A Butterfly Southport Dress

Sarah-Kate-Creations-Southport-Dress-1I am generally really resistant to anything resembling a peasant blouse or bloused pattern. Due to my hour glass figure I can often look dumpy when I loose the shape of my waist. I generally prefer a tailored fit. However, since I’ve begun sewing I have discovered that when I am in control of the fit many styles that I had deemed not for my body type, surprisingly, work. So how did I come to sew such a relaxed, bloused, maxi dress? Well, just because I don’t like a look on myself doesn’t mean I don’t like it on others. When the Southport dress was released I was excited by the look, but trepidatious about the look on my body. That is until I saw this beautiful rayon challis in the bottom of my stash.Sarah-Kate-Creations-True-Bias-Southport-Dress-3-

I have had this particularly piece of fabric for quite sometime. Initially I had bought if for a BHL Anna Dress, but after bringing if home realized that the gored skirt on the Anna dress would chop up the large butterfly print of the fabric. So the fabric sat and waited for me to find the right pattern, sat for well over a year in fact. Until True Bias released the Southport and I realized that it was the perfect pattern for a large print rayon challis. The ones I saw around the internet looked so effortlessly elegant and, most importantly, comfortable. So I decided to take my chances on a style that wouldn’t be my ready-to-wear go to. And I am so glad I did.Sarah-Kate-Creations-True-Bias-Southport-Dress-7

I customized my size by grading between three sizes, 14 at the bust, 10 at the waist, and a size 14 hip. I had read that True Bias drafts for a C cup so even though I fell between sizes I chose the smaller size in order to minimize the blouse effect in the bust. Although after looking at my pictures I may want to give it a teensy FBA so reduce the pull on the buttons. It fits very well in the shoulders. I went down to a 10 at the waist, which matched my measurements perfectly. I am very happy with my measurement decisions. I think that the dress has the perfect amount of blouse and definition, while maintaining an effortless look and being very comfortable.


Hey look there is a slit! Normally positioned at the front of the skirt.

This is not my first time working with rayon challis and, although I love it, I still find it difficult to work with. So this dress is not without its quirks. I made bias binding which only turned out okay, but I used it anyway because store bought bias tape is too heavy for this fabric. I may decide to redo one of the armhole finishings due to the bias tape not really folding under properly. The hem was also not very easy to level out. I accidentally cut the from to short and decided to give it a tapered hem lengthening in the back by about an inch. I don’t think that it is very noticeable.


On a brighter note the drawstring was much easier to sew than expected. It came together easily without me having to turn it, something I don’t particularly enjoy doing with such a long tube, especially with such a delicate fabric. I also saved myself some misery and simply sewed faux buttons, sewing through all layers for a permanent finish. I am still having problems making buttonholes on my machine and didn’t want any extra agony with the tricky fabric.

Overall I feel great in this dress and would not hesitate to recommend it to a friend. I will be making it again, I have plans for some purple cotton/silk blend fabric that I bought from MOOD! Maybe without buttons at all.


Full length shot of my dress in the wild. On a grassy lawn walking to the botanical gardens in Washington DC.

The Details:

Pattern – True Bias Southport Dress View B, a maxi dress with a knee high center front slit.

Fabric and Notions – 3 yards Anna Maria Horner Field Study Sinister Swarm rayon challis in the Blueberry color way, thread, handmade bias tape in self fabric.

Did you make and pattern alterations or design changes? I sewed a size 14 bust, 10 waist, and 14 hip.



This dress was part of my NYC/DC handmade travel wardrobe. I am standing with some dinosaurs fossils in the Natural History Museum at The Mall in Washington DC.


Really happy to be with Dorothy’s shoes at the American History Museum. This Star Spangled Banner was pretty cool too. 


8 Comments Add yours

  1. lindsymoran says:

    Very cool!
    I love you sew!

    1. Thanks! I love sewing too!

  2. Beautiful dress! I really like the colors in that print. I love when fabric in your stash works perfectly for a project! Great job!

    1. I love having a stash…as long as it doesn’t get too big.

  3. Another wonderful print, makes the southport look different than the rest I have seen on the web and it does look like a very comfy garment, it fits you well 🙂

    1. Thanks! It is sooooooo comfortable, almost like wearing nothing!

  4. Kristen Iuppenlatz says:

    You are the cutest.

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