I’ve always been quite the fan of dresses, the simplicity of not having to find coordinating garments can be quite an appealing factor, especially if you are restricted by RTW clothes. I also find that some fabrics I love so much I want to use as much of the fabric as possible to make a statement. But, that ease of wear can also mean our wardrobes lack in versatility and become quickly restrictive.
I’ve certainly come into situations where I had bought fabric with the intention of making a dress, but then found it pairs so well with multiple garments and fabrics that sewing a dress suddenly feels like somehow a waste. That’s also not to mention the tricky fit issues you can face with all-in-one garments, jumpsuits in particular. Another real downside I’ve found of jumpsuits in particular is that they aren’t the easiest garment to wear….going to the toilet if you have a layer over the top is just a pain, and if you have mobility issues then some of the all-in-one styles can be tricky to get on and off.
So that leads me on to the Secret Two-piece, the best of both worlds with the versatility and fitting ease of separate garments, paired with the optional simple styling of an all-in-one.
I first gave Faux Jumpsuits a go a couple of years ago now, it was before I had really made any fit adjustments, and back when I had done far less sewing. The idea of making a jumpsuit felt so very daunting. I knew that there was every chance I would encounter some fit issues, that along with the fact I had a toddler and newborn meant I wanted something that would be easy, practical, and also accommodate my postpartum body changes, whilst still feeling glamorous, so I decided to give a wrap top and culotte combination a go.
First up I used the Winslow culottes by Helens closet combined with the Sew Over It Ella Blouse in a beautiful Atelier Brunette viscose - can I just say that their fabrics are a dream to work with! I think the billowy culottes with the wrap top make for a really nice evening/occasion faux jumpsuit. The Winslow culottes are a very voluminous style which work well with the drape of a viscose fabric.
My second faux jumpsuit was made using a brilliant free wrap top pattern from Peppermint magazine. I find their patterns are very well drafted. I paired this top with the Ninni Culottes from Named clothing, these culottes have less volume so work well with a drapey fabric but can also be made in something with more structure like the Linen that I have used.
If you wanted to go for something more fitted then I think the Pietra Pants by Closet Core paired with the Ingrid top from Homer and Howells would create a smart stylish look. Pairing the Peppermint wrap top with the Ninni Culottes would create a style similar to the well love Zadie jumpsuit from Paper Theory patterns, and if you wanted to create something similar to a boiler suit then how about the Closet Core Kalle with their Jenny overalls in the trouser view. Swap out trousers for shorts and you'll create a cute playsuit, I really love the scalloped edge details of the Deer & Doe Chataigne shorts.
It has only been quite recent that I discovered the idea to make a Faux dress, I'm not sure why I didn't think of it sooner because now I am obsessed with them! I came about the idea as I had a floral crepe for sewing a dress but when I was prewashing a pile of fabrics I realised it paired perfectly with another two fabrics that I had bought to make a top and pair of trousers, it just felt like a waste not being able to wear all the fabrics together.
The dress I was planning on making was the Davenport by Friday Pattern company. To create a similar style Faux dress to the Davenport I hacked the dress into a top. This was a simple hack that you could apply to any other dress pattern. I simply traced the top of the dress to the underarm, I then used another top pattern that I know I like to get the shaping from the underarm to the hem, repeat this for both the front and back bodice pieces. I paired the top hack with the Sabina Skirt which is an excellent free pattern from The Little Pomegranate - it is a free download when you sign up to her blog. It is a relatively simple skirt, and it is perfect for beginner sewists.
My latest Faux dress has been made for this blog in the beautiful animal print viscose poplin. I love this shade of green as it feels like the perfect tone for bringing us into the spring and hopefully warmer months. I don't find all viscose a joy to work with, but this one definitely has been, it has a beautiful drape but doesn't have that awkward slipperiness that makes it a nightmare to work with.
For this outfit I wanted to create a shirt style dress, I went with the cropped Kalle by Closet Core. I love a good shirt and this pattern doesn’t disappoint, I like that off the shoulder look with the feature of the deep curved hem. For the skirt I was choosing between two patterns. Firstly the Estuary from Sew Liberated as I liked the idea of a full length button placket, it reminded me of the Named Reeta shirt dress. The Second option is the one I went with, the trusty Sabina Skirt from Little Pomegranate. I saw Rumana make a version in animal print and I just LOVE it, hence why in the end I went with this skirt pattern as I am also using an animal print design. I am so happy with this pairing of patterns, I think they work really well together to create a faux dress and I’m definitely going to be making more of this pair.
I can think of so many other top patterns that would be perfect to create Faux dresses. The Bakerloo Blouse from Nina Lee is a firm favourite dress for me, I think it would work great with the Deer & Doe Chardon Skirt for an evening out. You could also make your own simple skirt by using the width of the two skirt pattern pieces to create waistbands, then attach the waistbands to the skirt pieces and add elastic to the waistbands.
The Closet Core Foire paired with a wrap style top would make a great faux wrap dress. I also think the True Bias Mave Skirt paired with a cami like the Ogden would make a lovely summer Faux dress.
The only downside to faux dresses and jumpsuits is that you are likely to need more fabric than you would if you were making an all-in-one garment, although I have found that an extra half a meter has been enough to account for the difference in fabric usage, and the extra versatility has been well worth it!
I would love to hear your thoughts and what pattern pairings you would go for. I’ve also put together a little reel over on Instagram - @WhatVickiMade - to show how many outfit options I have come up with so far for my latest faux dress.