Take Me to Venice – The Dress for My Wandering Soul

Venice Dress 1

 

We may live in a bustling city. Or surrounded by hay, or Saguaro cactus; we may even have Temple elephants that meander our streets with clamoring roars of the drum.

Regardless of where we live, we can sew ourselves into the space in which we desire.

Today, I’m in Venice. If only in threads.

 

 

 

The Venice Dress by New Horizons Designs is designed for soft, flowy woven fabrics. I used a woven floral rayon from my Pretty Posh Prints stash–something that spoke to my mood as I was sewing.

Venice Dress 4

I chose to make the mini length (out of my norm!) because it feels so “right” this summer and can easily be worn as a tunic with leggings or skinny jeans. I made the short sleeve (which is really an elbow length) with crossover on the sleeves and the band at the back. Adding these features were very simple, and I think it adds quite a bit of charm.

Tips

The process to sew the dress was very straightforward, and I’d recommend topstitching the neck facing down (optional within the pattern) or cutting it shorter. The longer facing wants to occasionally wiggle up if not topstitched; you can see this in the pic below. With a quick topstitch, it’ll stay lovely and keep me in Venice just a while longer.

Venice Dress 6

And right now, Venice is exactly where I want to be.

Venice Dress 3

 

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Seaside Dress: Freshwater Approved! My Woven and Knit Creations with the Seamingly Smitten Pattern

Seaside Dress Collage

When Seamingly Smitten invited me to do a summer guest blog, my eyes gravitated immediately to the Seaside Dress. The combination of blouse-looking top with the gathered, pocketed skirt is exactly the style I’ve been oogling this summer. I’m pretty sure I printed the pattern and sewed my first version the same day–and that included making a fabric run for the perfect chambray. I was headed to the lake on vacation, and I needed this dress with me at the beach. 😍

This pattern is suitable for both woven and knits, so let’s get on with it. I’ll share a few tips and what I did to create the best fit for each fabric type. [p.s. if you’re grabbing the pattern now, use code SUMMER20 to save 20%, valid for 48 hours]

Version 1: Woven

Seamingly Smitten Seaside Dress 1

For this style, I chose a striped chambray from Hobby Lobby that I had already seen online and knew would be perfect for this style. The pockets are a polka dot chambray also from Hobby Lobby. In this pattern, I measured XS bust, S waist, and XS hip. For the woven style, I chose to make a straight Small since this was my non-stretch version and the elasticized waist would create a fitted look.

I did not color-block either of my versions. I used the full top for the bodice (no inserts). It was just the look I wanted for these two versions–and I’ll definitely be sewing more to try out the color-blocking.

 

The fit turned out perfect in woven; and I was right–I lived in this at the beach. The style is classy yet modest…and definitely mom-approved!

Seamingly Smitten Seaside Dress 4

Woven Sewing Tip: Because we don’t have the grace of stretch when sewing with wovens, there are a few tricks to get a perfect fit when connecting the bodice to the skirt. My skirt ended up being wider than my bodice, and this could have been for several reasons (my pocket placement, seam allowance etc.). I simply used a basting stitch (longest stitch length on your machine) and slightly gathered my skirt before connecting it to my bodice (and before adding elastic). The gathering was minimal, and it didn’t affect the proceeding steps (creating the casing etc.).

Seamingly Smitten Seaside Dress 2

I also have tips for creating a nice, crisp “v” –and I’ll share those toward the end of the post.

Version 2: Knit

Seaside Dress Knit Floral Seamingly Smitten 3.1

For my knit version, I used single brushed poly “Herb” from Sly Fox Fabrics for the bodice,  “Joy” in sage single brushed poly for the skirt, and single brushed “Moss” for the pockets. Again, I didn’t use fabric from my stash. I had a vision, and I went with it!

For my knit version, I sewed a straight XS (measurements were XS bust, S waist, XS hip). I knew I had more leeway with knits; and I’d recommend this to others sewing the pattern as well: if you’re between sizes, choose larger for woven and smaller for knit.

 

I can’t say enough how awesome these pockets are with the gathered skirt style! I’m not even a big pocket user, but I want them for looks. I’m all about the pockets this season 🙌

 

Waistband Elastic Tip: As with any pattern, I recommend taking your elastic and circling it right around your waist. I do this every time to see what length is most comfortable (depending on where I’d like the elastic to sit). I ended up cutting my elastic about 1” shorter than the pattern recommendations.

“V” Neckline Tips: Lastly, I want to leave you with a few tips to get that crisp “V” neckline. This is another feature that I love about the pattern. I don’t sew enough v-necks, and they can be intimidating for many. This style uses a facing, so once we sew the facing, we flip it to the wrong side of the garment. If you’re new to v-styles, you’ll love this.

Step 1: Start stitching 1.5-2” from your “V”

Anytime I sew a “v,” I want my concentration to be on the most integral part–that center “v.” To ensure that I get the “v” right, I start stitching just before the “v” and then continue around the rest of the neckline. You can see where my presser foot is; this is where I’m beginning to stitch the facing.

Seaside Tutorial 2

Next, per the tip in the pattern, when you get down to the “v” point, keep your presser foot down, pivot your needle to stitch straight forward, and use your hand-crank to crank two stitches forward. Then, with needle down, pivot again to face the other edge of your “v” and continue stitching the remainder of the neckline. Those couple stitches in the middle of the “v” allow the fabric to turn more easily with less bulge.

Seaside Tutorial 3

Here is what the inside of my neckline looks like with the facing, before I’ve flipped it to the other side.

Seaside Tutorial 4

Then, snip as close to that “v” as you can, without going through the stitches. I also snip one on each side as well. This eliminates bulge.

Seaside Tutorial 5

Once we flip the facing to the wrong-side of the fabric, it’s time to topstitch. Again, I start near my “v” to keep my concentration on that center point. Otherwise, I can easily get lost in my sewing and might be careless by the time I get to the “v.”

Seaside Tutorial 6

Once you’ve completed your Seaside Dresses, I want to see them! Be sure to share them in the Seamingly Smitten Facebook Group and use the hashtag #SeasideDress so we can easily find them!

Happy sewing!

Seaside Dress Knit Floral Seamingly Smitten 1

Made for Mermaid Chambray Mama Daphne, Including Fall Mods

Made for Mermaids M4M Mama Daphne Dress 2

Some patterns just make you feel at pace in your own skin … this is mine.

I was no new creature to the Mama Daphne. I had oogled it several times, drooled over the beautiful creations, and I even sewed a double brushed poly version as my “solid staple” top for the summer. But I needed a dress.

I was so devoted to finding the correct chambray that I contacted Art Gallery Fabrics for swatches. I wanted to see the beautiful colors in person, to feel the breathability, the softness. I decided on the Cool Foliage for this dress; the greenish hue spoke to me for both summer and the upcoming fall. A little mint pompom trim was my perfect accent.

What I Did Differently

Made for Mermaids M4M Mama Daphne Dress 3

Flounce + Sleeve Combo

I knew I wanted flounce, but I also wanted sleeves. I didn’t want my underarm to be free to the air, especially since I couldn’t part with this dress come fall. I cut all pieces out and realized that the flounce is designed much larger than the neckline. To make this work, I simply cut down my flounce to be the same width as the neck opening.

  1. I sewed the top of the dress together without the flounce.
  2. I narrowed my flounce pieces to be the same width as the neck opening and then sewed them (the flounce pieces) together.
  3. I laid the flounce over the neck opening just as you see it (with the wrong side of the flounce against the right side of the dress). I serged the flounce to the neck opening at the raw edges so that this would now function as one piece. If you don’t own a serger, you could simply use a zigzag stitch over the raw edge.
  4. I created my neck casing by folding down that serged edge just once (to decrease bulk) and stitching just above the serged line.

Waistband Elastic

The next modification I made was the size of my waistband elastic. When I cut according to the measurement chart, I could feel that the elastic would be very snug against my skin. I wanted a slightly looser fit so that I’d be very comfortable in this dress. So,

I simply wrapped my elastic around my waist where it felt comfortable, and snipped there.

The end result? Love! I just want to curl up, read a good magazine out on the porch, and soak in this beautiful weather!

 

Disclaimer: The pattern links in this post are affiliate links. I am affiliated with most of the pattern companies I test for, and this in no way shapes my response or promotion. I only test for companies I respect and only share patterns I adore!

 

 

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