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