When True Bias’ Southport dress came out, I knew I had to make it instantly. I found out about it after being drawn to its easy summery style via Meg’s whimsical fruit emoji version. I’m always on the lookout for summer dresses that don’t show too much skin and still allow you to wear an actual bra. It’s not that I’m against strapless styles, but I am against strapless bras. I loathe them more than cantaloupe, and if you know me, you know that my hatred for that vile fruit is as deep as the earth itself. So, I am very glad to have come across Southport, which is 100% real bra friendly!
I really appreciate that the directions for assembling the PDF tell you exactly which pages to print out if you are only making one style. I chose view A, the knee length dress over the maxi, which is not a style I’ve ever been convinced by. Being able to print just the pages I need definitely is a time saver, and I like not having to deal with extra paper.
That is definitely an advantage that PDF patterns have over envelope patterns. Does anyone else hate buying a “wardrobe” pattern for a top and then having to meticulously search for the 3 or 4 pattern pieces on 8 different pieces of tissue paper that you then have to wrangle back into the envelope, knowing that you’re never going to make the rest of them?
I did make a quick mockup of the bodice before I forged ahead. I raised the neckline by 2”, adding an extra button in the process. This put the neckline in a more comfortable place for me. I also made a small ¼” petite adjustment to raise the armhole just enough. I usually do this in sleeveless garments just to ensure that I have adequate side coverage. It was nice to not have to bother with fitting the sides as the waist casing cinches everything in. I think this would be a great dress for a beginning sewist because the fitting is so forgiving in this way.
For my Vintage sheet Southport Dress, I cut into a vintage sheet I’ve been saving for some sort of dress. I loved the colors in this sheet. It had some of my blues and the purples were close to my purples, and the overall contrast of the print fit really well with my swatch book, so I knew it’d be a good print for me. If I find a good print, I snatch it up because I don’t find them often enough in my colors.
Because Southport requires really very little fabric, I have enough of my sheet leftover hopefully for a pair of pajama bottoms. Yay! Double the fun. I did have to cut two right sides. After I initially cut the first one out, I realized that the bust dart was going to end directly at the center of one of the big flowers. Oops. #patterncuttingfail.
I followed the pattern directions exactly except I didn’t bother staystitching. I’m not wont to staystitch regularly, but particularly this time I felt it was totally unnecessary because my fabric was really quite stable and not prone to fraying. Even if I were using something less forgiving, I’d probably just use a fusible stay tape over staystitching. It’s just my own preference.
The dress came together in just a couple of hours. It was a very simple, easy sew. I really like the clean look of the invisible bias bound neck and armholes, and the tie waist is so stinking cute.
I had a choice between some brighter orchid buttons and some blush colored buttons in 2 different shades. I went for the mismatched buttons. The orchid was too bright and I liked the slight contrast of mismatched buttons.
The one thing I’ll say on sizing… The skirt is definitely more of a straight shape, so if you are even a little bit pear-shaped, your hips might need some more room. Consider adding a little flare or going up a size in the skirt. Marilla already noted that in her amazing handprinted version which she made midi length with a little more flare. Check out her version if you’re looking for how to add some flare to the skirt. On mine, I ended up opening up the side seams and cutting down the seam allowance to ¼” up to the pocket line. On the next one, I’m going to do something like Marilla’s alteration. Even with the small additional inch from my alteration, the fit is much more comfortable.
For me, I’m looking forward to weathering the sweltering heat in this dress. After being inspired by Heather’s thoughts on trying to wear big old sheets when it’s ultra hot, I have 2 vintage pillowcases that I LOVE. I measured out the pieces, and even with an added wedge, I have enough for another version!
What about you? Have you tried Southport yet, or any of Kelli’s other cool designs like the Hudson Pant?
My full review is here.