It’s time for my first pattern review as an editor of the CSC and boy am I excited to show this one off. This is a great summer dress pattern from True Bias, with maxi and knee length dress options, a buttoned bodice and drawstring waist. The internet has gone a bit crazy for this one and rightly so. The size range may not appear too inclusive, but actually this dress could probably fit up to a size 22 -24 and it is very swishy with loads of ease. It’s my new favourite thing to sew, and I think it could be yours too…..
Pattern Name: True Bias Southport Dress (Maxi dress version)
Size Range: 0-18
What size did you make? 18 (shoulders 16)
What are your….
- Measurements: Full Bust 51 , High Bust 46, Waist 45, Hips 53
- Body Shape: Apple
- Height: 5 foot 10 inches
What adjustments did you make and how long did they take?
Despite my measurements being considerably bigger than the suggested measurements for the largest size (18 = B 44.5, W 38.5 and H 46.5), I just cut a straight size 18, but graded down to a 16 at the shoulders as I am peculiarly shoulderless. I also lowered the front slit by about an inch, and added wooden beads to the ends of the drawstring at the waist. These adjustments took approximately 30 seconds. I did also sew the button placket down because I was worried it would gape as the bodice was a little tight.
What was the construction process like? Did the instructions make sense to you?
Construction was a dream! The PDF went together easily without going skew whiff, the instructions were crystal clear, and the drafting was brilliant. All my notches matched and it went together like a jigsaw. It’s a very simple but effective pattern. A beginner with a bit of confidence can easily do it. I love the bias tape finishing and making my own draw string. The only problem I had was a very strange print error which meant I got double lines on the skirt pieces. I instagrammed the picture and the wonderful sewing world (including Kelli from True Bias) came to the rescue and helped me overcome this. Most people don’t get this when they print it out, something strange just happened to me. If it happens to you, just ignore the shorter inner lines.
How did you like the pattern’s fit? Do you think the design works well for your body shape?
There is a lot of ease (the finished measurements of the size 18 are bust 47.5 and hip 52) in this pattern which is how I could get away with making a size that is apparently far too small for me. I don’t have as many waist gathers as other people, and it’s not so spectacularly flowy as some I have seen, but it’s still elegant and drapey and hangs beautifully. It’s very flattering (I’m not sure these pictures do it justice), comfortable and shapely. I have received a lot of compliments on it!
Will you make this pattern again? If so, what fit or design changes will you make?
Absolutely. I’m already planning another maxi version and two short versions. I will do a one or two inch full bust adjustment so I don’t need to sew the bodice placket down. I probably didn’t need to do this as actually once the skirt was attached the bodice fitted better for some reason, but a little extra room would be good and this would stop the slight gaping I have at the armpits. I would also add a couple of inches to the length of the front bodice piece as it rises up quite a bit higher than the back piece, but the FBA should help with this.
Do you have any advice on this pattern for other curvy sewers? Are there any resources or materials that helped you sew this piece up?
The maxi dress version is LONG. I’m 5′ 10″ and it comes almost down to the floor. I think it’s designed for wearing with heels, so if you are shorter than me or don’t like heels you may need to shorten it.
I didn’t need to use it because the instructions were clear, but there is also a very good sewalong on the True Bias site.
Pattern Rating (1-5):
- Size Range: 3 (though it will fit a wider range than it seems)
- Instructions: 5
- Construction Process: 5
- Final Fit: 4
- Overall Rating: 4.5