My Quest for the Perfect Wrap Dress Part 2: P4P Sunshine Dress

IMG_0221I have detailed the first part of my quest for the Perfect wrap dress using Colette Wren Pattern – which I liked but didn’t love – especially the neckline which wasn’t what I was looking for. For reference, this is my favorite dress that I was trying to copy.

So when the Patterns for Pirates Sunshine dress came out I bought it immediately! I then immediately made a dress in the wrong size. Ooopsies! Measure twice cut once, right?

Patterns for Pirates patterns always have a lot of options and they make a lot of special adjustments to make their patterns more user-friendly for pdf printing. I highly recommend them for beginner sewists!

About the Sunshine pattern: This pattern has a super flattering wrap style neckline (and a million other neckline options!).  The neckline is finished with neck bands, which is a very nice and handy way to finish a dress with your serger (generally my preference). However when I made my muslin, I didn’t love the look of the neckband (possibly because it was a size too small!).  So I decided to do a lined bodice) (like my fave dress pictured!)

I realized one thing I love about the favorite black dress pictured is the lined bodice, so I decided to line the bodice of the Sunshine Dress. I have outlined that process in this post if you want to try the same thing.

I also decided to copy the skirt of the Eddie Bauer Dress. Because this makes a more slim fitting dress, I couldn’t add the pockets because I was pretty sure they would show through and look very strange. I am sad about not having pockets, but otherwise I love these dresses and have at least one more I am planning to make.

And here are my results!

My first draft is a muslin using some cheap knit I got for $1.50 a yard from the bargain bin at Girl Charlee. (PS feel free to use my referral link if you’ve never shopped there and are setting up a new account!)

It is a little small, and since I had very little of the fabric left, I cut a short pencil skirt as an experiment to go with it. I will probably never wear this – but I do like it!
P4P Sunshine Dress Lined Bodice

I am pretty sure this super short, uneven hem is commonly known as the “sexy cavewoman” hemline? I would definitely wear this out of the house with pants on.
P4P Sunshine Dress Lined Bodice

You can see I had to gather the skirt slightly to meet the bodice, in my later versions I cut the skirt to meet the bodice exactly.

The next dress, using a “Performance Knit” from Joann, came out realllly low cut. Due to the fact that I added a little length in the bodice, and because I didn’t factor in the fact that the original bodice has a neckband which is going to add an inch or so of coverage. I DEFINITELY need to wear this one with a tank top or sports bra underneath. I was excited about the Performance Knit Dress but it’s a little blah blah, I think. I lined the bodice in black which I like – I think it might be better with a black waistband or other accent to break up the gray.  I do wear it (in fact I’m wearing it right now!).

P4P Sunshine Dress Lined Bodice

It fits my basic litmus for summer clothing: Very comfortable, very cool, allows me to sit on the ground without showing my underwear.

P4P Sunshine Dress Lined Bodice

I need to hem this skirt though that hasn’t stopped me from wearing it. I do think it will look nicer a few inches shorter.
P4P Sunshine Dress Lined Bodice

Try three! I trimmed up the shoulder area and raised the bodice, but it’s still so low cut I need to wear a top under it. Not sure if it’s the fabric or me at this point.  No worries, I wear this all the time. In fact, this is basically my favorite dress! Since it is a swim knit it is really comfortable and great for 90 degree days – I wear it for yard work, to the zoo, to the swim park, etc.

Sunshine Dress by Patterns for PiratesIn fact, here I am weed whacking the front yard wearing the dress. Another benefit of these swim knit dresses is they pack down to nothing in a suitcase and don’t wrinkle. Sunshine Dress by Patterns for Pirates

Sorry these pictures are blurry, I had a phone crisis where I lost the quality ones, and didn’t feel like weed whacking the yard again.

Sunshine Dress by Patterns for Pirates

Sunshine Dress three! My striped dress.

For this dress I added a full inch of coverage to the part of the bodice where the two sides cross over the bust. I graded this down so that the “short” side of the crossover is the same height as in the original pattern piece. And I finally succeeded in making a dress that covers my bra!

P4P Sunshine Dress Lined Bodice

I had BARELY enough fabric for this dress. I loved the purple stripes, which are from Girl Charlee, and had made my daughter some baby clothes from it so I had an odd amount. I basically cut the skirt exactly to use up every last scrap of fabric I had. I wish I had been more careful with the stripe matching but I decided my arms mostly cover up the really bad parts anyway.
P4P Sunshine Dress Lined Bodice

I made this skirt a little fuller than the earlier versions because I was worried the thin fabric of the dress would be a little see through. I feel like a little more volume in the skirt makes that less obvious. I was going to add pockets, but didn’t have enough fabric.

P4P Sunshine Dress Lined Bodice

The back is gathered slightly I cut it larger than the front, again in an attempt to keep my underwear from shining through!
P4P Sunshine Dress Lined Bodice

And here it is in action! It works!

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