I’m currently in a phase of life where my waistline seems particularly hard to control. While I used to go for more fitted silhouettes in my upper body, I knew that this summer, I was going to want more easy-fitting options.
A few months ago, I started dreaming of a breezy, knee-length dress with a deep v-neck. There are a number of loose-fitting dress patterns in the Liesl + Co. catalog: the Cinema Dress, the Gelato Dress, the Camp Dress, and the Weekend Getaway Dress come to mind. But none of them have quite the neckline I had envisioned, so I was going to need to adjust whichever dress I chose. In the end, I settled on the Terrace Dress for its cut-on sleeves (my favorite!) and plain front which would be easy to modify into a v-neck.
The stars aligned when Fabric Wholesale Direct offered us the chance to try out their fabric. I chose this linen in the wine shade. It was an absolute dream to sew and is gorgeous to wear. Fabric Wholesale Direct is also sponsoring a $100 fabric giveaway for one lucky winner, so keep reading for those details. ***The giveaway is now closed.***
Choosing my size
My current measurements are:
- high bust 38″
- full bust 41″
- waist 32-35″*
- hips 41-42″*
*these measurements seem to depend on the time of day, what I’ve eaten, and how many people have walked their dogs past my house that morning, or at least that’s what it feels like.
Going solely by the size chart, my bust size would put me just over the line into XL, while my waist and hips would be an L. But this pattern does have quite a bit of ease, and I always choose my size based on my high bust, and then do a full bust adjustment (FBA). With that in mind, I ended up going with a M shoulder/bust, graded to an L at the hip.
Initial flat pattern adjustments
I always do several flat pattern adjustments before I trace my pattern onto fabric. These adjustments almost always include a high round back adjustment and an FBA.
I made a 5/8″ high round back adjustment and a 3/8″ low round back adjustment. I did the low round back adjustment because I need more than 5/8″ adjusted, and that is the maximum you should do for a high round back adjustment. (See our high round back adjustment tutorial here).
The size M finishes at a 42 1/2″ chest, which would only give me 1 1/2″ of ease. I wanted more, so I made a 1 1/2″ FBA using the instructions included in the pattern. This increased the bust circumference by 3″ total, since the FBA added 1 1/2″ to each side of the bodice. That gave me a total of 4 1/2″ of ease in the bust, which seemed about right.
While doing my flat pattern adjustments, I also held up the paper pattern to my body and marked where I thought the v neck should end, and then cut out my v shape from the neckline. I used Liesl’s tutorial for modifying a neckline to a v. This is a great, thorough tutorial with lots of suggestions I wouldn’t have thought of myself, including her tip about curving the neckline slightly.
The muslin stage
I’ve written before about the fact that I don’t always make muslins. In fact, I don’t usually make muslins. But in this case, I wanted to confirm in fabric where the v-neck would fall. Too high, and I wouldn’t be happy with the way it looked. Too low, and I would feel uncomfortable in the dress. I wanted to be sure to get it right.
As it turns out, it’s a good thing I made a muslin because I it turned out I needed to fix a few other things, too.
Here’s the first muslin:
- I needed to lower my bust dart by about 1″.
- I needed some extra sleeve room. I usually do full bicep adjustments preemptively, but I didn’t think I would need to since this is a cut-on sleeve that appeared to be sufficiently roomy. Good thing I made a muslin.
So, I lowered my bust dart. I also lowered the bottom of the sleeve 1″ to give myself more bicep room. I accomplished both fixes with one adjustment, by simply cutting a rectangle from the pattern that included both my dart and the bottom of the sleeve, shifting the rectangle down 1″ and taping it in place, and filling in the gap with paper.
Though the neckline didn’t look like it was going to gape, after making this muslin, I decided to go ahead and remove 1/4″ of length from it to ensure that it would lie flat against my chest. I learned this trick by reading Liesl’s v-neck tutorial. In this photo, you can see my shifted-down rectangle, and the line where I slashed the neckline so that I could overlap it 1/4″.
I needed to be sure that my sleeve adjustment had worked, so I made another muslin. If you’ve got thick biceps like I do, you may agree that there’s nothing worse than a tight sleeve on a handmade garment.
You can see that the sleeves fit much better now. As a result of my second muslin, I realized that:
- My shoulder seam was too far back on my shoulder.
- I wanted the sleeves to be slightly longer.
- I wanted the v-neck to be a bit lower.
- I wanted the back neckline to be slightly higher.
So, I adjusted the shoulder seam forward 1/2″ and lengthened the sleeve 1″. I lowered the v-neck another 3/4″, which made it roughly 4″ lower than the original neckline. And I raised the back neckline a scant 3/8″.
Drafting the facings
My adjustments completed, it was time to draft neckline facings. The original pattern neckline is finished with bias binding, but that doesn’t work so well on a v-neck. I drafted my facings about 3″ thick by tracing the neckline of the pattern piece on paper. You can see my finished facing pieces in the photo below.
Before sewing, I washed and dried the yardage from Fabric Wholesale Direct on hot/high as I normally do. I like to beat up my fabric before I sew it, so I usually will wash and dry on hot even if I know I’m not going to do that normally. This way, I know it will stand up to my normal wash routine.
I took the linen out of the dryer immediately after it had finished drying, so that wrinkles wouldn’t set while it was crumpled up. I then smoothed it out, folded it neatly and laid it over my ironing board until I had time to work on the dress a few days later. When I unfolded the linen, it was barely wrinkled at all, save for the creases formed by my folds. I was very pleasantly surprised by this.
Those folds pressed out quite easily. And the fabric has that beautiful linen heft and suppleness while also being breezy to wear. I know I’m going to get tons of wear out of this dress this summer, and I want to order this fabric in three more colors!
When it came to sewing the dress, here’s what I did differently:
I sewed the neckline using interfaced facings cut from the same linen that I used for the dress. First I finished the facings with my serger, then I sewed them together at the back seam and shoulders, and attached them to the dress after sewing the dress shoulders together.
I finished the sleeve hems with store-bought bias binding. I did this because my sleeve alterations changed the sleeve shape such that it was not going to be easy to fold over the hem and stitch as called for in the pattern. I happened to have some bias on hand that matched the dress color, so I used that.
I like a substantial hem on a linen dress, and I wanted the dress to hit at my knee, so I turned up the hem 1/2″ and then another 1 1/2″. This effectively shortened the dress 1 3/8″.
After I’d gotten the dress assembled, but before hemming, I tried it on and decided to take some volume out of the back. I ended up taking out 1 3/8″ from the back center seam starting from the hem, and tapering to nothing a few inches below the neckline.
I’m really pleased with the resulting dress. It nails that relaxed vibe I was aiming for, and the fabric and silhouette combine to make a versatile dress that is really lovely to wear. I’ll style it for church with pretty sandals and a cardigan, and pair it with my leopard-print tennis shoes or thong sandals for running errands. And though I don’t think I’ll belt it (see mid-section issues above), I could if I wanted to.
Now, I’d like to make several more in different colors of the Fabric Wholesale Direct linen … which one should I choose next?
***The giveaway winner has been drawn via Random Number Generator, and it’s Gail K. Congrats Gail, and keep an eye on your inbox!***
Fabric Wholesale Direct is sponsoring this giveaway and is offering $100 worth of fabric to one lucky winner. To enter the giveaway, comment on this post. The giveaway will remain open for one week, through the end of the day on April 25. Then we’ll randomly draw one winner from the commenters and post the result here.
In the meantime, be sure to have a look at the beautiful fabrics Fabric Wholesale Direct has to offer. In addition to their linens, the colorful Madras plaids caught my eye. They’re perfect for another breezy summer dress!
Oh yes please! I didn’t realise this pattern wasn’t fitted around the waist- looks PERFECT in linen
Yes! It’s quite a versatile pattern!
It’s really cute on you, Masha! Nicely done. And what a beautiful color.
This is lovely! I’m a beginner at adapting patterns, so lots to learn here. Linen is my favorite!
This turned out so well! I really appreciate the fitting details.
Gorgeous dress. And the cardigan is a great touch!
The fabric and dress are both lovely! I can’t wait until the weather warms up enough to wear summer dresses like yours!
Fantastic Masha. That looks like the perfect hot weaher dress!
I am just swooning over this dress! The color, the fit and style is just on point. I really appreciate you giving so many details about your fitting process. I will require similar adjustments and these details are tremendously helpful. have been contemplating on making this dress and you have just sealed the deal for me.
Thanks for the post! Your dress looks great – love the color you chose!
That dress is super cute! I’ll admit that it is really hard for me to find motivation to make all the adjustments like you did on this dress, but I can see that it’s definitely worth it in the final fit!
Honestly, it did not take long. The pattern is so simple and quick to sew.
It’s beautiful, Marsha!
And thanks for the thorough explanation!
Wonderful fabric, indeed…
I have loved the few things I have ordered from Fabric Wholesale Direct, including their linen in red and I natural. Love your dress! I turned my red linen into a seat cover for my husband, and the natural color is destiny’s be summer pants for me… I’d better get cracking! Can’t wait to see which colors you choose- they are all winners.
Love the dress
Beautiful colour , really suits your colouring.
Beautiful work! Thanks for all the details.
Thanks for the detailed info on your changes – shows that even a simple dress can need work. Seems like darts never fall in the correct place for me!
Turned out great, Masha! And I always appreciate hearing your fitting processes. The color is perfect on you, and I too adore my linen dresses for summer!
Really helpful notes, thank you!
I could really use a linen dress for the summer.
Thanks for this post! I also have tricky body measurements so your adjustments and notes are very instructive.
Congrats — dress came out great! All I want to wear in the summer are breezy linen dresses!
All your fitting work paid off. Beautifully done with this lovely fabric. Hmmm. I think I now need more linen in my summer wardrobe. 🙂
It’s beautiful! I always like hearing that someone else’s body measurements fluctuate, because mine are impossible to pinpoint 🙂
Thank you for sharing your modification! Looks great on you!
Thank you Masha for you details and easy to follow tutorial for the Terrace Dress. Coincidentally, I am looking for tutorial, inspiration, fabric, etc. regarding this dress. The pattern is printed out, waiting for me to do the muslin.
Thank you again.
I also hopping to win the give away. I tried many times last 10 years but never lucky enough to win anything like this.
Thank you again.
I’ve been dreaming of just such an easy to wear summer dress! Thanks for the idea – it looks great!
Lovely dress, lovely material, looks so good on you! Thanks for explaining all the steps.
I’m saving this post for sure. Thank you for all the good information. It looks like you and I have the same sort of build. So this is very helpful.
This turned out beautiful! I am a little confused on the neckline adjustments – first, you raised it by 1/4″ to be sure it layed flat, but then you lowered it another 3/4″. Which means you really lowered it by 1/2″ from your original draft. Does it lay correctly for you or does it gape like you were trying to prevent with the 1/4″ raise?
The color of the linen is very nice – knowing reds are hard to photograph, in real life is the color closer to the FWD’s website or more bright as it shows in your photos?
Hi Kim. I suppose I may have effectively undone that 1/4″ tightening. I am not entirely sure, though, since my 1/4″ slash-and-overlap also removed length from the entire chest until it tapered to 0 at the sides. When I lowered the neckline, I just sliced the point lower. So I’m not sure it’s as simple as 3/4″-1/4″. But in any case, no, it doesn’t gape! The actual color of the linen is in between my photos and the photos on the FWD website, but it is closer to my photos. Hope that helps.
I love this dress and the fabric! Looks like something I might need for the summer. I always appreciate Masha sharing the alterations she makes because they are similar to what I need to do and her instructions are so clear and helpful.
So many helpful tips! I need to make one of these for work
That red dress would also look great with a Jean jacket!
I love, love, love this dress! I read (and reread) your very informative description of the fitting adjustments you made, many of which I often make for myself. The hallmark of a good pattern, in my opinion, is that it lends itself to be customized by the individual sewist. Your make looks fantastic on you and, of course, that linen is lovely! Heading over to Fabric Wholesale Direct now!
You are an inspiration, Masha! Your detailed description of the adjustments you made allow me to see how I could make a dress like this (cause I love the style) for myself. Thank you!
Love the finished dress , the color and the fit.
Lovely dress. I love Fabric Wholesale Direct!
Great fitting. I also have large arms and have to fiddle with them. Thanks for the new fabric site. I was thinking about some shirts and dress for next fall and spotted their ponte. However, gotta recover the outdoor furniture this year, so strolling the upholstery is loads of fun.
What a great dress! Perfect if spring ever gets here in Wisconsin!
Looks perfect for summer.
The dress is amazing and so is the color. I liked the tips on altering the dress for the V neck.
I love linen. Thanks for sharing your project!!
The v neck looks so flattering on you, Masha!
Beautiful result! Nicely done.
Love your modifications. Thank you for showing and explaining them so well. I love FDW!
Super cute! I may have to copy you!
What a gorgeous color and perfect summer dress! I really appreciate your description of adjustments from muslin to muslin. Very helpful.
Simply gorgeous and very flattering! Just my style too, so I’ll follow your lead. Thank you for the in-depth explanation of pattern alteration and dress construction.
I’ve only just discovered Liesel & Co and feel like I’ve learnt so much just by reading your blog post. We sound very similar … different sizes at different times of the day, round back adjustment…All of it! I’m really keen to try this pattern now, and a few others I’ve found while scrolling! Thanks for the great explanations.
Gorgeous summer dress
The dress looks so stunning on you! I have been a “throw it together, and live with the fitting issues” kind of apparel sewist, but the improvements you made in your fit have inspired me to take more care. Casual doesn’t have to look sloppy!!
Great dress! Linen is the best, my favorite to sew and wear.
I love this so much. Besides my obsession with linen, I live this style of cut AND I have the same figure/fitting issues. I might not wear another dress if i make it.
This is just the dress I’m looking for!
This pattern is so versatile. I made a winter version in a wooly-rayon. But this linen version is a great application of this pattern, so I might need to try it for this summer!
Gorgeous make! I absolutely love everything about this dress!
What a perfect easy-breezy summer dress!
Wonderful dress & color!
I love the process of fitting a garment so that it fits well.Your descriptions and pictures of your adjustments were very helpful. The dress is gorgeous in that color and the pattern work proved to be well worth the time.
I love how this dress turned out. I love linen dresses anyway. They are perfect for the hot climate in the deep south.
I love how this turned out, Thanks for documenting the process – this dress is exactly what I want to wear this summer! Lovely fabric. Linen is my favorite and I will definitely try your hot wash & dry on my next project.
I had a dress similar to this one years ago (store bought) and I’ve never stopped wishing for another since it’s been gone. I love this! I will definite borrow your ideas. Thanks for sharing
Beautifully sewn and in a lovely colour. I like the shape of it, and am definitely going to look into making one for myself.
I am in love with the pockets of this dress!! I would normally put them in towards the waist but I love how they are slouched. They seem really great!! Definitely going to try!!
Can’t take credit – that’s how Liesl designed them!
I’m not often patient or confident enough to change a design as much as you have but I appreciate your going through the process. It came out beautifully and the color is gorgeous. Thanks for sharing.
Wonderful job, Masha! The fit and color are very flattering on you. I’m inspired. I need some linen in my wardrobe now.
I love how your alterations changed the style so much! The original is lovely, but I also like a nice v-neck. And that color is perfection.
Beautiful fabric and inspiring pattern.
This dress looks absolutely gorgeous on you, Masha! Lovely choice of fabric and pattern hack…
Thank you for the detailed explanations and many photos – it really helps to see! The end result is just gorgeous – congratulations!
It is so interesting to me to see you go through the ‘muslining’ process. I always make a muslin now, but often get bogged down in my changes. Once I start, I have a hard time being satisfied and keep tweaking the pattern. Thank you for showing your very sensible approach.
Lovely dress and a beautiful colour on you!
Thanks for sharing your process, Masha. it is interesting to read about the sequence in which you made your changes, as often pattern and fitting adjustments articles in magazines or online often describe a single alterations. It was well worth the effort!
Thank you for another detailed explanation of your sewing and fitting process. I always find these posts so helpful!
I LOVE linen, and I had to revisit this pattern (yes, I already own it) to realize which one it was. I love how you adapted it and styled it. And thank you for your tutorials on the alterations!
I love the color of that linen! The dress looks great.
Thank you for the detailed explanation of all of your fitting decisions!
I love the color of this dress.
The dress looks so beautiful on you, Masha! Your fitting adjustments are great! Thank you for sharing!!
Beautiful dress. I’ve been thinking about this pattern for a while, you may have just pushed me over the edge.
Looks like a great summer dress. Who doesn’t love linen .Thanks for sharing your fitting adjustments.
Love it! Looks like a perfect summer staple.
Gorgeous. Great way to stay nice and cool for the summer!
This is beautiful, I love the colour and the fit. Perfect dress to throw on and look stylish.
Great job Masha! Looks breezy and perfect for summer!
The winner of the giveaway has been selected, so we are closing comments on this post. Thanks to everyone who entered, and congratulations to Gail who was the winner.
Comments are closed.