Southport Dress | True Bias

The Southport Dress by True Bias was a pattern I snatched up right away. It’s just so perfect for summer throw it on and look like I tried wear. Everyone seems to be making this dress in rayon, but I’ve been dying for a linen dress, so I went that route. Plus, I think it’s more helpful to fit a pattern using fabric with less drape. My fabric is another one of those nice linen/rayon blends from Joanns (this one, while it’s still available).

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I modified the bodice slightly to skip the button front and to eliminate the dart. This pattern is drafted for C cup (in sewing terms) and my measurements put me in an A. My upper bust is 33″, and full is 34″. Normally, I would take my upper bust measurement and add 3″ to select which size to make (for a C cup draft), then remove 2″ in a SBA. However, I went with a size 6 bodice (for a 35″ bust) and took out 1/2″ (1″ total), then went ahead and closed out the dart completely. I was left with a teeny tiny 1/2″ dart, so really what was the point? As it happens, closing out the dart added exactly the length I needed back into the waist seam.

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After trying the dress on, the bodice was just huge on me. I went back in and pinched out 1/2″ on the side seam under the arm, tapering to nothing, thus removing an extra 2″. Despite my adjustments, the bodice is still very roomy. Next time I’ll make a size 4 bodice with the same SBA and dart removal. Additionally, I’ll do a petite adjustment to hike the neckline (that I already raised by 1″) and armholes up where I prefer them.

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My hip measurement put me in a size 12, while my waist measurement was at a 6, so, I cut the waistband casing as a size 6 but the skirt a size 12. I simply made a few small tucks in the skirt when attaching the casing—since the waist is gathered the tucks blend in. I added 1″ in length (usual addition for my height) and 2″ on the back skirt panel. I wanted to make a side split hem, and thought it would look better if the back were slightly longer. Also, it’s just more comfortable when I sit down to have a little extra length back there. The skirt sizing is fine, though I could probably go down a size for stiffer fabrics like linen or chambray but keep the fuller skirt for fabrics with more drape.

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Overall I’m happy with the dress. I wore it as soon as I stitched up the hem, and again a few days later. Any of the oversized bodice issues haven’t bothered me too much, but I will alter the pattern for next time. I keep wishing I had another like it, so I’m sure I’ll be making another soon!

—lisa g.

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28 thoughts on “Southport Dress | True Bias

  1. teri dodds says:

    This dress is so pretty! It looks like just the perfect thing for a hot summer day. I really like the black and cream fabric you used. I may have to take a trip to Joann to see if I can find anything similar.

    • lisa g says:

      Thank you! I hesitated on this fabric so many times since it’s a bit pricy. Finally gave in because I couldn’t stop thinking about it for this dress!

  2. Katie says:

    Looks great in this fabric! I love the pattern but it rarely gets warm enough here to wear this kind of dress so I’m trying to resist making more!

    • lisa g says:

      Linen is the best! And you’re right, it doesn’t scream “too big” when I’m wearing it, thankfully. I’m hoping a few trips through the wash and dryer will help shrink it down a touch also. At any rate, I’ll be wearing it every opportunity I get!

  3. gilliancrafts says:

    It looks lovely! Sounds like you had to do lots of little changes to make it work, but it was worth it! Now go make another one! 😉

  4. Heather says:

    Gorgeous fabric! I was wondering how it would look in linen. Thanks so much for sharing all your changes – I feel spoiled now because I didn’t make any!

    • lisa g says:

      This pattern works really well in linen, I just love it! And yeah, I must have a very narrow upper body as I’m always fighting with gaping necklines and such.

  5. aleah says:

    This pattern is on my summer list for sure, so I’m so glad you reviewed it! Thanks for details on the bodice fitting, I’ll probably eliminate the dart too then. Good point too on fitting something in a stable fabric first, that’s really smart. I love this fabric too, but our JoAnns here have barely any garment fabric, and certainly not any linen-rayon blends, bummer.

    • lisa g says:

      Eliminating the dart was super easy too, plus it makes this super fast dress even faster! Too bad your JoAnns doesn’t carry the linens, I’ve always been pleased with mine!

  6. dokucug says:

    Perfect! I’m inspired by the number of changes you made too! I think this dress looks fantastic in the less drapey fabric you used. It’s good to know it works with many different types of fabric.

  7. gingermakes says:

    This is so pretty! I really like the print- what a great score from JoAnn’s! I’ve been considering 100% linen for a Southport maxi but wasn’t sure if it would be drapy enough. I think I may give it a try after seeing your linen/rayon blend!

    • lisa g says:

      It really does work well in linen! My only suggestion would be to size down if you happen to be in between sizes. Rayon challis can take more gathering than the linen, as you know. Give it a try, I think you’ll love it!

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