Every sewer needs that go-to pattern that always comes through. The pattern you pull out when you know you’ve got a few hours to sew and want something quick and comfortable and simple. For me, this is the Staple Dress by April Rhodes.
A year or two ago I saw this pattern EVERYWHERE on the blogosphere. Everywhere that is, but not on anyone that looked like me! I was hesitant to purchase it given I hadn’t seen anyone even remotely curvy attempting it, but I wanted to see what all of the hoopla was about and I gave it a shot. I am so glad I did!
I’ve sewn up a handful of these over the past year and, although the style is basic and simple, each of them looks different depending on the fabric weight and style. I have made a drop hem version in a jersey fabric (here), a shortened straight hem version in voile (here) and in crepe de chine (here), a hacked top version (here) and now for this review another drop hem version. I love them all and wanted to share this pattern with those of you looking for an easy and simple dress/top that really lets the fabric and the curves of your body speak for themselves. I love throwing one on with a pair of slim pants or leggings and a great pair of boots and maybe a cardigan and running out the door. Now that the snow has finally melted around these parts, I may even show my legs off in one, as well!
- Pattern name
- Staple Dress by April Rhodes
- Size range (with measurements)
- XS (33-26-36)-XXL (46-39-49)
- What size did you make?
- What are your measurements, height, and body type?
- 5’8”, 50-45-52, bra size 40DD I am not sure how great I was at taking my measurements, but according to these numbers I am a bit above their stated size but the dresses fit great
- What adjustments did you make and how long did they take?
- What was the construction process like? Did the instructions make sense to you?
- Super simple construction. Instructions were easy and straight forward. Pockets and bias trim are time consuming but easy to do. If you omit the pockets you could do French seams not only on the shoulders, but sides as well. (Editor’s Note: Here’s a great tutorial on adding pockets to French seams, if you’d like to keep both!) Shirring may be a challenge for some, but I have also made a few versions without it, instead using ¼ inch elastic inside, when my machine was acting rebellious. This is the first pattern I’ve used with interior pockets and it was a challenge to me the first few times, but I absolutely love that it pushed me past my fear of adding pockets- now I want to add pockets to everything!
- How do you like the pattern’s fit? Do you think the design works well for your particular body shape?
- I love the fit! It is a very simple silhouette, which I like. The shirring allows you to gather the fabric where it is most flattering for your body. Personally I like it with the shirring and also without; particularly if the pattern is shortened to a blouse or tunic length. I have a large chest, and carry weight in my waist and I think this style is flattering.
- Will you make the pattern again? If so, what fit or design changes will you make?
- I have already made several versions of this; with the drop hem, with a straight hem and also hacked to be a top. I will make another for sure!
- Do you have any advice on this pattern for other curvy sewers? Are there any resources (blog posts, fitting books, tutorials) that helped you sew this piece up?
- My advice would be to use a lightweight fabric to get the best drape. I made the mistake of using a light denim for my muslin the first time and– Yikes! –not so flattering! If you go by the directions and do the shirring, it helps to try on the dress and mark the best spot for you to gather. Everyone’s body is different, after all, and curvy sewers may especially want to choose a different spot for the gathers. Personally, I like an empire-look with this dress, placing the shirring below my bust line.
Size Range (1-5) 3, Sizing goes up to XXL, which is great and fits me very well. I would think this would be super easy to grade up, as well, since there are only 2 pattern pieces.
Instructions (1-5) 5, easy to understand for even a beginner.
Construction Process (1-5) 4. I would love to use French seams not only in the shoulders, but throughout. Also, the bias tape around the neckhole and arms; and the shirring may be intimidating for a beginner but does give a nice finish.