The Summer Dress for Winter | Veronica Darling

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image from 1.bp.blogspot.com The Facts 

Fabric:  Floral knit fabric, thrifted, $2
Pattern: Sew U Home Stretch, Built by Wendy, with self drafted sleeves
Year: 2008
Notions: Elastic, from the stash, $0.20
Time to complete: 40 minutes
First worn: May 2011
Wear again? Yes, it's so comfy!

Total Cost: ~$2.20

It'll be the first week of winter in Melbourne for me here in Australia, so the idea of the perfect summer dress could be wishful thinking! However, when this theme was first mentioned, I was really excited because I knew we'd be going to my brother's wedding in Far North Queensland's Magnetic Island! It was a perfect opportunity to make a quick and easy casual dress, timely for my tropical holiday, but something that I can dream about wearing when our real summer rolls around.

For those of you who know Australia well, most of our population is spread north to south along the Eastern coast of the country, and typically the northern state of Queensland still has a winter with moderate temperatures but it's often dry and really pleasant, warm without the humidity. So Husbie and I were looking forward to our holiday to escape the chill of Melbourne.

 

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Using my Built By Wendy Sew U: Home Stretch again (My Wendy Bird dress, during the Mother's Day theme, was also from this book) for this thrifted floral stretch knit, meant this dress was made in 40 minutes! I had hardly any fabric, as it was a piece I found recently at the op shop, so most of that time was working out my pattern piece placement (say that quickly!).

 

It was just enough fabric for a baby doll type dress (I used the Project #3 Dress: The Pretty Baby-doll pattern in Wendy's Book), but with built in sleeves (self drafted after realising my lack of fabric for even the separate sleeve pieces), so once I'd cut, it only took 15 minutes of sewing time. Gosh, stretch fabric can be so rewarding! I have a gorgeous project completed before an episode of Project Runway finishes!

 

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The project #3 pattern in Wendy's book asks you to use elastic along the neckline, instead of the usual binding t shirt technique (if you've read the book, you'll know what I mean, sorry I'm not so good at explaining!). At first I was like, nup, I should skip it because it probably can quickly become tricky and look messy. But, I am trying to be more daring this year, and I also didn't have any spare fabric to do the binding the usual way Wendy suggests for her t shirt dresses.

 

But, I dared this time, and it wasn't difficult and the results are neat and not at all awkward! Amazing! Sewing with knits, I do use an overlockeer, but this neckline asks you to zig zag the elastic to the dress, then turn it under and topstitch the elastic (which forms a little casing I guess), and I was surprised at how neat my straight stitch machine worked it.

 

I know this length dress might be a little short for some of you, but for me, I'm daring with my sewing and my skirt length this week! Especially when the weather in Queensland is this good! Back in Melbourne I plan to wear this summer dress over wintery tights and a long sleeve t shirt & cardigan so I don't have to wait til summertime!

 

But, why did we venture out along these rocks on Magnetic Island? To show you international friends the darling Rock Wallabies! They are so friendly!

 

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Wallabies are smaller than kangaroos, and just as cute, especially since this wallaby is all sleepy from the midday sun! Whilst they aren't tame creatures, they are used to visitors along this coastal park area, and don't mind posing for photos!

 

Until next week! xo

Author

Veronica Darling

Veronica Darling has been sewing well for about 4 years, blogging for 5 years and smiling for over 33 years. In 2011, she joined Mena's Sew Weekly in sewing through the year, and in 2012 will keep challenges slightly smaller in scale.

43 Comments

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  1. That wallaby is almost as cute as your dress! I said this last time but I really need to start using my Home Stretch. I’m so impressed with the dresses I’ve seen from it and I think it’s just the stepping stone to knits that I need.

  2. Perfect dress for you – Your thrifting abilities are on song as usual. Sleeves look great.

  3. That’s such a cute dress Veronica. And you can rock that length totally :)

  4. I grew up in Townsville (and spent a lot of time on Magnetic Island) and I love your photos! Your dress is perfect for the warm days an the granite rockhopping!

  5. Wallabies!!! SO CUTE! Love your photos! And the dress is perfect. Hope you are having a fabulous time for your brother’s wedding!!

  6. Very cute – so are the wallabies! I have the Sew U Home Stretch book but haven’t tried anything from it yet – I think this is just the inspiration I need. Thanks!!

  7. Love the dress. The length is great until a burst of wind, I added a ruffle trim to the bottom of mine along with a horse hair binding to give shape to the bottom. (based on a tutorial Gertie did, trying to be more daring myself). The sleeves are just darling, thanks for sewing so many inspirational thing, I really get a kick out of it!

  8. The is very cute and you look great in it. I love the Wendy sewing/pattern books, she has some great ideas.
    How exciting to have such interesting animals to see.

  9. judy roberson

    Veronica…so cute.. love it.Looks great on you.

  10. Beautiful dress (wow and so quick too!) and a darling little wallaby :) I think they are so sweet :)

  11. Very cute! I’m stunned at how fast you can sew–it takes me that long just to get my fabric pinned out. :/

  12. This is lovely! I have that book but have yet to try out a pattern – I think you may have just inspired me! Well done :)

  13. You look beautiful – with all the cute dresses you are making, I have to get that book! And I want to hug that wallaby – he’s adorable!

  14. Veronica, What fun you are having, cute dress, cute you and cute wallabie!

  15. It’s a cutie of the dress! You look totally adorable with that length! And, knits are the best aren’t they? So fast to sew and so gratifying!

  16. Your dress is so cute and suits you perfectly! I love the length on you and those cute flutter sleeves. It will look great with wooly tights, too. So glad you shared the wallaby photos – what cutie pies!

  17. Lovely dress! The Sew U book sounds like a good resource. And the wallaby…. awwww!

  18. Absolutely fabulous as always, love it. I still need to get my hands on that book.

  19. you look so babydoll-ish cute! you so make me want to make a dress like that. :)

  20. i wanna wallabee!!!
    i love that you rock this length. it looks so perfect on you.

  21. Awesome dress, with great fabric! I love the length and the flutter sleeves too. Magentic Island is one of my favourite places to visit – the beach with the wildlife is just gorgeous :)

  22. Yeh Lizz, it’s a really straight forward book, and there’s a big section that explains what knits are good for what clothes! Good luck!

  23. Thanks Jen, this floral knit was such a small piece when I saw it at the store!

  24. It’s such a beautiful place there Michelle!

  25. There are so many versatile patterns in the book, Debbie, once you get your head around it, you can really improvise and make any kind of shapes!

  26. I think I can remember Gertie talking about that binding! Thanks so much Krista, I love reading all your comments! It’s so rewarding!

  27. I agree with you about the Wendy books, as I’ve never done any training or classes with sewing, they’ve often been great help books.
    Thanks Sue!

  28. Thanks Rachel! I’m glad you guys like the wallaby, I thought it would be an extra surprise!

  29. Thanks Stacyverb! For this dress, I only used the top and back bodice pattern pieces, and just had the leftover fabric as the skirt… so that certainly cut down on time! The more you make the faster it gets!
    xoxo

  30. Thank you Meg! There are a lot of patterns in the book, that you can mix and match!

  31. Yay! Such cute animals!
    It’s been a great book, if you wear a lot of tshirts or stretch things, it means you never have to be shop made ones again! (Or at least I don’t!)

  32. Thank you Cathe! Sewing and holiday adventures FTW!

  33. Thank you Adey! Yep, so rewarding to have something finished so quickly! I need all the time I can get at the moment! So busy with work!

  34. Flutter sleeves is a perfect way to describe them! Thanks so much Sarah, I adore your enthusiasm!

  35. Thank you! So cute (the wallaby!) hey?!

  36. It’s a quick fix wardrobe having the book, so for time poor peeps it’s awesome! Thanks Kazz!

  37. Maybe I can ship him to you Oona? He’d be ok in your apartment right!? xoxo

  38. Thank you Sarah Louise! It’s gorgeous there hey?!
    xo

  39. This dress in these photos is like the perfect encapsulation of summer! You look so cute! And look at you with more self drafting – you’re amazing! Cute shoes too, as always… though I think those might be the flattest shoes I’ve seen you wear so far in your weekly shoots! Hope Magnetic Island and the wedding were fantastic and you had a good, restorative break xx