Thursday, July 7, 2016

Pattern Whisperer presents: floaty summer dresses

It's time for a new Pattern Whisperer post and since the topic is summer dresses I had better get moving. In case anyone is inspired to sew up one of these recommendations.

In fact this Pattern Whisperer is going to be very specific - a dress that is pretty, floaty, feminine, figure flattering. Enough adjectives? I have a specific type of occasion in mind with this one. It could be an on-the-casual side garden wedding, a evening party at a restaurant where they serve the drinks and appetizers outside at 6pm and the day has been scorching. A shower or birthday party where you want to look a notch above casual and show off your sewing accomplishments at the same time.  Perhaps your stash contains a great cotton voile or sateen in a nice floral and want just the right pattern. Hopefully one of these will work for your summer event. By the way, a year ago I did a Pattern Whisperer on summer sundresses, and a lot of those are still in print so check that out for more ideas.

And stay tuned if a full skirt is not your thing - when I was accumulating patterns for this post I found enough great sheath dress patterns to merit their own post - so that will be up soon.

First up is this Vogue 9182 dress which probably takes a lot of fabric but looks quite easy to sew (if you don't mind making some buttonholes!) It has custom cup pattern sizes  - how great is it that the pattern companies are finally putting this feature in a lot of their patterns. I really like the back of this dress, it takes it from basic to extra pretty. I love the gingham version - that would be so cute for a summer party and the black and white makes it more chic and less picnic tablecloth. This pattern gives a slightly vintage vibe without the pain of a single size vintage pattern.

Vogue 9182

Next is another Vogue pattern 9167. This one is not so low cut as the previous dress but also has princess seaming and custom cup sizes. I really like the pleated skirt version. This pattern is very similar in shape to a lot of other patterns, example Vogue 2900 which is a great DKNY pattern that is out of print  - so this one is a good alternative. Also Simplicity 2174 which I partially used to make this dress.

Vogue 9167

Speaking of custom sizing, I like the options in the new Cashmerette pattern, the Upton Dress. The neckline is very nicely shaped and I love the pleated skirt option, although the seamed skirt is nice also and probably takes a bit less fabric. Either way you can mix and match the bodice and skirt. I don't know how the pattern is designed, but if I were sewing it I would make sure the waistband is not one continuous piece but a front and back waistband, and then I would add a bit extra when cutting out the side seams, and then pin fit on the body to get a nice shape. I never like patterns that have you construct the whole top and then attach the skirt - just more trouble to fit. But this looks like a winner for the size range.

Upton dress

This next one is a bit of a curve ball in that it is knits-only, unlike all my other selections. Although I will note that I have made plenty of things that were designed for wovens in knits with success - as long as the necklines etc are stabilized then why not?  Anyway I always like dresses that have shirring, ruching, gathering, whatever you call it. They add visual interest and sometimes hide a multitude of sins! I even like the high-low hem in the main image. Kind of a fun way to do that trend and if you don't like it then hem it straight across.
McCalls 7350
These next two Butterick patterns are a bit less floaty but still fit into the category of summery and not clingy. I love that color blocking options on the B6316 and the tulip skirt on the B6164 is one of my favorite looks. Also B6164 looks quite easy to sew and you can tighten up the neckline if that is a place where you have some fitting issues by adjusting the darts and the cap sleeve.

Butterick dresses

Another recommendation from the Burda plus offering is this dress which looks simple but kind of fascinates me - as the side panels are cut on the bias. I have never seen that before and wonder if you could do that with any princess seamed dress to get the same effect which is figure hugging but not tight. I hope someone sews this up so I can see :) Also love that skirt with the flare - so pretty and kind of highlights some great shoes. This is a PDF downloadable from their Burdastyle website if you don't have the magazine. Burda dress3

Here is a dress that I have seen a lot of versions online, the Sway dress from Papercut Patterns - and were it not for my already extensive pattern stash I just might order it. But if you want to sew a dress that has all the highlights - easy to sew, flattering, perfect for a vacation, shows off a great fabric, and leaves room for ice cream, then this is the dress. Super cute and yet so simple. I think I have talked myself into it.

Sway dress

A couple more patterns to round out my selection.

This one will make the list on the upcoming sheath dress Pattern Whisperer post as well, since it has custom cup sizes, choice of skirt styles, sleeveless or sleeve options. Check Pattern Review as there are 30 reviews on all different body shapes which look really great - also I want to steal some of those fabrics that have been used.

Vogue 8997

Lastly - thinking back I realize that I made a dress that fits the description here - a floaty full skirted summer dress, this Vogue 1353 which I think is still in print. I actually reach for this dress more than I expected - especially when it is really hot here a cotton voile dress is the perfect thing. This link takes you to the post for this version - which was my 2nd. And then links to the first version where I worked out all the fitting details if you are interested.

Vogue 1353 repeat

There are so many dresses of this type available - you probably have one already in your stash. Both Simplicity and New Look have a lot of cute dress patterns - however their website is so bad lately that I gave up searching there. But I will give a thumbs up for New Looks patterns, their pricing can't be beat and they so often have a variety of views in the same pattern envelope.

Today I finished a project that I have been working on for what seems like weeks - way too long but I kept setting it aside. In any case - done! and now I can move on to new things without feeling guilty. Up next a few things I sewed as examples for upcoming Craftsy posts  - one of them is a great re-use of a previous pattern.

Happy summer sewing, 

today's garden photo - I guess these are daisies? not sure but they are finally blooming.



  1. So many lovely dresses. I have new look 6431 (also released as new look 6184? I'm not sure why 2 different numbers!) ready and waiting for when it warms up in the southern hemisphere ;o)

  2. Great round up! I really want that Sway dress, too.

  3. So many lovely dresses, I've made Vogue 8997 a number of times and still love it. Glad to know I'm not the only one who has given up looking at Simplicity and New Look website as it is so poor. A real shame as New Look was usually my first choice when looking for a new pattern as they fit me perfectly.

  4. I love this kind of posts! Thank you! I like a lot of this dresses and V1353 will be the next to buy on the first sale on the Vogue site :). I must say that as much as I like dresses , sew and wear, I find it really difficult to choose /find the type of dress that fits my life style and weather. I mean I have two 5 years old kids, stay at home mom and living in the Netherlands so for me the ideal will be to have something that is comfy/easy to wear but still feminine and that will go easy on rainy gray I don't know

  5. What a great collection of dress patterns! I am adding Vogue 9182 to my list of patterns I want - I love the retro vibe, and with the right hem length I think I'd wear this one a lot! :-)

  6. Just a question: don't you think that the sway dress from Papercut is a simple pattern that could be replicate from any trapeze dress pattern? Or do you see something special in its construction? For example, at first sight, the Inari dress may look like a simple tee dress, but the curved drawing lines makes a total difference. Thanks!

    1. You probably could make the Sway style dress from a trapeze dress pattern, although I note that they have designed it so you can wear it with the V-neckline in either front or back. Interesting about the Inari dress - that one I think is pretty basic and the curved hem is about the only distinctive feature.

    2. Beth, in fact for Inari, the hem looks curved, but it is not. This visual effect comes from the curved sides. The front and the back pieces are different in dimension.

  7. I have two mock ups of Vogue 8997, one the straight sheath and one the full skirted short dress, just waiting to take to Sarah Veblen for some fitting help next weekend. Next I'm going to have to find a pattern for a little summery shrug since I don't like to let my upper arms see the light of day:-)

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  9. I love the Pattern Whisperer!

  10. Has anyone made Vogue 9167 reviewed here? There is a very tricky bit when making the pleat in the back. Directions leave out a couple of steps, I believe. Just looking to see if others agree with my approach! Thanks!