Sun-kissed Sundress



Samantha Mclean

(click images to to enlarge)

Other Credits

Photographer: Emily Bragg

Outline the story …

Growing up in Southern Ontario meant hot summers, meals on the deck, and golden sunsets over the backyard. When I first laid eyes on the fabric for this dress, vivid memories of my childhood evenings came rushing back. I remembered coming home for dinner from the farmland and vegetable gardens that served as my playgrounds. I used to spend hours being fascinated by the bees pollinating nasturtiums, and the brave field mice teetering up wobbly soybean stalks. I could almost taste the garden-fresh, juicy tomato wedges, crisp peas, and sweet watermelon slushies we devoured while the rabbits munched sweet clovers in the yard. As sunflower heads gently closed for the night, we would listen to goldfinches, sparrows, and purple martins giggle as they stole seeds for dinner. When my fingertips caressed the soft fabric that would become this dress, I felt the warm breeze that used to whistle through the maple trees and the laundry on the line. I could suddenly smell the sunbaked thyme, the fresh-cut grass, and the wild violets. Most special of all, I could see a clear image of my mom cloaked in the sun’s golden glow as she shelled peas with my grandmother in the garden. Her hair blew softly in the breeze as she laughed and enjoyed the outdoor evening in a sundress just like this. I created this garment as a tangible reminder of the natural world we can find in our own backyard, and the happiness, peace, and joy it can contain.

Outline the construction…

Dress: Printed rayon cotton Blend,
Lining: broadcloth 100% cotton.
Lightweight interfacing: sleeves, front facing and waist panels.
Buttons: Elan 158974A
Patterns: Dress: McCall’s 7974.
Sleeve: KWIK SEW K4112.
I have made pajamas and quilts before, but this was the first dress I have ever taken on. It took me a year to make.
I modified the mock-up (which transformed into the lining) as follows.
- Adjusted the bodice height at the shoulders until the front waist was at my waistline.
- I pinned out 1.5 inches at the underarm side seam and tapered into the waist.
- I made a sway back adjustment.
- I mocked up the three sleeves that came with the dress, with an adjustment to bring the shoulder up to my shoulder point however; I did not like the silhouette produced. For the final sleeve I found a cap sleeve pattern for more shoulder structure, then accidentally attached the cap sleeve to the arm without the shoulder adjustment; I loved the flair it gave which echoed the birds wings in the fabric, and complimented my shape.
I proceeded challenge myself with the fashion fabric and finished garment by:
- Binding or encasing every seam. I used bias binding on the sleeve, waist, and pockets. I used a rolled seam, finished by hand, for the hem and to encase the side seams around the pocket opening.
- I made sure the pattern matched across the front and mad sure the pattern across the skirt was level.




  1. Avatar Nikita Nikita Litersky on April 29, 2023 at 12:22 am

    I absolutely love this dress! You ever get tired of it, let me know, I would buy it from you in an instant and re-fit it to my own body. <3

  2. Avatar Dawn-Marie deLara on May 7, 2023 at 4:36 pm

    Ah…I loved your inspiration story as much as all the fine finishing details in the dress! Beautiful.

  3. Avatar Anna-Catherine Sendgikoski on May 7, 2023 at 6:59 pm

    Such a cute dress! Very nice!!

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