A sewing blog about building a functional, cohesive handmade wardrobe, one garment at a time.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Jungle Green Portfolio

 Linen dress made from the Lisette Portfolio/Simplicity 2245 sewing pattern.

I know I said that my first Portfolio dress would be my most loved make of 2018, but it's already been replaced.  By my second Portfolio dress.
I got it in my head to make a short-sleeved version in green linen, and was planning to buy some of this vibrant emerald-colored yardage from FabricMart when it next went on sale.  But then I remembered that I had a cut of 50" wide linen/viscose/elastane crepe woven fabric purchased last July.   It's not emerald green but it has a fantastic drape and I love the color, plus stash-busting.  None of these photos capture the color accurately - it's a couple shades deeper and is unmistakably green.  Incidentally, I believe the fabric was used for this skirt, currently going for $450 at Neiman Marcus.  I still have a bit over a yard left of the cut and will need to think of a good use for it, as it is really lovely.

Side view of  a short-sleeved linen dress made from the Lisette Portfolio/Simplicity 2245 sewing pattern.

This dress is much the same as my last one, with a few different fitting adjustments due to the stretch fabric and short sleeves:

  •  I sewed the side seams at the prescribed 5/8" instead of taking a smaller seam as I did last time.
  • I straightened out the side seams somewhat by taking a wedge off, starting at the hemline and tapering to nothing at the widest part of my hips.  
  • I sewed the top of the neckband at a 1" seam allowance this time to lower it 3/8".  I like the depth of the neckline now, but I do find it just a touch wide, and would like to widen the shoulders a smidge to bring the neckline in towards center front.
  • I partially undid my original 1/2" forward shoulder adjustment by moving the shoulder seam back to its original position at the neckline, but keeping the adjustment at the sleeve hem.  Looking at these photos, though, I don't think I need the adjustment at all, which is weird, as I ALWAYS need a forward shoulder adjustment.
  • I found the short sleeves to be too floppy, so I took in the shoulder 5/8" at the hem, tapering to nothing at the neckline. This reversed the full bicep adjustment I had done on my first Portfolio; I guess I only need the extra room if I'm making the long-sleeved version.
  • I had a lot of excess fabric above the bust, a couple inches in from the armpit, so I ended up taking two fish-eye darts in that area above the bust.  

Back view of a linen short-sleeved dress made from the Simplicity 2245/Lisette Portfolio sewing pattern.

I don't like the way the cuffs look on the short-sleeved view, so I left them off.  I tried to finish the sleeve hems with store-bought bias tape, but they jutted out strangely at the top.  I ended up folding the hems under 1/4" and then another 1/2" and stitching.  That worked pretty well, though there is still a bit of flippiness at the top of the hem that I'd like to remove before I make the dress again.

Short-sleeved linen dress made from the Lisette Portfolio/Simplicity 2245 sewing pattern.

I've realized lately that while everyone seems to love pockets, I'm not a huge pocket fan.  I mean, they're handy to have, but in lightweight dresses and skirt, I find that when I actually put something in my pockets, it weighs down the garment.  In this dress, maybe because the neckline is still a touch big on me, I find that the dress shifts across my shoulders in the direction of the pocket containing my keys or phone or whatever.  This annoys me enough that I prefer to only keep tissues in my pocket.  That said, I definitely love the look of these pockets and will keep sewing them in future versions.

I wore this all day during a mid-April visit to Colonial Williamsburg in 80-degree (and humid) weather.  It was the perfect choice for the weather and the venue. All of these photos were taken during our trip, hence the wrinkles.

I now find myself wanting to make all the dresses, particularly if they don't have a waist seam.  I used to wear dresses all the time pre-kids, but while I was in the nursing trenches they weren't a practical choice for me.  I stopped buying them, and when I began sewing, I didn't often make them.  I've been wearing skirts and tops in the summer nearly exclusively for the last few years.  But when the weather turned humid in Williamsburg, I was very glad not to have a waist seam across my middle.  This dress kept me cool throughout,  I felt very put-together, yet casual and comfortable.

I also liked that this dress was easy to layer under a cardigan, which is how I wore it to dinner that evening.  I don't have any cardigans that fit well over the sleeves of my other Portfolio dress.

As always, thanks for reading, and see you next time!


  1. Super cute! I find as I get older that I don't like anything around my middle on a regular basis, even in winter. Something about hormone changes as I approach 40. (I have heard something similar from other women in my stage of life). I also find that I don't have the waist definition I had pre-kids (even though I still have a pretty large waist-hip ratio) and the silhouettes that used to flatter me don't as much these days. I'm finding a straighter silhouette (like your Portfolio dress and my M7353 or Simplicity 1080) are much better for me these days. Yay dresses!!

  2. Such a cure dress! I'm bummed it's out of print. And while I hear you on the pockets, I still wish more of my stuff came with them.

  3. The dress looks great. I love this colour. And yes, no waist seam is so good in hot weather! Have you guys moved yet?

  4. This dress looks great, Masha! I love pockets but not really for putting things in— just more for when I have no idea what to do with my hands/arms. I also find myself loving dresses with no waist seam or very loose, pull on fitting dresses that do have waist seams. Have you made the Fen dress? It’s one of my favorite loose fit dresses for Summer.


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