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April Rhodes Staple Dress

Over the last year or so I have watched mustard and golden type shapes pop up everywhere, both in fabric stores and on RTW and I’ve admired how stunning they can look on the right people. Whenever I have compared that type of colour against my own skin tone however, I have felt they washed me out and gave me a sallow look that I really don’t need any assistance with. When I saw this Fabric I paused. Although it’s a colour scheme that’s really not typical for me, and a smaller scale print that I habitually opt for, I felt this delicate cotton lawn combined some pretty hues that together I could possibly pull off. In addition, I felt that it would add something to my wardrobe that I didn’t have which is never a bad thing.

The April Rhodes Staple Dress is one of the first indie patterns I purchased. I’m not quite sure where I came across it but I’m fairly certain I would have been drawn to it because of the lack of fastenings, darts or other complexities that would have left me foxed in my early sewing days. I think it’s pretty rewarding to go back and remake garments I made when I was a less competent sewist. Though there are still imperfections with pretty much every item of clothing I sew, I know they are vast improvements on my first makes. Plus, I sometimes think the most ‘simple’ patterns work best. 

This dress came together nicely. I sewed it all on my regular machine and opted to pink the seams, except the shoulder seams which are Frenched. Naturally I added the pockets, which, incidentally are really roomy and make a great addition to this cool and breezy dress. I also chose to make the dipped hem view, because it adds extra detail – and is the first time I have done one. As this means the hem is quite a bit higher at the front, I added a couple of inches as I wanted it to be suitable for school. 

The neckline and sleeves are bound using bias tape, made via the corresponding pattern piece and the shoulder seams are top stitched for added detail. The hem is simply double folded and topstitched but because of the excellent quality of the fabric, with some pressing the finish is spot on. For the first time I added the ‘shearing’ at the waist, using elastic thread as directed. I hand wound the bobbin and seem to recall the last time I tried this, it failed miserably and had to revert to a regular strip of elastic across the waist. This time it worked perfectly, although I initially thought I could skip the trying on and just estimate where I wanted the waist to be. Three rows of unpicked and re-stitched elastic later, my waist is exactly where I want it and I love the effect this creates.

 

All in all I think this dress is ideal for warm summer days. It’s not too closely fitted and long enough to be modest but has some nice features that I think make it unusual; particularly the sleeves and the high-low hem. Despite it not being my regular choice I think the colours are a pretty palette that work well together. The quality of the fabric means it holds the shape of the dress well though doesn’t crease too easily. Although I wanted the length to be reasonable I am sure I will be wearing this dress on evenings and weekends too, and I love that the cotton is so light it won’t take up much room in a suitcase or overnight bag. 

Thanks for reading,

Camilla @ccmercer

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