The Triple Digit Dress

I’m still sewing my summer reconstruction makes like crazy. Click here for explanation. We’ve got two, if not three, more months of HOT weather. With this being the case, I haven’t come close to maxing out on sewing for this season. However, I’m happy to take time away from my machine to share with you reconstruction make #3, a comfortable, cool summer dress.




To belt or not to belt, that is the question.

The pattern I used is Simplicity 1668 which I got on sale at JoAnn’s for $1.99. I snatched this pattern up as soon as I stumbled upon it as it fit my reconstruction criteria perfectly – loose and gathered at the chest.


The fabric is Tulip Rayon in Poppy by Joel Dewberry which I purchased once again from my favorite online store Hawthorne Threads. (I know I sound like a broken record always mentioning Hawthrone Threads, but I haven’t managed to get to Los Angeles for fabric shopping in several months. I am thankful for their great selection and great customer service.) I got 1.75 yards at a cost of $9.70 per yard. I love this fabric. I prewashed it in a cold machine cycle, and hung to dry. It’s soft, lightweight and drapey, yet not too delicate for everyday wear.



An elastic casing forms the gathers at the middle front.

The gathers near the shoulder are sewn to a facing. The armholes are finished with purchased bias tape.



There is a box pleat with top stitching at the back neckline.


Curved hem is finished with a facing. Not the easiest thing in the world to do perfectly on a rayon. Mine is passable.



1. I cut a size Small (10-12) at the top and graded a Medium (14-16) at the bottom. I also added 1″ in length by slashing the pattern pieces where indicated. The photo on the envelope showed the dress several inches above the knee on the model. I’m not tall, so I figured adding 1″ would fall at the knee on me. I’m happy with the overall fit and did not have to make any adjustments while sewing.

2. The pattern is labeled as “easy-to-sew.” I think that this can apply to the other views-elastic pants and shorts, and jacket. For the dress, I have to say the neckline with the elastic casing, shoulder gathers, and facings is a little fiddle-some, especially in a rayon. I wouldn’t recommend this dress for a beginner.

3. I interfaced the belt even though the directions did not call for it.

4. Now I’m going to talk the nitty gritty of practicality. I LOVE this dress. I think the pattern and fabric are a perfect match. And it couldn’t be more comforable to wear. However, I still find myself grabbing the same old shorts and sleeveless tops over this cute dress on a daily basis. Is it too “nice” to just wear around the house or a trip to the grocery store? I think the real reason I don’t throw it on more often is the fact that it’s care is “high maintainence.” First I have to accumulate a load of delicate wash cycle items to wash with it, then I will need hang it dry, and then I will need to iron it. This means it will be a long time before I wear it again once I throw it in the laundry pile.

What about you, do you avoid wearing some garments you love just because of their care requirements?




14 thoughts on “The Triple Digit Dress

  1. That dress looks comfortable and cool and I like the details the pattern has. Would drying it on gently ruin it? It’d be a shame not to wear it. I’ve made mostly practical items this year; the few that don’t get worn are due to a pattern not working for my body type.

    • I do wear it, just not as much as I thought I would! I’m afraid to put it in the dryer as I didn’t do that when I prewashed the fabric, so there’s a possiblity it may shrink.

  2. I love the fabric and the color looks great on you. I think you could easily dress it up or down. You put so much work into this – I say WEAR it. Can you do a mini load with just one or two items? Maybe throw your bras in there in a lingerie bag?

  3. What gorgeous fabric! It really is a great dress- I am impressed by your attention to detail in the finishings. It’s definitely casual enough to wear more often, but I hear you loud and clear about care instructions. Sometimes I avoid my handmade items because many of them require ironing after they are washed, and that’s a pain. But I remind myself that they are more high maintenance in large part because they are made with nicer fabrics and details that require a good pressing. It makes me appreciate them more.

  4. Love it! You’re right – the softness of the fabric makes it perfect for this design. It would be much easier to make in a crisp cotton but then it wouldn’t fall so nicely or feel so good. Personally, I wash all my homemade dresses on a delicate cycle and hang them and iron them, so I’m doing a gentle load every week. But then since I’m sewing almost every day I always have my iron on!

  5. Another great dress! I have to admit I’m a bold laundress. I machine wash most everything on the warm wash and rinse permanent press cycle, and then either permanent press dry or hang dry. What I am careful with is washing similar weights/textures together, and that takes times to accumulate. I iron all the time, so that isn’t typically a hold up. I love summer dresses, and will wear dresses over shorts/tops most of the time.

  6. I love looking at Hawthorne Threads’ twice-weekly emails and once bought quilt fabric from them, but never thought to look for rayon. Now I will go look: Your dress is so lovely! ….. Will you make the jacket, and if so, out of what type of fabric?

    • I have ordered rayon a few times from Hawthorne Threads and have not been disappointed. I don’t think I’ll be making the jacket. Many other projects on my need/want list!

  7. Pingback: The Carefree Dress | Sewing Myself Stylish

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