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Made By A Fabricista: A Pair of Summery Dresses

How is everyone in the northern hemisphere faring in the depths of summer? I always think I'm mentally prepared for the heat, but nope, I'm never actually ready to face it. For my latest Fabric Mart project, I chose an unrelated pair of fabrics, one woven and one knit, to create two new dresses that are elegant for the season since feeling refined in the gnarly heat is a tough assignment. 

Both of my selected fabrics boast low-contrast prints, and really their similarities end there. I chose two contrasting and distinct styles to best flaunt these gorgeous fabrics. Both ITY and linen are great options to try and beat the heat, and wearing new frocks will certainly be a pick-me-up in the depths of August! 

This Pewter Gray/Black Floral Silhouette Print ITY really caught my eye. I'm already a stalwart fan of the bouncy and cool-to-the-touch ITY base, and this muted silvery background is a favorite color of mine to wear. I decided to sew a Love Notions Summer Basics Tank Dress with a few hacks. (I mostly followed the blog post on their site if you want further instructions.) 

Wearing a lengthy gathered dress always makes me feel so immeasurably regal. This skirt has a load of volume, and feels absolutely marvelous to move around in. ITY has so much fluid movement, and gathered at this magnitude, it's almost liquid swish. 

Rather than bindings for the neckline and armholes, I cut out two sets of the bodice to make a lined bodice. I used the burrito method to enclose the straps for a clean finish. Happy to report that I remembered to understitch the neckline beforehand since knits enjoy rolling out from their lining, I've found. 

I also stuck a darling woven label on the back lining because the front of the dress is pretty difficult to tell from the back of this style.  This one is from Kylie and the Machine

Adding a gathered skirt is as simple as adding width to the bodice at the fold (or center front and center back) and I added a lot for some intense gathering. 

I underestimated how much the heavy skirt would stretch the bodice, and I had to go back and unpick the straps at the outer edge near each side of the shoulder seam to remove 3" from each side, and then I just hand stitched them closed again. In a regrettable turn of events, I had actually sewed one side with a twist in the strap AND hand sewed it closed with ladder stitching before I noticed. UGH. More podcast listening, more unpicking, a final check this time to ensure the strap was straight, and then I was off and running. I mention this doozy of an error just as a reminder that even experienced sewists make ridiculous mistakes and we can normalize a lack of perfection. You’d never know looking at the dress!

For the charming Cool Jade/Forest Green Linen Dotted Diamond Print linen, I opted to sew the Ann Normandy Design Maxi Dress, a pattern that was released several years ago, but recently updated with additional sizing. I have sewn the extra small size here, which matches my measurements. 

How architecturally gorgeous is this neckline? I think the shape is incredible. I haven't come across anything similar in all my online seeking, and this is such a fantastic use of linen's structure. The dress actually calls for a midweight or heavy linen, so to make up for this lighter, more shirt-weight base I'm using, I ironed some fusible lightweight interfacing to the neckline and armhole facings as support. That worked out perfectly, if I do say so. 

This is drafted for someone MUCH taller than me, so I did make a few height adjustments before cutting. (I am 5'4" for reference.) I first lowered the side splits by 3" and shortened the hem by a whopping 7". Then to add some weight to the hemline, I hemmed at 2" instead of the listed 3/4". I suppose this ended up at more of a long midi than an actual maxi, but I have no regrets! I'd rather show off my ankles than worry about tripping. 

There is a wonderful amount of ease built in, and this is airy and boxy without being too oversized. Exactly what I want to wear in the heat of summer! 

Happy sewing, all! I sincerely hope you sew something breezy to keep yourself cool. 

KATIE  @kak513

Unfortunately Fabric Mart Fabrics sell out quickly!
You can find similar fabrics by shopping the following categories ITY KNITS, KNITS, & LINEN.


  1. I love both dresses but particularly the linen dress! The neckline and armsyces are a fantastic shape. Well done!

  2. Thanks for showing off your beautiful dresses. Nothing is more comfortable in hot weather than a breezy dress.

  3. Both dresses are gorgeous and I love them.

  4. I especially appreciate seeing the ITY dress as an option for the hot hot days of summer and it reminds me that a knit can be very cooling, especially a soft knit. There is something about softness that mitigates heat. Your insights on construction are very helpful and BTW the dress looks great on you!


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