Steely Seamstress

Sewing for life


Grainline Augusta Dress for the Hot Weather

I have been procrastinating. The Tai Chi jacket is still on hold, because I can’t face the fiddly job of finishing the Chinese buttons in this heat. And then, there are all the makes I promised myself in my #makenine which still aren’t happening. So what have I been making? A dress. Don’t fall off your chair! Yep, dresses and me aren’t exactly best friends, but with the weather ramping up to 40 degrees, even I have to admit that I actually want to wear a dress!

For Christmas I received a 2 metre length of cotton lawn fabric, in a bold print. On Instagram there are a couple of versions of the Grainline Augusta in really bold floral prints and these were the inspiration for my version (see Below). Naturally, I would have been happy with an Augusta shirt, but with 2 metres to play with I decided to make the dress. My reasoning was that if I didn’t exactly like it as a dress, I could always convert it to a shirt.

Here, I will just mention my one and only bugbear with Grainline Studios patterns. Jen is very very generous with the fabric requirements for her patterns. Looking at my size the Augusta is said to require 2.8 metres. Well, I used only 2 metres and I wasn’t skimping at all. In fact, I actually put the interfacing on one of the wrong lapel pieces and simply cut it again. I still have a little left over, but not much. My guess of needing 2 metres was actually pretty close; 2.8 metres are definitely not needed.

Augusta Dress Back View

The fabric

The fabric is a cotton lawn from Like Sew Amazing. It is quite a crisp fabric and isn’t transparent, so a perfect choice for this pattern.

Grainline Studios Augusta Dress

The construction

Having made this pattern before, it wasn’t a difficult make. I speeded through it nicely. There is also a very comprehensive sew-along on YouTube which is very clear. The lapels look tricky, but being guided through the process they come together beautifully. The instructions for the mitred corner hems are impeccable too. I think I made a better job of these two steps on this version too. (Practice really does indeed make perfect).

Yes, I made a minor error when I ironed the interfacing to the wrong lapel piece, but that was a total user error. I was doing some general ironing, and thought “oh yes, there is an ironing stage I can do on my Augusta” and I couldn’t be bothered to look at the instructions. It happens.

With this version I made the short sleeves with the cuffs. The cuffs are odd. They look fine when completed, but I really thought they were going to look like a hot mess until I got close to finishing them. The way they are folded up hides some seriously weird, “inside on the outside” action. The cuffs work, but somehow I feel uncomfortable knowing that only the fold hides an overlocked edge. I will have to just suppress that thought until the memory of the construction fades. Surely cuffs like this can be made more elegantly? That said the fold does stay firmly in place, unlike other cuffs I’ve made in the past, so perhaps this can be forgiven?

Grainline Studios Augusta Dress

The Outcome

It’s been hot this week and I am so grateful to have this dress to wear. There is plenty of air around me and it looks summery too. But there are no pockets. I know that that will put a lot of people off this pattern. I did toy with the idea of adding in-seam pockets, but I wasn’t sure and left them out. I like the Augusta dress modelled with the Grainline Driftless cardigan, so this would get round the pocket problem, although not in hot weather.