¡Hola chicos! Two weeks ago we returned from a trip to Costa Rica, land of pura vida. When most people have a holiday coming up, they might start preparing by reading up on the culture, thinking about places they want to visit, maybe learning a bit of the language. The first thing I think about is planning my holiday wardrobe. For a crafty person like me, this means planning all the awesome outfits I am going to make for my trip.
That's totally normal, right?
I was pretty disorganised this time, so in the end I only managed to make one item - this lovely little Mississippi Avenue dress from Sew House Seven. The pattern comes with three lengths for a top, above-knee dress, or below-knee dress. I opted for the longer dress variation (View C), but the other views are very cute. I will definitely be making this again.
(Quick story about this photo - I'm standing on the balcony of the tree house we stayed in at Tree Houses Hotel. Unfortunately, the weather was super hot the whole time we were there, so in the end I didn't even wear my beautiful dress. I put it on for this photo, then rushed back inside to take a shower and change into my shorts. Ultra-breathable workout gear only, folks.)
For the fabric, I used Atelier Brunette's Dash Lime from M is for Make (still available to buy). M is for Make is my go-to place for purchasing fabrics in the UK online. Their selection is gorgeous, and they have a quick turnaround time for orders - I recommend them!
Dash Lime is a cotton batiste, which is somewhere between voile and lawn. It's very fine and has a crisp hand. While reasonably opaque for a lightweight fabric, it is still slightly sheer when standing in direct sunlight. Let's just say I am not going to be wearing any dark-coloured bras with this dress. If I was going to use this again, I might underline it or add a lining to counteract this (although then you lose some of the benefit of having the batiste in hot weather).
Although the design looks quite simple, there is some very clever drafting going on at the front which allows the bust shaping to go into the front panel seams, eliminating darts. The end result looks very clean and minimalist, but it has a vintage vibe. I could see this being stunning using a really special contrast fabric for the panel.
Sew House Seven rates the pattern as being at a beginner level, but I would not recommend this to an absolute beginner. There are a few tricky bits in the construction (such as binding the v-neck) that I think a complete beginner would struggle with. That said, the pattern instructions were very clear and I didn't have any problems with it. I'd recommend going slowly and making sure that you understand the instructions at each step as you go along.
I really love this design, and I think the fabric is a perfect match. This would be such a great outfit for a summer picnic, especially in the gorgeous Dash Lime fabric. Atelier Brunette fabrics are so beautiful and easy to work with, it is almost impossible to make something bad out of them.
The elasticated waist makes the dress very comfortable, and the v-neck and shoulder ties are so flirty and cute. (Why don't more patterns have v-necks? I know they're a bit harder to sew, but they are so flattering!)
The pattern was well-drafted, and the instructions were very clear. I was being lazy and didn't make a muslin before starting, but I had absolutely no problems with the fit. The silhouette is very flattering for someone like me who is more pear-shaped since it is fitted at the top and flares out gracefully below the bust. I will almost certainly be making up more Sew House Seven designs.
There really wasn't much that I disliked about this. For next time, I would probably lower the v-neck a little bit to make the dress a bit more flirty for a date night. It looks quite nice as it is, but for me it was a bit too modest. (Maybe this says something about me as a person!) However, it's quite work-appropriate at this level - the top variation (View A) with a cardigan over would be a nice office to evening outfit for summer.
Another mod I might do would be to shift the shoulder ties down to the front of the shoulders rather than the top. This would make it a bit easier to put a cardigan over or carry a purse without having the bulkiness at the shoulders.
Despite the minor quibbles I listed above, I am really in love with this. The design is very well-constructed, and the fabric is like a bright spot of sunshine. I can't wait to make another for summer! I have some lovely Liberty Tana Lawn that would make such a perfect Mississippi Avenue dress.