Handmade Summer Dress Success

A frock! I haven't made a dress entirely from scratch in too, too many years and I decided it was time. I wondered if I could dislodge the dress pattern that was once ingrained into my sewing brain, drag it from my mental sewing archives, and decipher it enough to make a summer frock. Yes! The answer is yes. I can. I did. I remembered enough. I found this pretty fabric at my favorite Berkeley fabric store, Stonemountain and Daughter, and obeyed when it demanded I purchase it and bring it home for a future life as a dress. (I obey the fabric store when it makes demands.)

I gave myself two new challenges in making this simple dress--pockets and a button-down top. I knew I would be recalling the pattern from memory and that, measurements aside, I could pretty much make this one up based on dressmaking experience of years past. The pattern is truly that simple. The pockets were a cinch (many good tutorials online if you just Google search, "how to sew pockets".) But a button-down top required a little more planning. I made a few mistakes, corrected a few mistakes, and continued on my path of frock making. An overdue rendezvous with my old buttonhole maker presser foot and... voila! Dressmaking in progress.

So, there are a few things I would change next time--a more fitted waist, pleats closer together in the back, maybe a slightly higher hemline--but for the most part I am quite happy with my new summer frock. It's washable, wearable, chase-after-a-crawling-infant-able, and it fits just like I imagined. Now, of course, I want to make a dozen more in various lengths and colors and fabrics. Okay, maybe a dozen is just a wee bit ambitious.



  1. Seriously, you rock! I love the dress! I'm amazed you found the time to do it, including actually fixing mistakes! I have yet to make a dress. Wide leg linen pants are on my list .. you've inspired me and make me want to get to work.

  2. It is absolutely adorable! I love it! And good job on listening to the fabric, it definitely was perfect.

  3. There is nothing better to wear than a dress with pockets. I wish I could sew. My niece is a little seamstress sans sewing machine. I think I will contribute to the cause by handing mine over. She made Gil a pillowcase that my mom was so impressed with. As a matter of fact, I just witnessed mother's guided and experienced hands running over the bindings and evenness of the seams. I just have to encourage that!

    P.S. I love your Instargram posts. I can't get into it myself at all, but I enjoy seeing the new face of the little guy on your page!

  4. Anonymous7/04/2012

    It looks great. And I particularly love the colours in the fabric's pattern. Very summer, yes indeed.

    Enjoy your summer days!

  5. Oops. I hit 'anonymous' by mistake. The above was meant to be from little ol' me here in Melbourne in the middle of winter.


  6. Anonymous7/04/2012

    The dress is adorable - great job. I know what you mean about obeying the fabric store - there's a lot of fabric in my studio right now that found its way home in the same way. Now I just have to get around turning it into something - oh the joy of too many projects - hopefully your example will get me back to my sewing machine.

  7. Anonymous7/04/2012

    The dress is adorable, great work. I understand completely about obeying the fabric store - there's a pile of fabric in my studio right now that has found its way home in the same way. Now I just need to follow your example and get back to my sewing machine - the trick with having lots of projects is that it sometimes takes time to get around to everything you have planned.

  8. it's a BEAUT ! [jealous of your memory sewing skills.]

  9. kathryn: thank you! it was so fun to make. i admit, i use the little one's nap times down to the minute. it's the only way i get creative work done. oh, blissful naps!

    belly: thank you! the fabric did call to me and i'm just glad i listened :)

    beth: agreed. all dresses should have pockets. my wedding dress had pockets! one day, you will sew. i will teach you. we will drink lemonade and be crafty! nice to see you over on instagram.

    anonymous: thank you!

    gracia: oh, hi you. so glad you like the fabric. (hi times two.)

    craftchick: yes! we must obey the fabric. nice to "meet" you here.

    craftchick: oh, hi again. sorry you had a hard time posting. argh! glad you did though.

    lisa: thank you, friend. i probably made 20-30 of these dresses in college. repeat muscle memory!



Thank you for your comments, friends. I like to think we are creating a dialogue in this space--building a virtual community.