britex, britex guest blogger, decades of style, dress, fabric, haleiwa, handmade wardrobe, hawaii, linen, siren sundress, sundress, wrap dress

Vintage-inspired linen sundress

If you’re arriving here from Britex, welcome!

A couple of weeks ago, my family took a trip to Hawaii, which nicely coincided (with a slight extension of deadlines–thank you, Joie 🙂 with my latest Britex project.  A lovely linen sundress was the obvious choice; after all, doesn’t everyone sew new garments before going on vacation?!

The linen I chose for this project is fairly lightweight, though slightly more opaque than you’d expect, and therefore not requiring a lining in the skirt. Linens are always a bit shifty while cutting and sewing, so I had to take care not to distort the fabric.  Overall, I found the fabric very easy to sew and it was the perfect choice for this style.

For this dress, you really can’t wear a bra, so for the bodice lining, I skipped my usual first choice for linings (Bemberg rayon) and went with a silk/ cotton lawn to keep it from feeling sticky in the humidity of summer.  

For the pattern, I selected the vintage-inspired Siren Sundress by Decades of Style.  The dress has a faux-wrap front bodice, with secured wrap skirt in the back.  However, the highlight of the design is the cross-wrapping straps that wrap around the waist to tie in the back.  Lots of wrapping going on in this dress!  While it takes a while to get it on (with the aid of a mirror or significant other to keep the straps flat), once “assembled”, it is comfortable and secure.  
The wrap around the waist is really flattering!  And the back is so pretty and unusual!
Even though it seems as though you can wrap and adjust straps to make it fit, I would highly recommend making a muslin first.  The waist wrap is fixed, and the seam at the shoulders should sit on your shoulder line, so after making a muslin it was clear I had to make some significant petite adjustments to the pattern. First, I trimmed the hem by about 6″. Second, I had to shorten the bodice so the waist seam would sit at my natural waistline.   Tomorrow I’ll post a quick tutorial for shortening a wrap-style top (or head over to Britex).
Aside from my pattern adjustments, the sundress was a pretty quick sew.  I can envision it in a number of lightweight fabrics, such as a linen stripe or print, or a fairly opaque cotton lawn.  Very fun for a summer barbecue, or with the right fabric, an evening cocktail party in the depths of summer!
Mahalo to Britex for providing the fabulous linen fabric and our amazing hosts in Haleiwa** for allowing me to take photos in their yard!  
** By the way, if you are looking for the best rental in all of Oahu (in our humble opinion) you can do no better than this cottage on the North Shore.  Just my plug for a great place; I wasn’t asked to saying something nice 🙂

14 thoughts on “Vintage-inspired linen sundress”

  1. that is lovely, so pretty. perfect choice for a summer sundress. I have always loved that pattern. and Haleiwa town – so nice. (I always am singing the praises of Oahu off the tourist path, its so much more than the well known spots)


  2. We couldn't stand Honolulu or Waikiki…it felt like such a relief to drive back across the island through the country side! Haleiwa reminded me a lot of Santa Cruz, just way smaller!


  3. I don't have a picture of it laying flat, but the bodice is approximately two overlapping triangles (sewn together at the waistband) that overlap a bit (maybe 5 inches) at the lower back when worn. The shoulder straps wrap around the side of the body, cross at the waist and then tie at the back. It's a bit complicated to envision, but the pattern itself is really very simple!


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