Showing posts from October, 2021

A pair of Summer Dawns

A friend invited me to room with her on a trip to Playa del Carmen that she was going on with a group of her friends in August, and of course I said yes!  Leading up to the trip, I sewed up a bunch of summer clothes.  My idea was that I wanted a lot of loose, flowy clothes made from breathable fibers, preferably with no zippers or buttons.

I definitely wanted some maxi dresses for strolling on the beach and I have several gorgeous rayon knits that are just begging to be made into a wrap dress.  But the only wrap dress I had previously made that I actually liked was the Named Olivia, but that wasn't quite the style I was after.  So I took a look at my pattern stash and decided the Striped Swallow Summer Dawn had the look I was after.  It has lovely gathers at the shoulder seams, fluttery sleeves and ties that wrap all the way around the body.

Since I'd never sewn this pattern before, I figured I'd try making a wearable muslin of the shorter version first, to minimize the loss of fabric if it turned out to be terrible.  I chose this gorgeous tie dye rayon spandex in shades of blues, reds and black  

My current measurements put me in a size XXL.  I'm 5'9" and I knew I should probably add length, but I decided to make it with no modifications just to see, but also because lazy.  As you can see from the above photos, it was pretty short.  I'm not opposed to short, but I've just become more comfortable with skirts that are a tad closer to knee length than this one turned out to be.

So, to fix it, I used some of the leftover fabric to create a ruffle.  I cut as many 8" strips as I could and sewed them together into one long strip.  Then I folded it in half lengthwise, gathered it along the raw edges then lined them up with the right side of the dress along the hem and sewed them together.  Then, pressed the seam allowance up toward the dress and topstitched it down.

It adds length and also gives it a good weight at the hem that just makes it feel nice to sashay around in.

I also like that the front skirt piece is wide enough to have plenty of overlap so there is no flashing everyone if the wind picks up.  I'm pretty pleased with the lovely flutter sleeves too.

And here's the view of the back.

I've worn it a few times and I have gotten compliments each time.  I really do love this dress.

The second version I made from a Lavender/White/Black/Glacier Gray Modal/Rayon/Lycra Daub Watercolor Floral Print Jersey Knit from Fabric Mart. The photos of this maxi version were taken on the balcony of our room at the beautiful Paradisus resort in Playa del Carmen the day after Hurricane Grace blew through.  Where we were, she was still a category I hurricane and other than the minor inconvenience of all alcohol sales being banned after 5 pm on the day she hit and the pool being closed for a bit the next day, the storm didn't have much affect on us.

The maxi skirt is a separate piece from the short skirt -- well pieces.  To save paper, they have the top and the bottom of each maxi skirt piece and instruct you to place them 15.75" apart and then suggest using a long, straight ruler to help cut the straight lines between the pieces.  I didn't alter the length of this skirt and it just happens to be pretty perfect.

The pattern doesn't have pockets and it is the one thing about my tie dye version is missing, so I added some inseam pockets to this version.

Other than being a bit squinty, I like how these photos came out.  I need to setup a place at my house that has good natural light and a neutral colored background so I can easily get better photos without traveling to Mexico..

This pattern is definitely a winner for me.  And there is no doubt that I will be making it again.