Southport dress hack

One Last Project – Southport Hack

I thought I’d take a break from blogging for a while, but this weekend I made I dress I think deserves more than just an IG pic. We’ve been having some hot days lately and I was in need of something floaty and light. I’ve been wearing my thriftstore dress loads but since you can’t wear the same thing every day, I rummaged around in my ‘normal clothes’ to see if there was anything I could alter to fit. And behold, not only did I re-discover my Southport, it still fits! I just took out the waist strap and tied it higher. This gave me the idea to make another, altered version that would be even better and then the ideas started flowing. So here’s yet another True Bias Southport hack!

Southport dress hack
Southport dress hack

At first I thought I’d just make a simple summer dress and follow the pattern, but somehow I’m just not wired that way. It’s very rare for me to make a pattern as is. Once I see all the possibilities for making it just the way I want, I just can’t help myself. That’s the beauty of sewing for me – a pattern is just a starting point. So it turned out to be a bit more involved but still doable at a slow pace over the weekend. This hack started out with the desire for a spaghetti strap dress, since my other two dresses already have wide shoulders and a covered back. I figured the button front would be perfect for nursing. I also didn’t want to alter the shape too much so I can still wear it postpartum.

Southport dress hack

I altered the front by taking 4″ (10 cm) off the bodice so it would become an empire waist. I just chopped off the top part, about 6″ (15 cm) down from the shoulders. For the back I drew a horizontal line from the armhole, so you basically end up with a rectangle. I also took out 3/5″ in width. The last time I made the Southport I had already tried lengthening the skirt by just adding to the bottom. That didn’t work out, so this time I flared out the side seams to create an A-line, 7 7/8″ (22 cm) in total. I also I added the length I took off the bodice to the skirt at the top. Not too complicated in alteration of the pattern, the most work goes into making and positioning the straps, lining the bodice and giving it all a nice finish.

Southport dress hack

The fabric is a lovely soft rayon, bought 1,5 years ago at Atelier Brunette. I’ve been reluctant to use it for fear of ruining it, but I’m really glad I did so now. A beautiful fabric makes the whole sewing process just so much more enjoyable. And then you get to enjoy looking at it when you wear it – so much better than it just being stuffed in a box! I should keep that in mind for those other precious fabrics I’m hoarding… It’s fairly lightweight so I lined the bodice with a white cotton voile. I wasn’t looking forward to making and applying all the bias tape that goes into the original Southport dress anyway, so win-win. I chose to topstitch instead of under stitch though, to be sure there the lining wouldn’t show. I thought it would also be better to have one continuous topstitching line along the top instead of just at the part where the straps are attached.

Southport dress hack
Southport dress hack

Maybe I’m going into much detail now, I never know what you read and what you skip because it’s too much. It’s just that sometimes you want to honour how much thought and decisions go into all the details. It’s a part I love so much, this exercise of the brain when you have ideas and you need to figure out how to neatly sew every little detail and in what order. And then still you find things that you haven’t thought of, like changing bobbin thread for the topstitching. I’m a bit on the fence about the snaps, they’re maybe a bit heavy looking. The fabric looks a bit distorted around them, and there’s also a bit of pulling from the elastic in the back. I’m most pleased with the straps – I love that the pattern in the fabric is reflected in the triangle of the straps. I just played around with their position until I liked it. The outer ones are getting a bit squished though, so it would be better to draft that armhole curve wider.

Southport dress hack

Overall I’m really pleased with the result, it’s the perfect fabric for this design, it fits well (although I forgot about my sway back) and I achieved all the goals I set out. It should still fit after the belly is gone because I can just move the drawstring down to my waist. It’s easy to take on and off because I didn’t make the back fitted and used elastic instead. And the snaps should make it suitable for nursing. Plus it was really fun to design and sew! It makes me want to dive into a new project right away, but that really doesn’t make much sense now. For the most part I’ve been directing my creative energy in other projects like embroidering and making a cover for the cradle, and even an origami mobile, haha. Plus there’s that big quilt blanket that is ready to be assembled.

In any case, it might be a while before you hear from me again. I hope you’re having a great summer, see you on the other side!

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  1. I love what you did with the straps! It’s indeed one of the most fun parts of sewing, figuring out how to do things make little (or big) changes to patterns. Your dress turned out great and the fabric is indeed perfect. Good luck with the laatste loodjes ;)

    1. Thanks! Yes I’ve seen you getting into pattern hacking and drafting too, it’s the best isn’t it!

  2. I love that you went into all the details, I read every word. Beautiful hack and it looks fantastic on you! Wishing you well on the upcoming birth :-)

  3. What a sweet hack! Love to see cute maternity clothes that can still be worn after baby comes!

  4. I love this so much! Those straps are great. It’s total sundress weather here, too, I can’t think of anything else. :)

    1. Thanks Taran! It’s all I wear really, so easy. Also makes me question all the other outfit possibilities I have in my wardrobe, not sure I need all that!

  5. This is a fab dress, I love what you have done with the straps, the triangle effect is great and it’s practical too

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