You know that panicked feeling you get before a trip? The one that convinces you that you need a new outfit to take with you even though you know it’s just adding stress and one more thing to your “to do before I leave” list? The same one that convinces you it’s a great idea to start 2 dresses the week before your trip because you either a) can’t find the right dress in the right color, or b) don’t want to spend $100 on a poorly made dress that you’re not in love with? Yeah, me neither. But seriously, this is me every time. Every trip.
Pattern: Southport Dress from True Bias view B
Fabric: Organic Cotton/Hemp in Natural (being restocked soon!!)
Alterations: Sized down 1 size, used a rolled hem on arm openings instead of using binding tape, & took 1” out of waistband casing side for stripe matching.
For this trip, I was headed to my brother-in-law’s wedding and needed an event outfit (the Kielo Dress out of Liberty solved this) and then a flowy dress for the beach. Enter the Southport Dress with its drawstring waistband and feminine slit. It can be dressed up for dinner in town, or worn over your swimsuit with beach hair... or a combination of the two. It’s everything I was dreaming of, but couldn’t find in stores. With pockets. So I dug in and started planning.
The Southport is drafted for a C cup, with about 3” of ease built into the chest. I’m a DD, so I took a bit of a gamble by jumping into this top without making a full bust adjustment, or a muslin, but it seemed like the built-in ease (and other online reviews saying to size down) would work in my favor, so I let the finished measurements lead me. In the end, I chose to make the size 4 instead of the size 6 that my matched my measurements and I’m really happy with the fit.
I was convinced I was going to use the Raw Silk Noil to make this, but then the Organic Cotton/Hemp Stripe arrived in the shop and I was smitten. It was exactly what I’d been shopping for!
I took extra care (and took over the dining room floor for a couple nights too, haha) while cutting out the pieces to make sure that the stripes would line up, but I really think the extra time spent here saves you time & headaches later.
This dress pattern is clear & easy to follow & I almosttt finished mine for the trip, but gave in to my perfectionist side and spent too much time trying to make the waistband casing stripes line up with the rest of the body. Definitely, a problem of my own making, as I didn’t account for the side seams on the body changing the stripe distance. So alas, I left on the trip without this dress, but still had a great time.
After arriving back home, I solved the stripe problem by taking an inch off of the casing at the skirt side seam to keep the stripes consistent which resulted in the casing being an inch short on one front. I ended up leaving it this way (instead of adding a tiny 1” panel) because I don’t think it’s noticeable unless I untie the waistband and point it out...but I won’t, and you won’t tell anyone else, right? Haha.
Anyway, I absolutely love this dress, and have worn it day after day (seriously 3 days in a row now, but this is between us again, right?) of this warm spell we’ve had in Colorado. Even though I didn’t get it done in time to take it to the beach, wearing it transports me there and brings a little of that care-free beach life with it...and we could all use a little more of that right now, right?
Just in case you’re making this before a trip, here’s a couple of ideas to help skim some time off and help you get it in the suitcase:
- Use a solid fabric so you’re not stressing over pattern matching like I did (Silk Noil is next for me!).
- Consider using a twill tape or ribbon instead of making your own drawstring.
- Look ahead in the pattern and finish all of your edges with a serger or zigzag in one large batch so you’re not having to go back and forth between machines or stitches.
- Consider using snaps or sewing the button front shut so you can skip the buttonholes.
- Play to your strengths. If you know you can do a rolled hem faster than attaching binding tape, do that (I did this on both arm openings).
- Know that you’re either going to have perfection or the dress done on time. Both rarely happen at the last minute, so accept that it can be “good enough” or finish after you get back and go get some well-earned sleep.
I hope some of those ideas help but feel free to reach out if you have other questions!