Seashell Southport Dress

photo 1

Happy summer, everyone! I kicked off the season with a beach-themed Southport Dress, the latest pattern from Kelli at True Bias. It’s only been finished since, oh, before Memorial Day (end of May) – oops! Actually, I have a few projects to share from the past few weeks. I’ll get to those soon.

In any case, this is my first attempt at a True Bias pattern. I’m a sucker for dresses, as some of you know, and I love the silhouette of this dress. It can be casual or dressy depending on fabric, styling, etc. Also? Very few pattern pieces made this dress come together quickly. That’s a huge plus in my book! I still can’t get over how many pieces it takes to create the facing of the Colette Beignet skirt. Oy.

photo 2

I didn’t make any changes to the pattern, though I did turn up the hem about a 1/2″ less than instructed. Despite taking a risk by not making a muslin of the bodice, I’m happy with the fit. I sometimes have to shorten bodices by about 1/2″, but didn’t need to with this one. I figured if it was off I’d just correct it in my next version. No biggie. Fitting is my least favorite part of the process so I’ve been living on the edge lately and winging it, making slight changes during the project itself. I can’t get away with this for every pattern, but I’m trying to pick or reuse ones that I feel won’t require too many changes. End of speech.

The fabric is a batik print with seashells and seahorses that I bought at Les Fabriques (Charlottesville, VA) about four or five years ago. I originally intended to pair it with the Wearing History 1940s sarong separates pattern, something I still haven’t made. It’s super cute, but will I wear it in real life? Maybe if I go with a more subdued print. Anyway, this fabric worked out well for the Southport because Kelli also describes this dress as something you can wear as a cover-up to the beach. Perfect! (Guys, I can probably count on one hand how many times I’ve been to the beach in the past few years.)

photo 3

I like that the button band is part of the bodice rather than separate pieces to sew on later. I made my own bias tape using the batik, and while I prefer bias tape finishes to facings, man does it take forever to do! It’s not hard, just a lot of steps.

The one thing I’m not overly crazy about is how the fullness from the lower front bodice moves towards the center where the opening of the drawstring casing is. The fabric forms a subtle V and collects right there. I’ve seen this on other versions. It’s not a big deal, but I find myself wanting to adjust it (which I did for these photos).

photo 4

LOVE the size of the pockets! I’m not someone who needs pockets in dresses, but they’re definitely a good size. I’d also like to take the bodice of this dress and pair it with different skirts. It’s a nice fit out of the “envelope” (PDF pattern only) and a sleeveless dress is an essential for a humid New York City summer! I already have plans to use it with another fabric in my stash. Yay, stash busting!


8 thoughts on “Seashell Southport Dress

  1. The fabric is perfect for a casual summer dress. It looks so pretty on you. Ah… not wanting to do a muslin… that may be the main reason I usually sew some kind of knit for myself! 😉

  2. Hey there, rebel girl! 😀 I think this looks great. I love when a pattern works out without a muslin and/or major changes. This looks like it would be a really great easy-wearing sort of dress. I bet it would be wonderful for the hot and horribly humid sort of weather we’re having right now. 😀

    • Thanks! I thought this fabric was cute, but figured it wasn’t the end of the world if it didn’t work out because I could just use it as a casual beach dress. Now that I know the fit is good I can try some nicer fabrics!

    • You should! It comes together quickly. Now I want to make a stripey version just like Kelli’s mini me is wearing in the mini Southport photos!

Hey, thanks for commenting! I truly appreciate it and always try to respond back. :)

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