It's still summer for a month yet, but many of our sewing friends who live in northern climates like the UK, northern Europe and the northern United States and Canada are already getting the occasional cool night that is a harbinger of cooler days to come. Sewing for transition seasons is always challenging - cool mornings will leave us sweaty by mid-afternoon, and chilly again by cocktail hour.
The Princess Dress and One-Seam Wrap is a perfect summer-to-fall or spring-to-summer dress combo. This fit-and-flare dress style (knee length or longer-than-midi-length) is super flattering on all sizes and comes with an incredibly simple one-seam wrap, perfect for airy crochet or sweater knit fabrics, as well as fancy knit fabrics. The cap sleeve and knee-length dress is your hot-weather go-to dress. Just enough sleeve to keep the top of your arms covered, the cap sleeve version is perfect with a pair of wedges, a great bag and your sunglasses. Add in a chilly morning, and you can tie on the wrap until lunchtime (or over-air-conditioned offices - make an extra one or two and stash them in your desk drawer.)
The long sleeve offers a lot of opportunity. Crop it to elbow length and add a simple serged-on knit band, finish it at 3/4 length or leave it long. The Princess Dress also looks great as a casual dress - wear it under a puffy vest when the leaves fall and you're headed to the farm market for pumpkins. The dress - in either knee length or the longer than midi length is perfect with tall boots - if you like a bit of knee, go short, if you prefer your skirt to cover your boots, go long!
The dress also makes up beautifully in a sweatshirting fabric (with enough stretch, check the pattern envelope to see that your fabric stretches on the crossgrain with at least 50% stretch.) Using the Perfect Sizing Worksheet enclosed in the pattern envelope means you can experiment with less-stretchy knits by going up to the size that will accommodate the less-stretch for a perfect fit. No guesswork here, the Worksheet does it all for you.
In a sweatshirting fabric, long sleeves, long length, with leggings underneath, you can wear a faux fur or puffy vest and your Sorel winter boots and take this dress right into December without wearing a coat.
Or try the long sleeved version in a drapey rayon-lycra knit for perfect layering all the way from late September through winter. This dress looks best with a hip-length or higher jacket or a waist-nipping longer coat.
The design possibilities are fun with this dress. Of course you could make it in a solid black ITY and have an excellent day-to-evening dress, but you could also make it in a heather gray sweatshirt and love it all weekend long, as comfortable as a nightgown. Try color blocking with a tone-on-tone print with a solid. The front panel could be the print, the rest of the dress a solid. Or try the side panel in one contrast color, and sleeves in another contrast color. It's perfect for using up small scraps of leftover knit fabrics - not quite enough to use for a single project, but certainly enough for sleeves or a skinny side panel.
The dress sizes up well from 4-22, (this is from a 31.5" bust to a 48" bust (56 1/4" hip) and it's shape looks amazing on everyone we put in this dress!