Self-Drafted Tropical Party Dress

I bought this fabric on a whim in a bit of a haul from Fabrics Galore in May as I knew I needed something tropical for the New Craft House summer party. I was toying with the idea of a brocade but I’m so glad I bought this cotton seersucker since it was 25 degree heat on the day!

Normally I can look at a fabric and know what pattern I want to make but this one was trickier. I didn’t want it to be a normal summer dress or look like something I’d wear to the beach. I have an old lace dress from Whistles which has cut away shoulders and I really like how flattering that cut is. So rather than trying to find a pattern, I decided to just draft it myself. I first traced the shape of the front of the Whistles dress but had to tweak it as I wanted bust darts since this fabric had less stretch than the lace. It took a couple of attempts but I ended up with a rough shape for the front and the straps. I then decided to just cut them in one piece as below – I thought this was a bit more interesting and also less sewing. Added benefit of this fabric is that it has palm trees upside down as well so it worked having the straps in one piece.

I wanted some kind of racer back but I pretty much made it up as I went and cut the simplest shape possible. I sandwiched the straps upside down in the back bodice pieces meeting in a point at the top then sewed up the sides and voila.

I kept the skirt simple, making a slightly longer than usual circle skirt which I felt made it more of a party dress than everyday wear and I used bias binding on the hem which gave it a bit more structure. I always somehow end up underbuying binding by about 3 inches so thank god Fabrics Galore is local to me as I had to have an emergency trip back a day before the party!

I learnt from this dress (and from everyone at the party asking for the pattern!) that I should really make a proper toile so I can make it again/ share the pattern. But it is pretty cool seeing a pattern I ‘designed’ on a very unartistic note on my phone (below) become an actual real dress.

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