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!
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
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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?