I’ve long, well, longed for a couple of sewing patterns that produce flattering garments and that I’m able to execute well with my somewhat limited skill set, that I could make in a variety of fabrics and just basically live in. I’m absolutely delighted that I seem to have found two. The first is April Rhodes’s Staple Dress. I made this one with the high-low hem and, while I really like it here, it was a pain in the ass to hem and I don’t necessarily want half a dozen dresses with this exact silhouette. The pattern includes an option for a straight hem, though, which is going to be my go-to, I think. The dress below is made in a fairly heavy silk/cotton twill that feels like buttah, and it represents my first French seams, my first applied bias binding, and the first dress I’ve made start to finish that I’ll be happy to wear. I put in the shirring at the waist, but ended up taking it out again; it looked strange, possibly because of the weight of the fabric. I don’t think the dress necessarily needs it though. I frankensteined a couple of sizes together (S from the shoulders to the waist, then easing out to M for the lower half), so that gives it a little shape. I may wear it with a belt, but again, I don’t think it’s essential.
The other pattern I tried out recently is Liesl & Co.’s Everyday Skirt. I’ve only done a muslin so far, which I’m glad I did because I definitely learned a few things putting it together that’ll make the actual garments look and fit a lot better, mostly with how the waistband goes together. Also, even though the M is a near-perfect fit, I need to narrow the top of the back panel to a S or possibly even XS to better fit my narrow back. But I love how quickly and cleverly this skirt came together. I made the muslin in less than a day, which also included cutting out the pattern and the fabric, not to mention reading and rereading the directions to try to make sense of what I was doing. The directions are fantastic though. I quickly learned that just following blindly and doing what they told me to do led to aha! moments: aha!, that’s how the pockets come together! aha!, that’s how the back waistband fits!, etc. This was my first PDF sewing pattern, which I’d avoided in the past since the whole taping and cutting process seemed like a hassle, but it was smooth and easy and, dare I say, a delight, which is not a word I’ve used to describe any sewing project before. It was also my first time with this kind of pocket construction, waistband gathering, and waistband construction. Now I just need to figure out what fabric to make the real thing in. I definitely want to make a chambray one for this summer, but I do have some stashed fabrics that’ll work too. I have more of the silk/cotton I used for the dress above, and there might be enough of that left for this. And I have some naturally dyed (logwood, I think) lavender cotton that’ll be perfect.