I’m sure what I’m about to say is going to be quite the inflammatory statement, but…I don’t like linen. Phew. There, I said it.
If you’re still with me, I promise I explain below, but I first want to say a bit about this striped linen dress. I’m pretty on the fence about this one, and I’m not entirely convinced it doesn’t look like a men’s nightshirt from the 1800s. Unbelted, I get a very strong Ebenezer Scrooge vibe. “What’s today, my fine fellow?” “Today! Why, Christmas Day.” (Don’t I wish – I would be much more comfortable with those temps.)
So, let me start by saying that I really dislike hot summer weather. Usually, I just try to muddle through until fall. This year, however, I thought I would take a different approach and fill my closet with light summery clothes to try to keep comfortable over the next few months.
Everyone always praises the virtues of linen – how cool it is, how it wicks moisture away from your skin, etc, etc. Once I decided to revamp my summer wardrobe, I couldn’t figure out why I hadn’t been sewing with linen all along. Then I remembered. Oh yeah, that’s right. I don’t actually like it.
I know this makes me quite the oddball, but I don’t like the feel of it, sewing with it or wearing it. A couple years ago, I made a linen dress. I think I wore it all of two times. Unfortunately, this year I loaded up on linen and already have a few projects finished or in the works.
I suppose I should stop complaining about linen now and get on with telling you about my latest dress. The pattern is Simplicity 8546. I must say, this is a pretty great little pattern. It has length, sleeve and collar options, and I can easily see myself making a different view of this pattern in the future.
For my dress, I decided to make view B. I usually don’t go for maxi dresses, but I loved the easy style of this one. I decided to add the sleeve tabs from view A, since I never wear my sleeves down around my wrists. The fabric is a linen or linen blend I picked up at this year’s Salvation Army Fabric Fair. It was just $7.50 for three yards. The pattern calls for 3.25 yards. I thought I could squeeze the dress out of the three yards, but because of the length, I needed all 3.25 yards. Trying to match stripes also ate up some extra yardage.
Since my yardage came up a bit short, I needed to make the dress four inches shorter. This actually worked out for the best, because I think the additional four inches would have made it a too long. I usually wear flat sandals in the summer, and the extra length would most likely have dragged along the ground. Another casualty of not having enough fabric, and this one is quite sad, is I had to scrap the pockets. Nooooo!!! You know how much I love a dress with pockets, but it wasn’t meant to be this time.
The construction of this dress was straightforward and pretty simple. If you’ve ever made a button-down shirt, this would be a breeze – there are just a LOT more buttons! I cut my usual size, but the hips seemed a hair slimmer than I find comfortable. To remedy this, I used a 3/8” seam allowance, as opposed to 5/8”. This provided just the right amount of ease for me. Beyond that, I didn’t make any other size alterations to the pattern.
On the pattern envelope, the model is wearing the dress as more of a duster with jeans and a shirt. When I first saw it, I thought, “when would I ever wear a dress over pants and a shirt?!” Well, that was before I tried it on over some jeans and a t-shirt during the fitting process. It looked so cute! I wanted to style this make as both a dress and duster for this post, but it was around 90 degrees. There was no way I wanted to be outside any longer than possible to take photos…and definitely not in jeans!
I probably will never actually wear it as a duster, since this is very clearly a summer dress. Summers in Pittsburgh are a bit too humid for so many layers. Although, I do wish I would have had enough fabric to make a self-tie belt. None of my belts match my summer shoes – such a horrible problem…hahaha!
As I mentioned above, I’m not 100% sold on this dress. I don’t know if it’s the length, the linen or a combination of both, but something about it just doesn’t feel very me. I’m sure I’ll wear it a few times, but it might go the way of my last linen dress. I should note this is the second of three blue and white pieces I’m making this summer. You can check out the first one here. I’m planning to post the third next week.
You may see a few more linen pieces that I’ve already started, or finished, but then I think my relationship with linen will be over. I think it will be an amicable break-up.
Until next time,