Now and again a pattern is released, and you know immediately that you NEED to own it and get it into your wardrobe asap. This was the case for me when Friday Pattern Co released the Davenport Dress pattern. I loved the boho style of this dress and the little details involved, such as the gathered yoke at the back, the shoulder flutters, the elasticated neckline and let’s be honest – who doesn’t love a drawstring waist anything!
I’ve made three versions of the Davenport since buying the pattern last year and in this blog I’m going to give a short run through of how I found the pattern initially and how I’ve used the pattern to make two hacked versions since then.
The Standard Version
For my first version, I decided to make up the dress exactly as it was i.e. no changes, hacks or alterations. I usually like to do this when trying out a pattern for the first time, as long as the size I’m making up looks as though it should fit me reasonably well, as it gives me a good idea of fit and anything that I might like to change or adapt the next time I make it up.
Based on the measurements given in the pattern information, I decided to make up the smallest size. There is quite a good amount of ease in this pattern so it’s always a good idea to check the finished garment measurements as well as your actual body measurements so that you can be confident with the size the dress will be once you’re done (these can vary a lot so you may end up wanting to size up or down accordingly). Because there isn’t any fitting around the hips and waist in this one either I paid most attention to my bust measurement too as this was to be the most fitted part of the dress once sewn.
I am a bit obsessed with Art Gallery rayon fabrics, the prints are just beautiful aren’t they?? I’d had my eye on this beautiful viscose from the Velvet Collection designed by Amy Sinibaldi for a while and finally gave into buying it in a Minerva sale. Art Gallery fabrics can be more on the pricey side but they are so worth it in my opinion, the rayons are buttery soft! I thought the ditsy floral print would pair really well with the features of the Davenport, so I decided to go right in and use this rayon for my first version of the dress.
I won’t go into too much detail about the sewing process here as I do have a full sew-along video making up my first version over on my YouTube channel so if you’re interested in more details on the sewing process you can view that video here. Don’t forget to subscribe to my channel while you’re there hehe!
What I will say though is that I so enjoyed making up this pattern. There were a couple of techniques in there that were new to me such as the Burrito method for finishing the back yoke and all the details in the dress really hold your interest throughout. Friday Pattern Co do have a very helpful sew-along on their YouTube channel too which I made sure to watch before I got started and found very helpful.
I was so pleased with my finished first version. The dress fit me really nicely in the size I made, and I loved that the length finished just below my knee. Perfect for wearing in the summertime with sandals or trainers and equally as good paired with tights and boots in the colder weather.
The midi version
So, since I loved my first Davenport Dress so much, I decided to make myself a more wintery version for Christmas time. This time I made the dress up in a gorgeous Atelier Brunette Viscose Challis in a lovely navy shade, perfect for winter.
This time I wanted to make a midi length version and since there was a lot of fabric in this dress with the long sleeves and all, I decided to leave off the shoulder frill this time and just have the long elasticated sleeves. I really like this small change and feel it makes a big difference to the dress, it makes the whole thing slightly less ‘fussy’ if you’re concerned about all those frills and also stops the squaring of the shoulders that the frill can give.
To take the dress from knee length to midi, I simply lengthened the bottom frill to my perfect midi length (around mid-calf). I have a few other midi dresses in my wardrobe so I used those to work out what I needed the finished length of the dress to be and then lengthened the frill pattern pieces accordingly.
I absolutely love this midi version; I think the style works really well in the longer length. I wore this on Christmas Day and can confirm that it was super comfy to wear throughout the whole day and that drawstring waist is perfect for accommodating Christmas dinner 😉
The sleeveless version
For my most recent version I decided to try a sleeveless version. I’d seen a few sleeveless versions around online and I loved how they looked.
I’ve had this lovely floral viscose fabric from Stoff and Stil in my stash for quite a while now and thought it would be perfect for this project. The floral print in it is so pretty but possibly a bit too much for a sleeved dress (funny how that works isn’t it!).
There are a few different ways to finish a sleeveless dress, you can bias bind the armholes or you can make a facing to attach which folds into the armhole to encase all of the raw edges and create a neat finish. Since my fabric was relatively lightweight, I decided to bias bind this time and I made my own binding from the leftover fabric once my dress pieces were cut out.
It’s worth noting that leaving off the sleeves significantly reduces the amount of fabric you need for this dress. Those are some big sleeves with the elasticated cuff!!
For this version I wanted to include the shoulder flutter again since I think they make a really pretty little cap sleeve and provide a bit more shoulder coverage. Sometimes when altering a sleeved dress to a sleeveless it’s necessary to bring in the shoulder seam and armhole a little but on this occasion, I decided not to do that as the flutter would be covering my shoulder anyway.
I made this version up exactly as the pattern suggests keeping the length and everything the same and simply omitting the sleeves when directed to insert them and bias binding the armhole instead. This is a little fiddly since you are also encasing the flutter in the binding too but I took my time with this and pinned a lot!
I absolutely love my sleeveless version; the flutter cap sleeves are so pretty. I wore this on a warm holiday recently and it was so comfy and cool to wear in the heat.
I absolutely love how versatile the Davenport Dress pattern is. Next, I’d really like to try a top version but to add sleeves or not to add sleeves – that is the question!
Have you made the Davenport Dress yet? What did you think of it and have you tried any of these hacks? Let me know in the comments below…
Thanks for reading! Until next time…