February Free-For-All - Popover Sundress Inspiration

Monday, February 16, 2015

Welcome to visitors from the Frances Suzanne blog - what a great idea they had to showcase free patterns!!

Where do you get inspiration for your sewing?

I *used* to rely heavily on the now near-dead Flickr website.  When I started sewing for my youngest, I got tons of inspiration there - I "favorited" items to document where I'd like to go with my sewing.  When I started a new creation, I'd go there to see what other people had done with similar patterns.  I joined groups, made friends.

Then, Flickr pretty much died.

Now, I get lots of inspiration searching Instagram.  But, unless people hashtag correctly or in a predictable manner, it's tough to really keep track of what you like.   I've never been much of a Pinterest person.  So, when I signed on to showcase a free pattern, I - of course - chose an Oliver + S pattern, then went back to my old friend, the Flickr group.  A group of folks who do seem to still hang with Flickr are the O+S people - which is a good thing.

I chose the Oliver + S Popover Sundress.  Even though this is a free pattern, it includes all the high quality finishes you expect from an Oliver + S pattern, including a bonus doll pattern.  Little things like a beautifully finished yoke, and a reminder to iron down your stitches to set them really set Oliver + S patterns apart.  In my opinion!

I had made this previously for a charity event making dresses to send to Haiti, but never for my child.  When I'm searching Flickr for inspiration, I search first the pattern name within the group, then refine by "interesting".  Who knows exactly how Flickr determines interesting, but it definitely gives you good results.

When I searched the Flickr pool for the Popover Sundress, I found some interesting trends.  It seems like some of the most popular sundresses were:

  1.   made from large scale prints
  2.   made from plain fabric, with lace inserted in the yoke
  3.   made from a border print or applique

So, in the spirit of trying to be interesting, I made 3.

Here's my large scale print...

For this version, I used some very interesting Kokka double gauze from my shop.  I shortened it into a tunic.  Since this was a woven, I decided to try a size 5.  Probably a bad decision.  I used foldover elastic for the straps - a good decision.  However, this particular FOE was a bit too narrow.  Still, in spite of the pitiful look on my child (stomachache) she does really like this top.  A lot.

Here's a phone picture later in the day to prove it!

I was struggling for inspiration for a border/applique version.  Then, sadly, I got inspiration from my old dog Luther.  Luther went to doggie heaven this past weekend.  A very, very tough weekend in our house.  I decided to do a black lab version of the Popover Sundress - more for my benefit than anyone else's.  (If you'd like to see photos of Luther in his heyday, you can check my photo website here:  http://www.harrisdigitalpix.com/galleries/animals/7/ - Luther is the black lab mix.)

For this version, I used some more fabric from my shop (yes, more shameless promotion!!) - a ponte de roma double knit.  Seriously great fabric, seriously great to work with.  Since the Kokka top turned out big, I sized down to a size 4 with 6 length.  This one worked perfectly.  Until......the kid put it on and FREAKED OUT about the ties at the shoulders.  No, those are NOT going to work for her.  After the photos, I cut off the ends of the ties.  She seems to be ok with it.

Last, but certainly not least, I made a basic black dress from more ponte de roma double knit with some very nice organic lace from Organic Cotton Plus at the bodice.  Really, this dress can go anywhere. For this version, I used a wider foldover elastic - much better.

Julia wore this black dress out to dinner tonight - at the restaurant, she told me that she wants more dresses like this - oh yeah, success!

Thanks to Ashley and Emily for asking me to participate - such great inspiration from a bunch of very talented bloggers!


  1. All three are lovely. How clever to use fold over elastic and do away with the ties. It really changes the look too.
    The Luther tribute is adorable. My sympathy to you all.

  2. *applause* Hats off to you, Janice! You took one pattern and made 3 completely different looks from it and they all look great.:) I triple heart the last one. It's gorgeous! I'm definitely going to be copying you when the weather finally warms up here.

    I'm sorry for your heartache. Pets truly do become part of the family and it's hard when we lose one. (((hugs)))

  3. Awwww, Luther's dress makes me tear up. Hugs to you and your family as your mourn the loss of a family member....Yes, dogs are a part of the family!! The little black dress does seem like it could "go anywhere" - love that Julia put her stamp of approval on it. And, the large scale popover looks perfect for play! Yep....you hit a home run with this post!

  4. Those are really sweet! I love the tribute to Luther.
    I've never thought of making this dress in knit before! That's such a great idea.

  5. Sorry for your family loss, Janice. The Luther inspired dress is a great tribute.
    All three versions look so perfect on sweet Julia.
    I only made this free pattern once when it was first released and really love it. I might need to go and sew a couple for summer ...

  6. Each one of those three is more than interesting...they're delightful, spectacular, special and free! Great sewing!

  7. This is one of my go to dresses/ tops! I have a few in the line up for summer. I love all these versions!! My girl would love the pooch one.
    Sorry to hear about your dog :-(

  8. Beautiful dresses Janice and sorry to hear about your puppy - love the photos - what a great family pet he must have been.....

  9. The pattern of the dress is so admiring. I am very much interested to stitch one for my daughter. Thanks for sharing such an awesome idea. cotton fabric wholesale I have visited the other blogs of you where you have shared the other impressive patterns for kids dress,