casual dresses.   The subject came up when I made a halter-back dress recently, so this will be a great opportunity to document how I do it.

The Bladvass (“Reeds”) dress will be backless for comfort with a full skirt and a midriff section.   I also see a ruched upper bodice section, ridiculously oversized 1950’s pockets, and a half-circle skirt attached to a yellow midriff.  Too much?  Carolyn suggested using an asymmetric hem with off-set lining to allow a contrast to show.  What if a half-octagon peeked out a few inches below the smooth half-circle Bladvass skirt?  Mmmmm…..

A whiff of this dress...

I know my posts have been all over the place lately, but this week I’m digging in for solid sewing. I’ve been dying to make another dress for rotation so I’m focusing on this dress only.   (And a post on what to do with big, fat darts from an FBA.)


  1. Lol. I am with you–le bra goes out the door in summer. I’d be curious how you do a built-in bra. I’m thinking for next summer I want to work on some sleeveless tops with some support or coverage built in. I’m reminding myself that hot weather is always just a peek around the corner here so I’m already strategizing. ;)

    • Part of it is considering the shape of the garment, part of it is stitching in bra cups… I might make another cleopatra and show that process, too, because she’s really supportive… There’s a couple of ways to build support into knit tops (is that what you mean?) but as much as I try, I don’t find knits very comfortable in the summer.

  2. I understand what you say about the subject in the summer … I have a love-hate relationship with summer. Love everything about it, but it’s so ugly when it’s butt all upset. Looking forward for your new project!

  3. I hate summer here. I spend all my time inside so I don’t get burned, but the house is hotter than it is outside. Sometimes I wish I was back in California where at least it was a dry heat, and the sun didn’t seem so harsh.

    I’m very interested in both the built in bra – going without is far more uncomfortable for me than bearing with it – and dealing with FBA darts. Big darts never seem to want to sit properly.

    • We should totally hang out and gripe about the weather. I bet it would make us feel cooler. :)

      You’re right, big darts DON’T want to sit properly as a rule, and I suppose I don’t blame them… I go the “divide and conquer” route.

      • Dude, if I lived near Brisbane instead of south of Sydney, I’d totally stalk you. Except that that sounds creepy…

        I’ve happily and successfully divided darts on skirts, but I’ve never managed to make them look even when divided on a shirt/dress. I think I need to practice more.

        • Heh heh heh, it’s ok Sarah, I can see your ISP number so I consider it even. ;)

          Practice is a big one… Practice and learning to “balance.” That’s what I work on, anyway. I remember being frustrated because I’d alter a pattern only to know there was something “off” about it. I have one of my old favorite blouse patterns to show you how to balance… I’m pleased to be getting around to sewing with it again.. Anyway, how I do run on… :)

  4. If you can show how you make a built in bra for a fuller bust into a summer dress, I’d pretty much say you were the bees knees.

  5. Obviously I’m in the minority, as I love hot summers!

    On a related note, I’ve been looking for a post you did some time ago about making sun hats. Searches on “hat” and “sun hat” don’t bring it up, perhaps you described it differently in the post.

    If you could point me in the right direction I would really appreciate it! I remember it was really good.

  6. Anyone have a tutorial to make me need a built in bra? Cause that’s all I need. ;-)

    I love, love, love the ikea fabric (I have a thing for waterlilies), but as much as I adore and long for yellow, this one, and this combination aren’t doing it for me. I kinda feel that the waterlily fabric has enough going on, and the yellow just makes it busier, rather than calming it down. And I wonder if it is going to be too much with all the design details you are contemplating.

    But feel free to ignore me, because your stuff usually ends up looking amazing!

    • Nah, I trust your judgement and tend to carefully consider your opinion, even if I don’t necessarily “listen.” :) The yellow won’t really show much at all, it’s more for modesty and durability…

      I’ve all but decided against the yellow midriff, but I do like the warm tones it imparts to otherwise cool-toned fabric when used as a lining. I *think* it won’t read too warm so I can wear it without looking like I have consumption, but if it doesn’t I’m not too fussed… This is a utility garment.

  7. Pingback: How To Sew Rouleau Ties With No Special Tools « 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World

  8. Pingback: Balancing Darts and Refining a Full Bust Adjustment « 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World

  9. Pingback: Wearable Work In Progress: Bladvass Dress « 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World

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