SOUTHPORT TO TANK TOP HACK TUTORIAL

I have been hoarding this gorgeous silk crepe de chine for about a year now waiting for the perfect project. I didn’t have a lot, and I knew I would need extra for patternmatching, so I finally decided that a tank top would be perfect. Instead of buying a new pattern I decided to give the Southport Dress a little hack and took pictures along the way in case any of you wanted to give it a try too. It’s a really simple hack with just a few steps.

 

Step 1 – Take your pattern piece and cut it along the lengthen / shorten line. Put some paper behind it and separate the top and bottom by the desired amount. For me it was 8 1/2″. I am a little short so you might want to add a bit more if you are tall or long waisted. Just compare it to some ready to wear tops you have and see what you like. Tape the pattern pieces to the additional paper so that it is separated by that desired amount.

 

Step 2 – The width of the top should already be wide enough to fit over your hips, but since you will probably be wearing this top over jeans or other pants, I think that it’s a good idea to add a bit more width at the bottom. Make a small mark 1/4″ out from the original side seam. This will be added to the front as well making a total of 1″ of extra ease at the hips once sewn. Connect this small mark with the top section creating a nice fluid line.

 

Step 3 – Cut along this new line to create your new side seam.

 

Step 4 – This is optional, but I like my hem to be a bit shorter at the sides than at the front. To do this, mark about 1″ up from the current bottom on the side seam and make a nice curved line to connect to the original bottom a few inches out. Harder to explain than do, so just make it look like the picture below. Cut the new hemline. That’s all for the back!

 

Step 5 – Do the same exact steps to the front so that it looks like this.

 

Step  6 – Also lengthen the interfacing and the button / buttonhole guide. Mark a few more buttons and buttonholes the same distance apart as the first ones.

 

Step 7 – You are going to sew up your tank in the exact same way as the pattern instructs, except that you should hem the tank top by turning up 1/4″ and then another 1/4″ and then topstitching at a scant 1/4″.

Give it a good press and you are done! I am pretty pleased with how this turned out. I want to make a chambray one next.

 

HUDSON TO SKIRT HACK WITH AGF SOLIDS + GIVEAWAY

Art Gallery Fabrics contacted me a few weeks ago about trying out some of their brand new solids knit collection for a project. I used some of their knits last year when making a dress for my daughter and making pjs for my kids and I am a fan.  Of all of the 4 summer dresses that I made her the AGF one is the only dress that didn’t shrink so much after multiple times in the dryer that it still fits this summer. So of coarse I said yes and quickly settled on their marigold colored knit called Sahara Sun. I wasn’t disappointed.  The color is beautiful and the fabric is that perfect in between knit with enough structure to hold it’s shape and not show every little ripple and underwear line, but still very soft and easy to work with. They were also kind enough to send me an extra yard to give away to one of you (details at the bottom of the post).

I have had this hack in mind for a long time and was excited for this excuse to go ahead and put it together. I used the Mini Hudson pattern for the tutorial, but you could certainly use the women’s sized Hudson Pant for the exact same effect.  In fact, I really want to make myself one now.

OK, let’s get started. Gather your pattern pieces together.  I am using a size 5T here. You need all of your pieces except for your ankle and calf bands.

Take your front pant pattern piece and put it on top of a plain piece of paper. Trace the top and side and about 1″ down from the center front top edge. Also copy the grainline and notches.

Move your center front edge to the left by 3/8″ (eliminating the seam allowance) and make a mark. From here draw a line down parallel to the grainline to create your new center front fold line.

Decide how long you want your skirt length and then add 1 inch for the hem and 3/8″ for the top seam allowance. I wanted a skirt that was 9″ long so the total length is 10 3/8″. Mark the bottom of your skirt perpindicular to the center front fold line.

And now to finish the side seam, draw a line parallel to the center front and perpindicular to the bottom, up to meet the side notch. That’s it for the front.

Now take your back pattern piece and just like the front, trace the top, side, and center back corner of your pattern. Copy the notches and grainline.

Make your new center back fold line 3/8″ to the right of the original center back cut line. Draw the new CB line parallel to the grainline.

Flip this page upside down and put it on top of your new skirt front patten piece. Line up the front and back side notches on top of one another and make sure the your center front and center back grainlines are parallel to one another. Copy the side below the notch and the bottom line from the front to the back pattern piece. Flip the back skirt piece over and trace the lines onto the front of the pattern.

That’s it. Your pattern pieces should look like this now:

You are going to go ahead and cut out your front and back skirt pattern pieces on the fold and also cut out your waistband, and all pocket pieces. Attach the pockets to your front skirt piece in the same way as described in the instructions.

Sew the front and back skirt pieces together at the side seams.

Attach the waistband and drawstring according to your pattern instructions.

Turn the bottom of the skirt to the wrong side by 1 inch and press. Stitch in place with a stretch stitch, zigzag stitch, or double needle.

That’s it! All done.

Like I mentioned above, AGF gave me and extra yard of this Sahara Sun knit fabric to give to one of my readers (U.S. only sorry). To enter, just leave a comment below. Make sure that there is a way to contact you through your profile. I will announce the winner via instagram on Sunday. Good luck!

*disclosure – I received the fabric for this post free of charge, but all opinions and reviews are honest and my own.

CUSTOM QUILTING FOR FASHION SEWING WITH WORKROOM SOCIAL AND MCCALLS

I am a big fan of Jen at Workroom Social and all of the amazing projects she creates.  She is the force behind Camp Workroom Social which happens this fall and has a beautiful studio in Brooklyn where she teaches sewing and printmaking among other things. Such a talented lady. And, she has done it again. She teamed up with McCalls to create a series of quirky and interesting videos that help you customize their patterns and add your own personality to them. I think that McCalls has come out with some really cool patterns lately and videos like this can really help you look past the styling or fabric choice of the envelope that may be good for someone else, but make it more suitable for you own tastes.

 

 

So far she has talked about bias tape and sheer fabrics, both of which were full of fun ideas and inspiration, but today I get to share her video about creating your own quilted fabrics to add interest to your clothing. Quilted clothing is really big right now and I have had such a hard time sourcing fabric that was already quilted. Jen’s tutorial makes it simple and precise to create your own. I love the idea of quilting only small areas of an item for interest such as a yoke or pocket. I hope you enjoy it!

THE SOUTHPORT DRESS SEWALONG DAY 5 – SLIT AND HEMS

I am so excited to finish up today.  Not a lot to cover, just the slit and hems.  Here we go.

View A only 

Step 26 – To finish the hem, turn the bottom of the skirt towards the inside by 1/4” and press.

Fold again at 1”. Pin and press. Stitch at a scant 1” from the folded edge to finish your hem.

 

View B Only

Step 27 – Starting about 3 inches above the dot on center front, fold the raw edge of the seam allowance under itself by 1/4” until it reaches the center front seam or pressed edge. Press flat and pin.

 

Step 28 – Starting at the bottom raw edge of the skirt, edgestitch along the folded edge until you are 1/4” above the dot. Pivot and stitch across for about 1/2“. Pivot again so you are pointing towards the bottom and continue to stitch down the fold on the other side .

 

Step 29 – To finish the hem, fold the bottom raw edge towards the wrong side of the fabric by 1/4” and press.

Fold again at another 1/4” and stitch at a scant 1/4” along the entire bottom of the dress, backstitching at both ends.

Give your dress a final press. Hooray, you are finished!

 

Here is my finished View A Southport Dress:

Here is my finished View B Southport Dress:

I can’t wait to see your Southport Dresses too.  Please be sure to tag your dresses #southportdress on Instagram or send me an email with a link to a blog post or with a picture of your dress so that I can see it.

THE SOUTHPORT DRESS SEWALONG DAY 4 – POCKETS AND WAISTBAND

Today is going to be fun because we turn the bodice into an actual dress. If you do not want to do the inseam pockets you can simply sew up the two side seams without them. In this case skip steps 16-20.

 

Before starting to construct the skirt, you need to finish all edges of all four pocket pieces. You can see that I serged all edges of mine.

Also, finish the outer side edges for View A and B and the two center front edges for View B.

(It’s not a bad idea to mark your notches with something like chalk before finishing your edges as the little snips that you clipped into your seam allowances will probably be lost once you finish them.)

 

View B Only

Step 15 – With right sides together, line up your two skirt front pieces along the center edge, matching notches (Note that the center edges are not serged only because they were the selvage and so I didn’t need to worry about unraveling, but usually they would need to be finished in your desired method before moving forward. Stitch, starting at the top and ending at the dot (mine is marked with the yellow tailors tack). Backstitch securely.

Press seams open above the dot and continue to press at 1/2” below.

 

All Views

Step 16 – With right sides together, pin one pocket piece to a coordinating front skirt side seam, matching notches. Stitch at 3/8” seam allowance (this will allow the pocket seams to hide inside of the pocket by 1/8″) from the top of the pocket to the bottom of the pocket. Repeat for other 3 pockets and side seams.

 

Step 17 – Press each pocket and seam allowances away from the skirt.

 

Step 18 – Pin the front and back skirt together along both side seams, the right side of the front skirt facing the right side of the back skirt and the pockets extended.

Stitch from the top of the skirt, pivoting at dot (mine is marked by the yellow tailors tack) around the pocket, pivoting again at second dot, and down to the bottom of the skirt. Repeat for the other side.

 

Step 19 – Clip the seam allowances for the back skirt above and below the pocket. Press the seam allowances above and below the pocket open and press the pocket towards the front skirt.

 

Step 20 – On the right side of your skirt, press your pocket opening flat, with the pocket still lying against the front of your skirt. Put a few pins in to secure. The pocket seam should hide about 1/8” inside of the pressed fold of your pocket opening.

Make a small bar tack (about 3/8” long) through all layers just above and below the pocket opening. Remove pins. Repeat for other pocket. (A Bar Tack is a set of close and short zigzag stitches used to reinforce places on a garment that withstand a lot of stress. You can experiment around with your settings until you like the width/ length of your stitches, but here is a picture of my machine settings for reference.)

 

Step 21 – Take your waistband casing and fold 3/4” back on one of the short ends (right sides together).

Stitch along the bottom, unnotched edge at 1/4“ seam allowance for 3/4”.

Clip the corner in the seam allowance and turn the fold right side out.

 

Press and and stitch 5/8” from the folded edge to secure. Repeat for the other short end of the waistband casing.

 

Step 22 – Continue to turn under 1/4” along the long, unnotched edge for the entire length of the casing and press.

Pin the notched edge to the top of the skirt, wrong side of the waistband casing to the right side of the skirt, matching notches. There will be a gap at center front. Baste at a scant 1/2” seam allowance from the top.

Edgestitch along the bottom folded edge of the casing, backstitching at both ends. (*Note – the diagram below does not show the center front seam for view B.)

 

Step 23 – With right sides together, pin the bodice to the skirt along the waistline, matching notches. Stitch. Finish the seam allowance according to your desired method and press seam allowance up towards the bodice.

 

Step 24For an easier sewing experience, or to add some contrast, you can also buy cording from your local fabric store instead of making it as described below.

To create your drawstring, first sew the two tie pieces together to create one long tie. To do this, line up one small end of each of the tie pieces. With right sides together, stitch at 1/4” and press the seam allowance open.

Fold the entire tie in half lengthwise (wrong sides touching) and press to create a crease.

Open. Fold each long edge back towards the crease you just created (wrong sides touching) and press again.

Now fold the entire tie in half along the original crease.

Edgestitch along the long open side, backstitching on both ends.

 

Step 25 – Finish the ends either by tying a knot or folding them over a couple of times and stitching. This can be tricky because it is such a small area to sew. I find that putting a bit of masking tape on top of the folded and pressed end makes it easier to control and then I just tear the tape off at the end.

Thread the drawstring through the waistband casing using a safety pin and tie in a bow at center front.

Distribute the gathers evenly around the waistline and press.

 

That’s it for today!  As always, leave comments or questions below. Tomorrow we finish it all up with the slit and hems.

THE SOUTHPORT DRESS SEWALONG DAY 3 – ARMHOLES AND BUTTONS

I am excited to finish up the bodice with you guys today. It’s starting to look like something real now which is always fun. Let’s get started.

 

Step 10 – Get your bias tape again, and open one of the folded sides just like you did for the neckline. Starting at the underarm seam, with about 1” of bias tape overlapping towards the back bodice, pin the long, open edge of your bias tape around the armhole so that it is flush with the edge, right sides touching. (I usually just pin for a few inches and then stitch around the armhole until a few inches from the sideseam on the back curve of the armhole, and then pin again. Either way is fine.)

 

Step 11 – When you get to the underarm seam again, pin the tape together, right sides touching, so that it fits snugly against the armhole. Mark the point where they meet up with chalk or a pen. Trim the excess bias tape so that there is about 1” of tape on either end past your marking.

Step 12 – Unpin the bias tape just a couple of inches to the front and back of the underarm seam and pull the bias tape away from the bodice. Unfold the bias tape and stitch it together where you previously marked it. (You can barely see my pen park in front of the presser foot.)

Trim the seam allowance to 1/4” and press open. Repin the bias tape to the bottom of the armhole and stitch at 1/4” seam allowance so that the bias tape is connected to the armhole all of the way around.

Step 13 – Finish attaching the bias tape to the armhole in the same way as the neckline, except this time in the round. To do this, first press your bias tape over your seam allowance and away from your bodice. Do this on a curved surface such as a tailors ham. Like before, use the steam on your iron to help get a nice curve.

Understitch the bias tape to the seam allowance just like you did for the neckline.

Refold bias tape if needed and turn it to the inside of your garment, turning the seam slightly towards the wrong side of the armhole. Press and pin in place.

Edgestitch along the open long edge of your bias tape, attaching it to the bodice.

It should look like this once you are done. Give it a good press and repeat for other armhole.

Just a little tip before going forward with the buttonband. If you have a hard time with buttonholes one option is to just sew the buttons through both layers for a faux button opening.  You don’t actually have to unbutton the dress to get it on and off. I prefer to do the whole thing, but not doing buttonholes does make it a little easier.

Step 14 – Line up your buttonhole guide on top of your buttonband. It should be very close to the same length (You can see that mine is about 1/8″ off, probably due to stitching a slightly larger seam allowance on the neckline by accident No worries at all. Just line it up with the top).

On the right buttonband, mark the buttonhole positions and stitch your buttonholes.

On the left buttonband, attach your buttons accordingly.

Button up the two sides, making sure that the tops of each neckline are lined up.

Baste the bottom edges together with right over left, matching center front notches, at a scant 1/2” seam allowance.

That’s it for today. The bodice section of your dress is complete. If you are like me you are already wearing it around the house pretending like it’s a cute little crop top. Tomorrow we will start tackling the skirt and pockets.

THE SOUTHPORT DRESS SEWALONG DAY 2 – DARTS AND NECKLINE

So excited to get started today.  Yesterday was admittedly a little boring with all of the prep stuff, but today we are doing some legit sewing.  A lot of our bodice will be done by the end of this post. Let’s get started.

Step 3 – Sew darts on both front bodice pieces and press excess towards the waistline. Go ahead and pull out your tailors tacks at this time if you used them.

Inside view:

Right side view:

 

Step 4 – With right sides together, pin the front bodice pieces to the back at both the shoulder and the sideseams. Stitch.

This is a good time to do a little try on before we put on any bias tape or finish the seam allowances. Realize that the drawstring waist is attached to the skirt, not the bodice, so it may feel a little short waisted. If you are going to do any adjustments to the armholes or the neckline this is the last chance.

Finish the seam allowances on your side seams and your shoulder seams in your desired method. I chose to serge my edges. Press seams open or towards the back depending on your method of finishing your seam allowances.

Your bodice should now look something like this!

 

Step 5 – On each bodice front, fold along the first foldline (closest to the edge) with wrong sides together and press. (This is also right along the edge of the interfacing.)

Keeping this folded, fold again along the second fold line (which is also the other side of the interfacing), this time with right sides together. Press lightly with your finger or iron and pin at the top (neckline) edge.

Baste in place at a scant 1/4” from the top edge. (Basting is a long, temporary stitch used to hold pieces of fabric in place until the final stitching is done. Use your longest stitch length and do not backstitch.)

 

Step 6 – Take your bias tape and line the cut end up with one folded center edge of the bodice. Open one side of the bias tape and pin it, right sides together, along the edge of the neckline until you reach the other center folded edge of the bodice. Trim the bias tape so that it is flush with this fold. Stitch at 1/4” seam allowance. (You don’t actually have to pin it all the way around first.  You can just pin the first edge and then stitch around the neckline at 1/4″, lining up the neckline and bias tape as you go. And then trim it at the end.) The bias tape will probably need to stretch a tiny bit as it goes around the curves and that is fine.

Your bodice will now look something like this:

 

Step 7 – Press the bias tape up and away from the bodice and over the seam allowance. (Tip – It’s best to press this on a curved surface such as a tailor’s ham or rolled up towel to support the curve of the neckline.) Steam is your friend here so don’t be shy about it.

Understitch through the bias tape and seam allowance just inside of the bias tape. Understitching is a row of stitching used to keep the facing on the inside of a garment. It’s made by pressing the seam allowance towards the facing and then stitching close to the edge of the seam on the facing side, while catching the seam allowance underneath. This step is really helpful in keeping your bias facing on the inside of your garment and your neckline laying flat against your skin.

Your neckline should be looking something like this now.

 

Step 8 – On one of the center front edges, clip the corner within the seam allowance. This will just reduce a bit of bulk in the corner of your button band. Hold the edge of the first folded line (currently on the outside of the bodice) and flip it around to the inside of the bodice, turning the fold right side out and causing the binding to flip down.

Press the fold. Adjust the corner so that you have a nice point. Pin the button band in place.

Topstitch from top to bottom at a scant 3/4” from the edge, catching all layers underneath. You can also stitch this so that the wrong side is up if you are nervous about catching the edge of your folded buttonband. Repeat for the other side.

Here is a picture of what the inside of your buttonbands should look like.

And here is the right side.

 

Step 9 – Continue to turn the bias facing to the wrong side of the bodice while rolling the seam slightly to the inside (so that it is not visible on the right side of your garment). Using a curved surface such as a tailor’s ham, press and pin in place.

Starting and ending at the button band topstitching, edgestitch the open side of the bias facing to the neckline. I like to do this with the bias facing up (wrong side of the garment) so that I can see right where the edge of the bias facing is, but you can also stitch it from the right side of your bodice at about 3/8″ if you feel confident.

Give it another press and it should look like this.  So satisfying! I love a well sewn bias tape neckline. Notice that you cannot see any of the red tape on the right side of the bodice.  That is your goal.

And here is a close up of the inside.

And here is a closeup of the right side.

 

That’s it for today. Please let me know if you have any questions in the comments. Tomorrow we finish the bodice with the armholes and buttons / buttonholes.

THE SOUTHPORT DRESS SEWALONG DAY 1 – PREPPING

Hooray! First day of the Southport Dress Sewalong.  So excited to get started. Before getting going, make sure that your fabric has been washed and dried according to the care instructions for your particular fabric. You do not want to go through the whole process of sewing up the dress and then having it shrink the first time you wash it – believe me I have been there :(. I also think it’s a good idea to iron your fabric before cutting it out. It makes it so much easier to cut and line up, especially if you are pattern matching.  It also helps you get the most width and length out of your fabric.

Printing / Assembling Your Pattern

I am not going to go through all of the details here of printing your pattern, assembling your pattern, and cutting out your fabric. I’ve done it before with other sewalongs and so I think it’s repetetive for most. But you will find some links below for more help if you want it.

As always though, make sure that your printer is set up to print at 100% and check the 2×2 inch square on page one of your pattern to make sure that it is printing to the correct scale.

You do not have to print the entire pattern if you are only assembling View A or View B. If you are making View A only print pages 1-24 and 30 and if you are making View B only print pages 1-12, 18, and 22-51.

If you need more help with printing and assembling your pattern check out the following posts from past sewalongs:

HUDSON PANT SEWALONG DAY 3 – ASSEMBLING / CUTTING YOUR PATTERN AND FABRIC

SUTTON BLOUSE SEWALONG DAY 2 : PRINTING / CUTTING & ADJUSTMENTS

Lengthen / Shorten

The Southport Dress is drafted for a model who is 5’5″ and the maxi length (View B) is long enough to wear with moderate heels. It measures 42″ from the waist. View A is 20″ from the waist and is drafted to hit a couple of inches above the knee. The bodice should hit right at the smallest part of your waist. To lengthen or shorten your skirt or bodice cut it along the lengthen/shorten line and overlap or separate by the desired amount. Tape in place (adding paper underneath if you are adding length). If the sides of your pattern are now a weird shape, reconnect the lines of the pattern edge so that it is a continuous straight line again.

Because I am 5’3″ I have to shorten the maxi length when I am making it. If wearing flats with the dress I find that I need to shorten the skirt by 4″. I do recommend shortening the pattern on the lengthen/shorten line instead of just taking the length from bottom of the skirt pattern piece as might seem easier.  The reason is that if you just take the length from the bottom then you will be losing some of the skirt width which is part of the drama of the maxi dress.

Muslin

Although it’s a pain (and I admit that I don’t always do it myself) it’s never a bad idea to sew up a muslin before cutting into your nice fabric. You could probably get away with just sewing up a muslin of the bodice for this dress because the skirt portion is gathered. This will give you a good idea of the fit of the bust, neckline and armholes, and if you need to lengthen or shorten the bodice before going forward. The dress is drafted for a C cup, with most of the dart being rotated to the waist for gathering. Most of my testers found the bodice to be pretty forgiving no matter their cup size, but like I said, it’s never a bad idea to test it first.

Notions

Make sure that you have gathered your notions before starting. You will just need a few items.

Coordinating thread

– 3 yds of single fold (1/2″) bias tape – This could be premade like the package above or homemade if you choose.

– 4 buttons that are 1/4″ – 3/8″

– lightweight fusible interfacing

– safety pin

Another optional notion is to buy some drawstring or twill tape to use to gather the waist. The pattern has you sew up a drawstring, but you could certainly use store bought if you prefer.

Markings

Transfer all markings from your pattern pieces to your fabric before starting to sew. There are lots of ways that you can mark your fabric, but here are the ways that I prefer:

Clip all notches with your scissors.  Just make sure that you only clip about 1/4″ so that it doesn’t extend past your seam allowance.

Use Tailors Tacks for the bust dart points and the circles on your skirt pattern pieces (at the pocket and on the center front slit for View B).

Use chalk to mark any other important lines such as the bust dart stitch lines, and fold lines.

 

Now that everything is marked lets start with the actual step of the instructions. All of the steps below refer back to the steps in the instructions, but have a little more specifics.

Step 1 – Staystitch the front and back necklines and armholes at a scant (just less than) 1/4” in the directions shown in the instructions which is always from the shoulder and downwards. Staystitching is a row of stitching along a bias or curved seam to prevent the fabric of the garment from stretching during construction. This will really help you construct a well fitting neckline and armholes that are not flipping outwards so I do suggest not skipping over it even though it is tempting.

 

Step 2 – Fuse each of the interfacing pieces to the bodice fronts on the wrong side of the fabric, between the two fold lines and 1/4” from the top. It will also be 1/2″ from the bottom. This keeps the interfacing out of the seam allowances to reduce bulk. This little area will eventually turn into your button band and the interfacing really helps reinforce those areas that will need it.

Seam Finishes

Now that we are getting ready to actually sew pattern pieces together, we need to talk about seam finishes. All seam allowances (unless otherwise stated in the instructions) are 1/2″. You will want to finish your seam allowances when guided to in the instructions to prevent future unraveling.  You can do this in various ways such as overlocking, using pinking shears, or zigzag stitching. Below you will see examples of all three. I will be using a serger / overlocking my seams for the sewalong, but you can choose whatever method works best for you. Another seam finish that is really nice is french seams. The reason that I don’t recommend it for the pattern is that it is a tricky technique to do with the inseam pockets. It is not impossible, and there are tutorials on the internet for it, but I will not be going over it for this sewalong as I feel like it’s a more advanced process.

OK, that finishes us all up for today. Tomorrow will be much more fun as we actually get to start sewing! Please leave questions in the comments and I will try to reply to them as soon as possible so that we can all stay on track.

SOUTHPORT DRESS FABRIC RECOMMENDATIONS

I love choosing fabrics for new sewing projects. I can easily get lost for hours searching for the perfect one. Today I thought it would be fun to share some more info. on some of the recommended fabrics for the Southport dress and give you some ideas for sources in case you are on the hunt. I may have gone a little overboard, but I am not apologizing. It was too fun to dream up all of the possibilities.

The pattern suggests lightweight woven fabrics with a lot of movement such as voile, rayon challis, lightweight linen and crepe de chine. We will go over these below, but there are of coarse other suitable fabric choices too.  Just make sure that the fabric has movement and is lightweight so that it will be flattering.

Before we get started I wanted to address lining.  I have had a few questions about whether or not it’s possible with this pattern. It is possible for sure, but I honestly do not recommend it, especially if you are using a cotton fabric. Because the Southport has a drawstring waist you run the risk of too much bulk in the mid section with the extra layer of a lining. I suggest reserving the light colored voiles and eyelets for the versions that you plan to wear as beach coverups and stick to non see-through fabrics for your everyday Southport dresses.

Cottons

If you want something easy to cut and sew then cottons are your friend. Especially if you consider yourself a beginner sewer, using a cotton will make the whole process easier. Because cotton fabrics generally do not have much drape you really want to make sure that you choose a cotton that is lightweight.  I do not recommend quilting cottons as they tend to be more stiff. Appropriate cotton fabrics would include voile, lawn, and double gauze.

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Linens

I love working with linens and they are another beginner friendly fabric to work with. I am drawn to how breathable they are in the warmer seasons, how easy they are to care for, and the natural textures of the fabric. Linen will usually wrinkle a lot, but I like to embrace that. When choosing a linen just make sure that it is a lightweight linen so that it has some drape to it.

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Rayons

Oh rayon, how I love you. Rayon is the perfect baby step into more difficult and slippery fabrics for someone who wants a more flattering fabric, but is not quite ready for the big guns like silk. Generally speaking rayons have great drape, but are still pretty easy to work with. My favorite type of rayon to work with is rayon challis. It’s usually quite affordable and comes in lots of fun prints. The only downside is that it does wrinkle a lot as well. But, when used for a dress I find that the weight of the fabric really helps take care of that. You may also see rayons marked as viscose.

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Crepe de Chine

Crepe de Chine is another one of my very favorite types of fabric to work with. For a more affordable option choose a polyester, but for a more luxurious feel definitely go for silk. You won’t regret it. Although silk is more expensive, I find it much easier to work with than polyester. It presses well and has a gorgeous drape to it.  The reason why I like crepe de chine so much is that while being lightweight and flowy it is usually not see through like similar fabrics might be.

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I will be sewing up two dresses for the sewalong – one for View A and one for View B.

For View A I am using this poly crepe from fabric.com. I am always a sucker for black and white and I like the simple irregular dots.

And for View B I have this amazing rayon that I bought off of etsy.  I think I bought up the rest of her supply, but she has some other amazing rayons.  I also bought this one which I will be using for a future variation tutorial.

If you are participating in the sewalong next week go ahead and prewash your fabric and iron if needed. Can’t wait to get started.