Geometric Southport Dress

September 25, 2015

Wednesday was officially the first day of fall, so of course I am posting about a summer dress today! My timing might not be the best but I actually think this Southport Dress will be a good fall transition piece when layered with a cardigan/tights/boots (but it was in the upper 80s when these pics were taken so you won't see any of those things today).
Southport Dress by Hey it's SJ - front 1
I have a "dress" that I bought years ago from Forever21 that I love (I think it is supposed to be a dress but it is completely inappropriate without leggings, so I wear it as a tunic). It is a tank with a front button placket and elasticized waist. It is one of those items of clothing that I seem to wear whenever it is clean, so when Kelli of True Bias released the Southport Dress pattern that is so similar to my well-loved "dress" I knew I wanted to make one.
Southport Dress by Hey it's SJ - back
I found this rayon challis at Hancock Fabrics. Black & white geometric print in my favorite textile ever? Yes, please! I can't remember exactly how much I paid for it but I know they were having a really good sale that weekend. It was probably about or just under $10 for the 1.5 yards I needed and that's not a bad deal for a dress at all. I am pretty impressed with the quality, too; it is definitely one of the softer rayon challises that I have come across.
Southport Dress by Hey it's SJ - close up
I don't really have a whole lot to say about this pattern except it is awesome and I love it. The instructions were great and for me the fit right out of the envelope was awesome. I opted to leave off the front bodice button placket for this version. It's a pretty busy print and I felt like the buttons would just get lost anyway so I saved myself some time by cutting the front bodice on the fold at the center front. I also decided to use elastic in the waist instead of the drawstring that comes with the pattern. This required a little modification to the construction, but not much. I lengthened the casing so that it would be the entire width of the dress, then instead of sewing the casing into the waist seam so that it folds to the outside of the dress, I simply sewed it so that it would fold to the inside of the dress. I stitched all around the bottom of the casing like in the pattern instructions, left a hole to feed the elastic through, fed the elastic through, and then sewed up the hole. And voilá, no drawstrings to fiddle with.
Southport Dress by Hey it's SJ - inside
I finished the neckline and armholes with some vintage lavender bias tape that was gifted to me by my boss's mom (seriously, I may never need to buy bias or hem tape ever again). I'm still working on getting necklines to lay flat when finishing them this way, as you can see from the photos. Surprisingly, the pokey-outey-ness bothers me way more in these photos than it does IRL, so that's good, I guess. I used french seams throughout the dress, even on the side seam pockets which was interesting (I used this tutorial). The point where the pocket and the side seam intersect was a little funky but overall I'm happy with how they turned out, and from the outside they look just like any other side seam pocket.
Southport Dress by Hey it's SJ - front 2
I had a lot of fun during the whole process of sewing this dress but I think my favorite part was the fact that I did not have to make any fit adjustments! I had read a few other posts mentioning that the bodice runs a little big and the skirt a little narrow so I wanted to play it safe and sewed up a muslin. My body measurements are exactly a size 8 on the size chart, but based on the finished measurements I decided to size down to a 6 and the fit is pretty spot on. Don't you just love it when that happens?
Southport Dress by Hey it's SJ - front close
I absolutely have plans for more Southports, though they might be put on hold until the spring to make way for some more seasonally appropriate sewing. But I think it would be super cute to add a shirttail hem detail to the skirt. I don't own any maxi dresses (gasp!, I know) but I am definitely interested in giving the maxi version a go, too.

Do you have any favorite patterns that fit right out of the envelope? Do you like making fit adjustments to patterns? Sometimes I find the whole fitting process fun (I love a good challenge/puzzle) but being able to skip it is such a time saver.

Pattern: Southport Dress by True Bias Patternssouthport dress thumbnail
Fabric: Rayon Challis from Hancock Fabrics
Body Measurements: Bust 36/Waist 29/Hip 38 (in inches)
Size: 6
Adjustments/Alterations: no adjustments for fit; cut front bodice on fold and removed front button placket; removed drawstring and added elasticized waist