Saltspring Dress: No Zipper, No Blousing

During the pattern testing process for the Saltspring Dress, a couple of the testers noted that they could skip the zipper in their Saltspring dresses. And a couple of testers also wondered what the dress would look like without the bloused layer, as a simple elastic-waist sundress.

I had to see for myself whether it would work, so I made up a quick Saltspring Dress sample, without the bloused layer of the bodice, and without the centre back zipper. It works!

saltspring dress without zipper or blousing

What I did:

  • Cut TWO front bodice lining and TWO back bodice lining pieces
  • Skipped cutting the bodice front and bodice back pieces, replaced these with the lining piece instead
  • Cut the Back Bodice Lining on the fold, eliminating the seam allowance
  • Cut the Skirt Back on the fold, eliminating the seam allowance
  • Underlined with white cotton voile

The fabric is a cotton voile from Bolt Fabric Boutique. I bought it on my road trip last summer! It’s underlined with a plain white cotton voile from Télio.

saltspring sundress

Dress: Saltspring Dress

Belt: black leather, thrifted

Shoes: tan, yellow and sparkle lace-up pumps, Aldo, from 2009

Styling thoughts: next time, I’d skip the black belt. It’s too much of a contrast for this light fabric!

Making this dress brings me to the reason the zipper is there – it’s so much easier to get on and off with a zipper! You can certainly make the dress without any closure, and slip it over your head. I made this as an experiment but for future versions of the Saltspring Dress I think I’d go back to having the zipper.

If your fabric is a knit, then it makes sense to skip the zipper! The extra stretch in your fabric will make up for not having the zipper and make it easier to get on and off. (Of course, you can still sew a zipper in to the dress, for less strain on the garment when putting it on and taking it off.)

saltspring back view

Removing the blousing does work, as you can see. We’ve taken out the intentionally long layer on the top of the bodice, using the shorter, inner layer as the outside. (If you’re confused, it will make more sense when you have the actual pattern in front of you!)

It works, but it does feel a little pinched, as if it needs the extra length to blouse properly. Of course, that could also be due to the underlining adding more structure.

saltspring dress close-up of bodice

See what I mean? A little more length in the bodice would create a softer effect. And that’s why the pattern is designed with the longer layer on top, so that it looks bloused and relaxed, but with the shorter inner layer to keep it from shifting around.

saltspring dress

If this length is too short for your liking, it’s easy to lengthen it from the hemline down. Decide how much you want to add by comparing it to a skirt or dress that you like, and add that amount to the hemline, extending the skirt from the hem downwards.

saltspring dress

So there you go! You can easily omit either the centre back zipper, or the bloused top layer, if you desire. It’s certainly easier to get the dress on and off with the zipper, but that may not be a problem depending on your fabric choice. If you don’t like the bloused effect, and like how this dress looks instead, then skip the longer bodice layer and cut only the shorter bodice pieces.

What do you think: are you likely to make this dress as originally designed, or sew it without the zipper or blousing effect?

, , ,

30 Responses to Saltspring Dress: No Zipper, No Blousing

  1. Helen July 26, 2013 at 6:38 am #

    Will make the version with less blousing and no zip for my teenage daughter as she hates fiddling with zips and is so tiny that less fabric blousing will suit her better. Now to find fabric she likes :-)

  2. Lauren July 26, 2013 at 6:39 am #

    Ooh, I like this version a lot! This is exactly what I was thinking it would look like without the blousing – glad to know that it looks as good as I imagined :) I think an even shorter version would be a sweet little nightgown :)

  3. Turina July 26, 2013 at 6:47 am #

    No zip works for me, but I think I still like a bit of blousing. Love the options with this dress!

  4. mary July 26, 2013 at 6:49 am #

    I prefer the blousing and a longer length. The blousing adds a sort of grecian quality to the dress. The longer length-better proportions and a little more sophistication. This shorter un blousened bodice coupled with spaghetti straps reads young to me.

  5. Jenny July 26, 2013 at 6:50 am #

    I too like the blousing and no zip option. Ordered and waiting :)

  6. Tina C. July 26, 2013 at 7:02 am #

    I omit zippers when at all possible–I hate sewing them in! I too wondered what it would look like sans blousing and I like it. Lauren’s idea to shorten it to a nightie is intriguing…

  7. Sonia July 26, 2013 at 7:40 am #

    I love the stay put bloused version long or short, can’t wait to make. I think the inner bodice only version, would best suit my teenage daughter. I’m all for the zip, would only omit for jersey.

  8. Angela July 26, 2013 at 7:45 am #

    Tasia, I like this version but prefer the bodice looser!
    Though I sewed the dress without the zipper in jersey, it didn’t even cross my mind to omit the blousiness!!

    If anyone is thinking of sewing it without the zipper in jersey, it works exceptionally well, with lots of room to take it on and off, because of the elastic and the stretch of the fabric. Omitting the zipper also makes it very fast to sew.
    I can put on the chiffon version I made without opening the zipper (just tried it!) but prefer to use the zipper, also I like the design element of the back with the zipper.

  9. Kyri July 26, 2013 at 8:00 am #

    Hmmmm… would it be possible to go somewhere in between? I think the amount of blousing in the original would be too much on me, but I’d like a bit. Is it easy enough to alter the pattern to somewhere in between?

  10. Tilly July 26, 2013 at 8:28 am #

    I like the blousing but will definitely skip the zipper :) xx

  11. Nicole_boldgoods July 26, 2013 at 9:17 am #

    I’ll definitely keep the blousing, but may try to avoid having to insert a zipper. I guess I’ll see how easily my muslin slips over my head!

  12. Jacci July 26, 2013 at 10:12 am #

    I like the original version. Blousy hides my lil’ pooch :) And I don’t mind the zipper.

  13. Reyna Lay July 26, 2013 at 11:01 am #

    I like the blousing, but I think it would work also if instead of using the front bodice just using two of the lining for the front and back as you did but extending the front bodice an inch so that it doesn’t look so strained. It won’t add the blousing effect but just a comfortable extra amount. Also, I’d love this with an elastic waistband. Maybe add a few inches on the waist? Might take a few pattern alterations, but it would work, right?


  14. Katherine July 26, 2013 at 11:32 am #

    First off – love that fabric!!

    For my body shape, I think I would do away with the blousey layer. I love all versions of this dress, and I love the straps.

  15. Janice July 26, 2013 at 12:31 pm #

    Love this dress!! I would keep the blousing, eliminate the zipper, and make the shorter version longer – just below knee – for a Grecian effect – also perhaps contrasting straps and belt made of several lengths of spaghetti strapping tied together and hanging down the front. – more Grecian effect!!! Oh Gosh! There are so many possibilities here!

  16. Nothy July 26, 2013 at 12:37 pm #

    Beautiful Tasia! I can’t wait to get mine…

  17. Lori July 26, 2013 at 2:19 pm #

    Love this dress! I will probably try the pattern with the original version and keep these modifications in the back of my mind in case I make a second one. Great dress!

  18. Sarah July 26, 2013 at 3:26 pm #

    I think I’d sit on the fence and maybe do halfway blousing, and I think I’ll need to go with a zipper because I’m already planning this in a lovely delicate silk cotton blend, full length, for summer! Just gorgeous Tasia!

  19. arlene franks July 26, 2013 at 5:45 pm #

    Very nice! All versions are wonderful
    Congratulations on another successful pattern!

  20. poppykettle July 26, 2013 at 11:28 pm #

    Very pretty! And I absolutely adore your Aldo shoes :)

  21. Imogheena July 27, 2013 at 1:44 am #

    Do I have to decide? I’d go one of each!

  22. youseef July 27, 2013 at 5:57 am # beautiful dress . In you look so lovely..colour its so nice.. Wish you a nice summer..i.your collction

  23. Sarah July 27, 2013 at 7:45 am #

    The dress is very pretty either way, and I can’t wait to see everyone’s versions of this popping up, but I know that even the less blousy version would feel awkwardly loose to me personally (I just can’t handle non-snug through the thorax).

    I like how you are releasing patterns singularly with a grater frequency, as aposed to in little collections a few times a year. It was just too hard to wait that long! :P

  24. sheila July 27, 2013 at 2:16 pm #

    Hi starker here. Cute dress. BTW, You model with the cutest shoes! Are they all vintage??? Drooool! Ok, now I sound creepy. LOL

  25. Renay July 28, 2013 at 5:06 am #

    Loving this pattern! wondering if it will work on a large bust? Can’t wait to see some of these made up around the blogosphere :-)

  26. mary July 29, 2013 at 1:24 pm #

    Beautiful dress! I usually use for my organic fabrics, but I’ll check out your source as I love the detail in the fabric

  27. The Nerdy Seamstress July 30, 2013 at 9:37 pm #

    I like this version the best! May be I’ll add snaps on the side. I just bought my pattern today and I’m excited to participate in the are-a- long! :-)


  1. #5: Saltspring Dress | Bloggen. Leben. Nähen. - August 4, 2013

    […] der Jersey-Variante des Kleides muss man ein bisschen anders zuschneiden. Tasia erklärt hier wie man das Kleid ohen Reißverschluss und ohne Bluseneffekt herstellt. Der Hinweis darin: […]

  2. Saltspring dress | What Katie Sews - August 12, 2013

    […] don’t need it anyway. Or cut the whole zip out and seam the back? Next time I’d make a non-bloused no-zip version, which would make for a very quick little sundress […]

  3. Sewaholic Saltspring Dress | sewcharleston - August 18, 2013

    […] cinches the waist in nicely. Tasia provides a tutorial on her blog for how to leave the zipper out.  She mentions in the post that she felt like it was hard to get on without the zipper. So whether […]