The Sewaholic Saltspring dress

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Wait, another dress? Aren't I supposed to be working on a couture dress in preparation for making a wedding dress?

Sometimes, when working on a massive project, I feel the need to do something smaller, something that I can bring to completion within a couple of days. I've just finished hand-basting my interlining to my fashion fabric, hand-basting all the pieces together, and fine-tuning the fit. Committing to it with machine stitches is a scary proposition after all this hand work.

In any case, the Sewaholic Saltspring Dress is the perfect diversion. It's simple and fun, and I've already got the fabric for it: 4 yards of a lightweight cotton (voile-ish) in a crazy print that I bought for less than $20 total at a fabric store in La Paz.

Admittedly, the first thing that attracted me to this pattern is the name. How many people get to make sewing patterns named after the place they grew up? In her blog post where she introduces the pattern, the designer Tasia says that she made the name one word so that it would be consistent with her other patterns, but little does she know that the naming of "Saltspring" is a contentious issue. I tend to use the one-word version, but according to the Chamber of Commerce website, "many residents prefer it spelled Salt Spring (two words)". Good thing I'm not a resident anymore I suppose...

Back to the pattern! I'm doing View A (the short dress) in a size 6. Based on the advice from various blogs, I chose to forego the zipper and cut the back in a single piece. This meant that almost every piece was cut on the fold, and me being the stingy person that I am, I didn't want to just fold my yardage in half and cut pieces down the length. I ended up doing a sort of 2/3-1/3 fold that let me lay out my pieces super efficiently:

Double the fold, double the efficiency!
I get a weird sense of satisfaction when I can do something like this. Of course, it takes a bit more time to line up two folds, but in the end I cut out the whole pattern with less than 2 yards. I could make an entire second dress out of the leftovers if I wanted to, but I think one crazy eye-boggling sun dress is enough.

I didn't take many pictures of the construction. I was convinced I could do the whole thing in an evening, but I didn't count on how long it would take me to turn the straps. I used a safety pin, but next time I think I'll try a bobby pin. I also was getting really tired and started making mistakes, so after cutting, staystitching, sewing the straps, and sewing together the top of the bodice, I called it a night when my bobbin thread started snarling in the middle of understitching.

The final result doesn't look quite as elegant as it does on the envelope - I think the blousing is better suited to a drapier fabric. Nonetheless it is a comfortable summery dress and was a satisfying self-contained project, and I'll do it again some time, perhaps in a rayon jersey. The temperature almost hit double digits in the sun, so I dragged Ryan outside to take some pictures! The dog came of her own accord.

My Sewaholic Saltspring dress
After making a dress with pockets, I want pockets in all skirts. Maybe I'll put them in my wedding dress.

It has pockets!
And now, back to working on the Couture Dress, with painstaking hand basting, multiple layers of slippery fraying silk, and no sergers allowed.


  1. +1 for pockets in skirts. I really like this dress, I might make one for craft night.... If the bride has pockets I like the idea of bridesmaids getting pockets too!

    1. I think bridesmaids need pockets too :). I've got enough fabric leftover for you to make a matching dress, but that might be weird...