Finished Objects

My Siena Dress Love Letter

I specifically bought Sew Over It’s Summer Dreaming eBook for the Siena Dress. I had previously made Style Arc’s Ariana Dress and had some fit issues, but I just adored the style of the dress. I’ve had great luck with the fit of Sew Over It patterns (I’ve made 3 Eve Dresses at this point and am planning more) and since I liked the other patterns in Summer Dreaming, I picked it up.

I have sewn two Siena dresses and two Siena skirts (you can see all of them on my Instagram). The skirts are both linen, and quickly became my most worn items this summer. They pretty much go with everything! Today, let’s take a look at my latest Siena Dress.

Hi, welcome to my balcony.

It’s going to become obvious as this blog grows, but I’m a purple person. Yes, one of those people. The ones that buy everything in purple. I’m not ashamed, it’s a dope colour. When I saw this gorgeous handwoven cotton from Blackbird Fabrics, I fell in love and knew it had to be a Siena Dress. And now it is!

The Fit Details

My current measurements: B – 38″, W – 28.5″, H – 42″. I’m just under 5’8″.

The bodice of this Siena is made with two different sizes. The front and side front panels are a size 12, and the side back and shirring panel are a size 10. I also lengthened the bodice by 7/8″.

I have two legs, I swear. One is just hidden.

Changes Made

The Siena is designed to have a lined bodice and unlined skirt. Because the cotton I was using was so sheer and lightweight, I chose to line the skirt as well. You’ll notice that the bodice lining and the skirt lining looks different; That’s because they are! I knew I wanted to line the skirt with this beautiful rayon voile from Fabricland, but I needed something more structured for the bodice. I ended up lining the bodice with a cotton lawn from my stash.

A satisfyingly clean finish on the inside.

Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures of the skirt lining process, but here’s the steps I followed for a clean finish:

  1. For the lining pattern: I lopped off the width of the facing – seam allowance at the centre front of the skirt pattern. The back panel is unchanged.
  2. I sewed the skirt fronts and backs and lining fronts and back together.
  3. I then hemmed the lining by 1.25″.
  4. I sewed the lining to the front facing, right sides together, then pressed towards the facing and understitched.
  5. I Pressed the facing towards the inside, then basted along the top edge, joining the skirt and lining.
  6. When joining the lining to the outer bodice pieces, I left 5/8″ free at the bottom of the centre fronts and on either side of the shirring panel.
  7. I then pressed the lower edge of the bodice lining up by 1/2″.
  8. I sewed the skirt to the bodice, ensuring that the centre fronts were lined up and I didn’t catch the bodice lining.
  9. I then handsewed the bodice lining down.

Bit of an Oopsie

Okay, so sometimes I make really silly sewing mistakes that are totally unfixable. I’m sure I’m not alone in accidentally snipping right through a seam every once and awhile. With this Siena Dress, my oopsie was sewing the top buttonhole too low and then opening my buttonholes without thinking. When I sewed on my first button, I realized it looked off. The rest of the dress was already completely finished.

After a minor panic, a hot cup of tea and a quick cat cuddle, I decided my best option would be to fold down the top edge of the bodice, ease it into the existing neckline, and hope that my tiny little stitches would never be seen. It worked!

Never be seen except here. You get to see this. You’re very special.

Little Details Make Me Happy

The first fun detail you may notice about this dress are the buttons. They’re purple, of course. Purple is love, purple is life as the old saying goes (or was that Shrek? I can’t remember). I picked up these vintage buttons from a local-ish seller on Etsy without a project in mind and I think they’re perfect for this dress.

The combination of the bright, Grimace purple of the buttons and the lilac of the fabric is *chef’s kiss*.

You might have noticed the straps, you eagle-eye, you. I did the stripes on the straps horizontally instead of vertically! And speaking of playing with the direction of the stripes: the pockets were pieced together from two pieces cut on the bias.

Little chevron moment.

More Siena’s to Come?

I sure hope so! I really, truly love this pattern. The skirt is the perfect length, the shirring makes it ultra comfortable when sitting and moving, and I love how it looks with a jean jacket and sneakers when I’m running errands.

I think next summer I’d like to sew a floral version, but do it as a matching set so that I can wear the top with my linen skirts. I’m sure I’ll have a million ideas by next year.

Don’t forget to wear sunscreen.

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