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Libs Elliott


The Staple Dress - Do It.

"anna maria horner", "april rhodes", "clothing", "field study", "habitat", "jay mccarroll", "pattern", "the staple dress"Elizabeth Elliott
A few weeks ago I went to a sewing retreat in rural Michigan hosted by Brenda from Pink Castle Fabrics. Among all the wonderful women I got to know that weekend, I was fortunate enough to meet the lovely and extremely talented, April Rhodes.

April designed and drafted this incredibly simple and versatile pattern called 'The Staple Dress'. There were several versions floating around at the sewing retreat and pretty quickly it became clear that I had to make one too. So, when I arrived back home in Toronto, I purchased the downloadable version here and got to it.

I'm not a whiz at sewing clothing and I have very little patience for how fiddly it can be. Frankly, it usually makes me cry and give up. I was incredibly relieved to see how straightforward the pattern itself was to cut and piece and how clear the instructions were for each step.

My first one was made with Anna Maria Horner's 'Domestic Cat' in Aqua from her Field Study linen collection. I made a size Small, included pockets as per the pattern, adjusted the neckline to be a little more open and took up the hem by a few inches. It turned out like this:

The second one I made is X-Small, I took the neckline back in by 1/2" on each side and took the hem up so I could fit the pattern on 2 yards of fabric. Because, sadly, that's all I'd hoarded of Jay McCarroll's Birch print from his Habitat Collection for FreeSpirit Fabrics. Here's how the second one turned out:

I love them both, but I really do love the fit of the second one, as well as the print. Plus, after making the first dress, it took me half the time to do the second as I'd practically memorized all the steps. I've not done elastic shearing on either of these since I prefer to just wear a belt but I might try it on the next one I make.

(Note: I've totally ripped off Katy Jones' belt wearing stylez.)

I've made two Staple Dresses now and I will make plenty more to get me through this summer. The hardest part is picking which fabric to use next...and that's not really a bad thing, is it? If you want to see just how popular this pattern is and you use Instagram, check out #TheStapleDress. The many variations and sizes will motivate you to make (at least) one too.

April will soon have a printed version of the pattern available to purchase but, if you're eager like I was, you can buy the downloadable version right here.