I knew that I'd hack this Fehr Trade XYT Top pattern into a dress ever since I had it in my grubby hands. I got the right fit with the top, made it several times already as the running top it was meant to be (here and here), and now it was high time to make it a sporty summer dress.
I had this black scuba knit in my stash from my big Fabric Mart purchase earlier this year with my winnings from the Fabricista Fashion Challenge. I've been seeing some garments sewn with scuba knit on a handful of other sewing blogs... there seems to be a bit of variation in what scuba actually is. My fabric is a mid-weight knit polyester without spandex/lycra, it's very similar to a ponte, it does have a two-way stretch (widthwise) at about 25%. It resists wrinkle like crazy and has a firm hand that hides bumps and bulges on the tighter areas of the dress here. The colorful print fabric is a nylon/spandex with a lovely 4-way stretch from Fabric Fairy... about 70%. I've used it before for these crazy running tights.
First off the coolest thing here is that it has a built in bra!!! I've been wearing it all day and it's really comfy. I actually used the colorful nylon/spandex for the bra. Because my scuba fabric has significantly less stretch them the activwear fabrics I've used for my XYT running tops I added about 1.5" (3.8 cm) to the width of the bodice. I added about the same to the width of the bra inside. I only used one layer of the print fabric for the bra. The pattern calls for a double layer of power mesh to give a strong, firm hold for very active sports. Between the scuba knit and the colorful print material I now have a bra that is equivalent to a firm holding yoga bra.
So the photo above shows how I added the skirt. I took a standard a-line knit skirt pattern piece from Vogue 8663. I took in the fullness of the a-line a little as I serged up my side seams. The front black fabric is one piece, no seamed waistline. The back was one piece as well, I intended to make vertical darts at the waist accommodate my full butt/smaller waist ratio-- but it wasn't working out so I had to do a straight up swayback adjustment. I took out a fisheye sliver of a dart that follows my waistline... but it's covered by a belt. No non-seamstress would ever notice the swayback adjustment seam anyhow.
I choose to use the "X" back and then turn the front neckline into a v-neck. I added bindings, but none are topstitched down because the layers of fabric are pretty thick, I would have had skipped stitched galore. No thanks.
I am pretty sure I could have gotten away with wearing a regular bra and skipping the built in bra because the back covers quite a bit of skin. But it was way to easy to sew it in. I'm soo happy I did. I've worn this to the park on a 80F/26C day in full sun, a long walk to the ice cream shop and then a visit to the local pet shelter to pet kittens-- all with a three year old (you can spy my helper in one of the photos.) This casual dress is a winner!
Now I am trying to decide what other fabrics I want to use to re-hack this pattern. This will make a killer travel dress this summer. I'll be camping for a week, too, back in the motherland (New York state) and will need some really sporty camp garb. Hmmm... what will I be making?!
Plus it's Sewing Indie Month. I think I will be entering this into the Pattern Hacking contest! Don't know about this month long excitement with your favorite indie pattern designers? Click here and find out more.