And summer is finally coming to a close. At least it is August. Here in Tennessee it could still be a good 4-6 weeks before it is properly autumn. But there have been a few mornings here where the humidity and temperatures have been cooler and I can feel that hint of changing seasons. Might have spotted a couple changing leaves too!!  

This is my last “summery” dress for a bit I think. Well, at least here on the MCBN blog. I do have some other fabrics in my stash that might require a few more late night sewing sessions to finish up some summer sewing plans. But I’ve been dreaming of all the cold weather outfits and I don’t think I’ll be able to put them off for much longer.

I was inspired to make this dress by Allie of Allie J. She did a hack of the Deer and Doe Cardamome dress where she added the ruffle along the neckline. (A quick google search will pull up her blog post on it.) I took it one step further by completely omitting the collar and “bib.” The ruffle is literally a long rectangle about 1.5 times the width of the neckline, about 64 inches if I remember correctly. I gathered that, basted it onto the neckline, and then used binding to make a channel for elastic to bring in the neckline so it wouldn’t fall off my shoulders. 

I have made two other versions of the Cardamome dress. One made an appearance here on MCBN last fall and I have yet to post about the second one on my personal blog. Like all the other Deer and Doe patterns I’ve made, I love both versions. And I’ve been dreaming of making a warm weather, sleeveless version for some time now.

Okay. Let’s talk about the changes I made to the pattern. Seriously. I can hardly leave a pattern alone these days!! I blame it on having been sewing my own clothes for nearly 10 years now. (also. What the heck??!? When did that happen??) I swapped out the gathered skirt for a self-drafted a-line skirt. More details on that in a sec. I used a waistband and a side seam zipper instead of the shirred elastic waist included in the pattern. There is a tutorial with free pattern pieces for swapping that out on the Deer and Doe blog. And the armholes are finished with bias binding.

The skirt is based off of my measurements. It is lightly flared and skims over my hips perfectly. A brief outline of the drafting process: I measured my waist and my hips. Drew a long vertical line on some paper. Made a horizontal line equal to 1/4 of my waist measurement. Measured down about 8 inches. Made a second horizontal line that is 1/4 of my hip measurement. Measured down to my desired skirt length which is about 22 inches. Made a final horizontal line that was 1.5 times the length of my hip line. Then it was just a matter of connecting all the lines.

That is a really cut and dry (read: boring!) explanation… If you google “how to draft an a-line skirt” there are several excellent tutorials to be found. I was thrilled with how it turned out though. I’ve needed a basic skirt pattern for a while so I’m glad I took the time to actually draft one. I worried it was going to be too snug over my hips which really bothers me if it isn’t in a stretch fabric. But it’s actually just right. I do think I prefer fuller skirts on most dresses, but this is a nice in-between shape.

I am planning to shorten the ruffle about an inch. I’ve consulted both my mum and my sister and they agree it would be more flattering if it were a smidge shorter. Shortening the ruffle needs to happen. Then I think it will be a nearly perfect summer dress! There is some odd puckering around the lower back which I’m not 100% happy about. I had to fudge things a bit to make the skirt fit on the waistband and didn’t notice the puckers until it was too late to mess with unpicking everything. Wearing a belt hides everything though so that works!

I’ll admit though, when I first tried it on after it was finished I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. I couldn’t tell if I loved or hated it. The ruffle is a bit much compared to my usual style. Now that I’ve worn it for nearly a full day I am pretty sure I love the dress. 

-Emily