After a year of admiring many Southport Dresses, I finally broke down and bought the pattern. I'm not really sure why I waited so long except that I don't often wear dresses, especially sundresses. They always look so lovely on other blogs, laundry commercials, and people who apparently don't get cold. For me, though, our weather in the Puget Sound region tends to be little bit too cold for thin, cottony dresses.
But the Southport! We were headed back East for our annual summer visit to Joe's family, so between the humidity, the heat, and a planned escapade to the New Hampshire coast, a summer dress seemed to be in order. The Southport is exactly the type of dress I like–simple shape, easy to wear, eating room, and pockets. It's also got a cut-on placket that's mostly for show and very clever finishing, so it's a quick make.
Apparently I'm kind of annoyed in this pic? Maybe I'm pissed that my sweet rocket shoes, as Joe calls them, got cut off in the image.
Anyway, I cut a size 2 in the bodice, grading to a size 4 in the waist/hips, and this dress still has plenty of ease. I wouldn't go down a size, as the bust fits perfectly and the dress drapes nicely without any pulling across the hips. It's also not so tight that the pocket bags show through. The neck is cut just a tad deeply for me, so I'll probably raise it up 3/4″ in the next version. On me, at least, it looks less “slightly seductive” and more “keeps hiking it up.”
I did make two other changes; first, the instructions call for 1″ wide double bias tape with 3/4″ topstiching. This really didn't work for me–at that width (3/4″) the bias cannot really curve well, which causes a lot of rippling while topstitching. On future versions, I'll just use a 1/2″ self-bias, but for this iteration I simply doubled over the bias and stitched down (at 3/8″ instead). This produced much smoother seams, although a bit thicker than I would like.
The only other major change was an added skirt lining, which I included because this fun coral rayon challis was just a tiny bit transparent. I used a Robert Kaufman white cotton voile, which added just enough stiffness to the skirt that it stands away from my legs, while still retaining the lovely drape of the challis. I prefer skirts that way, since it bugs me when skirt fabric collects in between my legs while I walk–what's the point of a skirt if it just looks like weird shorts? I would like to try the dress again without the lining just to see how differently it drapes, though, and fortunately I have this same challis in the navy/white colorway (sadly, looks like it's sold out).
Wearing a fun summer dress as I contemplate our neighbor's penchant for driving his car down the sidewalk . . .