Monday, June 29, 2015

Cali Faye Collection Basic Tank Dress

This might be my dream dress. Well not my dream dress so much as a good first step toward my dream dress. The sort of dress I always wear, and would happily buy 10 of if I could find just the right one. Bare but not too bare, simply cut, perfectly shaped, appropriate for the playground but not too mom-ish. The Cali Faye Collection Basics Dress is so very close to that dress.

PATTERN: This is the Basics Dress from Cali Faye Collection. I tested Sarah's Basics Tank and Gathered skirt pattern a few months ago, and loved both. This dress is what actually drew me to the collection. It's so simple, but (as I said about the tank) the cut of the tank straps, narrower at the shoulder, is very flattering. The pattern is well written and leaves nothing to the imagination (or a google search). The dress is fully lined, and the instructions clearly show an ingenious way to make a sleek, totally machine finish.

FABRIC: The earth and sky color scheme draws from early spring photos from the farm (on instagram). The Slub Linen in Potting Tobacco from Joann Fabrics. Vintage cotton from my mother's stash. I love the color combo, and the added detail of the printed lining. I use this linen a lot, and I really like it, but if I were to make this dress again, I wouldn't line it. The cotton is a little stiff and interferes with the natural drape of the linen making the waist a little bulky for my taste.  If you're using a rayon challis or georgette the lining is probably necessary.
SIZE/FIT: I cut a small at the bust and graded to a medium at the waist. I considered grading up to a large at the hip (as per my measurements), but there is not simple/clean way to grade through the waist to the hip. After calculating the amount of ease included (actual measurement of the front and back skirt pieces - seam allowance - my hip measurement = ease) I concluded there was plenty of ease so I didn't. Next time I would cut a straight small. There is plenty of ease. I think it would still go over my head easily, and it would be less bulky at the waist.

ALTERATIONS: I raised the neckline 3/8", raised the back neck to match the back neck of the Basic Tank. Raised the armhole 1/2". The main alteration was to put the channel for the drawstring on the inside. Before attaching the skirt to the bodice, I centered two buttonholes 3/8" to either side of the center front, each button hole was 5/8" long (on my machine I used a 1/2" button in the buttonhole foot to get that sizing). The bottom of the buttonhole was 5/8" above the bottom edge of the bodice. Then I sewed a line of stitching 1 1/2" above the bottom edge of the bodice. Then I attached the skirt and skirt lining to the bodice as directed, but with a 1/2" seam allowance (creating the bottom edge of my drawstring channel).

This wearable muslin, is a pretty good start at making a a lovely design work for me. I am drawn to simple lines and fabrics, making the fit that much more important. This dress is great as written, but for my next version I'll shorten the bodice a bit, and make a few changes to the hemline. My next version will fit me like a glove, and isn't that one of the main reasons to sew your own clothing?

Pertinent Info:
Dress Pattern: Basics Dress from Cali Faye Collection
Dress Fabric: Slub Linen in Tobacco Potting from Joann Fabric


  1. You're right, it does have lovely straps - and I like the scoop back. You gotta be comfy but if you shortened it a little it might balance the excess fabric around the waist a little more? Love the curved split hem too!

    1. Good ideas! After revisiting these photos, I'm thinking I'll alter the curve of the hem a bit AND shorten it a bit.

  2. It's wonderful. I love that linen, and your egg photo inspiration is perfect for the dress. Such as fun way to plan a wardrobe.

    1. Thanks Shelley! The egg inspiration was unintentional, but it's always a good sign when what you're seeing and what you're making work together.