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Marta's Act Of Sewing Dress

What to say about Sonya Philip and her new book? I’ve honestly been a little stumped. Not because I don’t love it—I love the book, and her patterns, and her style, and her sewing philosophy so much. And to my delight, when looking through the 4 new patterns in The Act of Sewing I realized that Shirt No. 1 had had a bit of glow up and had been redrafted and named “Top,” now featuring both a front and a back piece for even more ease of sewing. This was particularly exciting to me as I’ve loved Sonya’s patterns since my very first Shirt No. 1, which was quickly followed by Dresses No. 1 and 2 and then Pants No. 1 and 2 and now Shirt no. 2, and also very many hacks of all sewn during and in between. Whenever I fall in love with a fabric that I want to wear on my body but don’t have a specific garment in mind, I always reach for my trusted and cherished Shirt No. 1 block because I know that this block is a perfectly drafted blank canvas from which you can create nearly anything. It’s a block full of possibility. And it’s for this reason I love it so.

Some image description words - not sure what image you're using, but this might be a good start:  Marta stands wearing an ankle length, gauzy black linen dress with a subtle plaid of thin white lines. She wears black and white cowhide clogs and one side of her crinkled dress hem is knotted. She stands in front of a weathered white painted brick wall.

Pattern: Dress from The Act of Sewing, by Sonya Philip
Size Made: 2X
Fabric: Estanza Yarn Dyed Linen Gauze
Modifications: Cut a rectangle skirt instead of using the a-line Skirt block from the book

Close up of the skirt part of Marta's dress. She has one hand on her hip and the other hand pulls the skirt away from her side. The gauzy linen fabric almost seems to float. A few green succulents grow in the cracks of the sidewalk, a pop of green in front of the brick wall behind her.

To me, it seemed only right for this dress to be my first project from The Act of Sewing. Attaching a skirt to my cherished Shirt no. 1 is something I’ve done before, truthfully, but this time felt a little different. Using the freshly drafted Top pattern pieces, and following Sonya’s thoughtful, concise instructions in her book, I think that this result is my favorite version yet.

A close up of Marta smiling, one hand on her hip in front of a painted white brick wall. The skirt of her dress is gathered and sewn to a simple short sleeve bodice, made from lightweight, gauzy black linen sparsely crisscrossed with thin white lines of a subtle plaid design.

I chose to not use the skirt block as it was a little too a-line for what I was envisioning, and instead simply sewed a large rectangle from my fabric which I then gathered to attach to the top in the same method outlined the instructions. This allowed me to achieve a more boxy shape and also to leave the decision of the length till after my dress was finished and I could try it on.

The ankle length hem of Marta's black linen dress is knotted at one side, and she wears wooden clogs with cowhide leather in black and white.

The fabric drapes so beautifully that I decided to keep it long (out of the ordinary for me!) and to tie a knot to showcase the perfect wobble of this gauzy linen. I also chose to simply serge the hem for this same reason.

Marta wears a grey sweater, with a few spots of mustard visible mending stitching, over her black and white linen ankle-length dress. Shee looks down and gently holds the side of her dress.

I can already tell I’m going to wear this thing, and love it, to pieces.

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