The Wardrobe Architect’s Utility Dress

Sam Doughtys Fabric, Pattern Review 0 Comments

I made a utility dress last summer and wore it constantly. It’s a great, easy dress that works for so many occasions.

I decided to make another one this year, without the button front hack that I did previously (as I was breastfeeding last year and no longer am). 

I made a couple of changes to the construction:

1 – instead of doing an exposed bias tape edge to the neckline I opted for a concealed one. I sewed the bias binding to the neckline edge right sides together, then trimmed the seam allowance down and pressed the binding over to the wrong side. I then topstitched along the edge of the binding to secure it. This works well if you haven’t made bias tape from your fabric and you don’t want a contrasting neckline. It’s also more forgiving if your stitching isn’t 100% precise.

2 – On the waistband, I didn’t sew the inner waistband to the skirt at the same time as the outer waistband. It seems a shame to do this as the inner waistband is finished so neatly at the bodice edge. I sewed the outer waistband to the skirt and then pressed the seam allowance upwards towards the waistband. I then pressed the inner waistband down over the top and stitched in the ditch from the outside. This is very time consuming thanks to the elastic waistband at the back. I had to pin on the wrong side to ensure the inner waistband was secured all the way around and then take those pins out one by one and move them over to the right side in the seam line. I think it was worthwhile as I’ve got a nice clean finish on the inside, but the way the instructions tell you to do it is much quicker.

I find the style of this dress really easy and comfy to wear. The elastic at the back and drawcord at the front waistband make the dress a more flattering shape and mean the waist can be as cinched or relaxed as you like.

There are no zips or openings, the dress just pulls on and off as there is plenty of ease in the bodice. The sleeves are loose, grown on sleeves that are finished with little cuffs, which I think is a lovely detail and helps them to sit flat at the sleeve hem rather than curl up at the edge.

The fabric I used was a beautiful yellow enzyme washed linen from Doughty’s.

I chose the mustard colourway as I thought it would be a cheerful antidote to this time of year, but there are several other colours. The quality is superb and it is cheaper than a lot of other enzyme washed linens. Linen is a great fabric to work with as it presses really well (just make sure you use a hot iron and lots of steam!) and is really stable. Just make sure you know which side is the right side of the fabric as both sides are identical and you could easily end up making two left bodice fronts if you don’t pay attention!

This dress is my favourite thing to wear at the moment, it’s so effortless but makes me feel put together!

Jenny x

Jenny’s bright choice of yellow enzyme washed linen is just the job for January – bright and sunny – as is the easy pull over Utility dress, which is an easy make and a super comfy wear. Check out the fabric requirements and sizing on the back of the envelope below. We’ve also picked our four favourite enzyme linens from the selection of 10 colours available from Doughty’s.

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