Taking the heat

Using some navy linen bought in France last summer, and Vogue 9237, I whipped up a simple summer dress to help me cope with the inevitable sweaty commute to work when London experiences a heatwave.

The pattern

I was desperate to make this dress quickly – because who knows how long the sun will stay out for – so popped into good old John Lewis on my way home from work and found Vogue 9237 – a great swing dress with a cute gathered detail at the back (which I chose not to include this time).

The instructions were easy enough to follow as the dress itself is so simple. I did get a little confused with the pockets and initially sewed them on to the inside, rather than the outside, but that was more to do with me rushing than anything else. (Note: You sew them onto the outside and then turn the pocket inside out so that they sit inside the side seams.)


Secret in-seam pockets (on the inside – hurrah!)

The fabric

After having sewn with drapey viscose fabrics for the last two makes, this linen was a dream to work with. Sturdy, not slippy and with no stretch – what more could you want?!  My only concern is that it will fray quite badly, so I’ve been careful to edge all seams well.

The process

As I’d hoped, it all came together pretty quickly. I only slightly adapted the pattern, by having a plain back, rather than the gathered panel. To do this I simply extended the top back pieces to be the same length as the front – easy!

I also narrowed the shoulder seams to make a more modern shape and is more flattering as it doesn’t cut my shoulder off at a weird point. As the shoulder seams are narrower, I reinforced them by sewing over the line of stitching a second time.

In addition to sewing in the pockets, I also finally mastered using bias binding to edge the neckline and armholes. It’s not perfect, but at least I now understand the concept!


Bias binding on the neckline and armholes

Sadly the heatwave ended before I got round to finishing this (I had to take one evening off as I couldn’t bear the thought of trying the dress on in the inferno that was my flat). But it’s all ready to go the next time London goes into meltdown – it fits well and is floaty but sturdy; perfect for wearing to work in a heatwave. I’m also looking forward to making a more formal version with the gathered panel at the back. Watch this space…


The finished product


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