Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Papercut sway dress

August is a hot month in Santa Barbara, with very little breeze. I pulled out an old linen dress that I bought in Amsterdam years ago. It's been worn so much that the front placket is fraying and I am considering hacking it apart to make a pattern for a similar dress... but until then, I have been trying to find a pattern with a similar feel; pullover, loose but with some interesting seams, good for the fun qualities of linen.

(My first attempt was the Merchant and Mills Factory dress. A disaster. I am curvy, I can't wear a big rectangle. I should have known better. I will finish it and put it in my give away pile.)

My second attempt is the Papercut Sway dress, made in a few hours on Sunday morning and then worn the rest of the afternoon.

 It is a triangle dress, a much better shape for me than a rectangle. When I saw this version of the Papercut pattern, I immediately bought the digital pattern. I was also inspired by this lovely dress. And then True Bias posted how to make similar dress this week!

I do like how the Papercut Sway is such a simple pattern to use and alter... I cut a size medium in the shoulders, graded to a large in the skirt. The shoulders are really the only place to worry about measurement in this pattern.

I added an FBA of about 3" so that the armseyes would not strain out to my bust. I used my successful FBA from the Gallery Tunic to as a guide- the darts are long and slanted upwards. This appeared to work, but the armscyes are cut a little low. It's possible the fabric is stretching as it hangs. An easy fix would be to take in the side seams under the arms by a few inches. There is certainly enough ease by design!

I used my favorite Brussels washer linen in black with a dark grey thread to highlight some of the pintucking I intended to do in the front.

I cut the front piece on a fold instead of in two pieces with a seam. I added an extra two inches of fabric in that fold and then sent pintucks down the center front. I made three seams facing inside, and two facing out that are stitched down. This created seamlines without any projecting fabric. The extra inches are loose and lost in the swingy bottom of the skirt.

The facings in this pattern are my favorite kind of facings. They connect along the neckline and the armscyes, making for a very neat, unflippable interior facing. I did not using any interfacing for them in this dress.  

I got lazy in the end and did not hem it, I simply serged the bottom edge with black thread.  I feel okay about this after searching for designer linen dresses online and seeing expensive dresses with frayed unfinished bottoms. It's a thing, apparently.

I don't care if it could be maternity wear. It's ridiculously comfortable. The V back feels so nice and cool.

My proper camera battery died so a mirror selfie is the best I can do.


  1. Those pintucks are such a great idea! And I bet the hem will look really cool once it starts to fray.

    And I agree, this is the most comfortable dress ever, especially in linen! Perfect for summer.

    1. Thank you! I really love yours! I copied your v back version. :) Have you thought of making it in another color? I'm wondering what might look nice besides black.