A Staple Dress in Radiant Orchid

Warp & Weft Sewing Society
A Warp & Weft Sewing Society project

You may have seen that the Pantone colour of the year, for 2014, is Radiant Orchid. I was so excited when I saw the colour, because for the last couple of years, the colour of the year has been just a little outside of my colour palette, and finally, this year, it isn’t.

But what to sew?

I have been hoarding this beautiful piece of Bromley voile from Warp & Weft, in just the right shade of purple. It’s really pretty and very soft.

Bromley voile at Warp & Weft Exquisite Textiles.
Bromley voile in brown from the Breeze collection by the Victoria & Albert Museum for Westminster Fibers.

I had just the pattern in mind. This summer, Jeni Baker of In Color Order was one of the stops on The Staple Dress Blog Hop. It featured The Staple Dress by April Rhodes and I was lucky enough to win their giveaway.

The Staple Dress sewing pattern by April Rhodes.
The Staple Dress sewing pattern by April Rhodes.

The Staple Dress, is a super simple, whip-up-in-a-day, pattern. There are only a few pattern pieces, no darts, little fitting, no closures and no fussy details. I made the version with the straight hem and with pockets. (Who wouldn’t add the pockets?)

The Staple Dress in Bromley voile from Warp & Weft, sewn by Shannon of The Finished Garment.
The Staple Dress in Bromley voile from Warp & Weft, sewn by Shannon of The Finished Garment.

The toughest part was adding the elastic thread shirring. I’ve used this technique before and it was a breeze.

Elastic thread shirring
Adding shirring at the waist was a breeze.
Top stitching
Check out those stitches.

I received the paper pattern, but you can also get the pattern as a PDF. I prefer paper, since I don’t have to tape things together and the instructions come in a handy booklet.

I found the instructions very easy to follow and extremely thorough. This is definitely a good project for a beginner. It’s hard to go wrong.

Neck facing
The dress has simple facings.

I made the large, though the finished measurements said it might be snug. I wanted to be sure that the dress wasn’t too blousy, especially with a fabric that doesn’t have too much drape, and the unstructured design of the Staple Dress.  In the end there was plenty of room.

The only problem I had was that the waist is really high (by design). The high (but not empire) waist ended up being very unflattering on a curvy, long-waisted girl like me. So I had to undo the shirring and move it all down, and I moved the pockets down as well by three inches.

A wide hem
I used a wide hem, in case I have second thoughts later on.

The only other thing I changed was to make the dress a bit shorter. I’m 5’5″, and I ended up shortening the dress by 2 inches. I also made the dress hem a wide one, instead of the recommended narrow one, in case I change my mind about that shorter skirt later on.

Would I make this again? Yes. It’s super easy to sew. Though I think next time I would either use a draper fabric, maybe even a knit (you can see some examples here and here) in a smaller size, or add darts, for a bit more shaping. But overall, I’m pretty happy with the results. It’s a nice, simple, comfortable dress, that I can just throw on, and that fits well with my lifestyle. And of course, it’s the perfect colour for 2014.


Pattern Review: The Staple Dress by April Rhodes (printed version) with the straight hem style, courtesy Jeni Baker from In Color Order and April Rhodes.

Fabric: Bromley voile in brown from the Breeze collection by the Victoria & Albert Museum for Westminster Fibers, courtesy Warp & Weft Exquisite Textiles.

Size: L.

Sewing Level: Beginner.

Modifications: I lowered the pockets by 3 inches, lowered the waist shirring, shortened the dress by 2 inches, and used a wide hem.

Results: A quick and easy project that would be great for a beginner.

The Staple Dress is Bromley voile from Warp & Weft, sewn by Shannon of The Finished Garment.
The Staple Dress in Bromley voile from Warp & Weft, sewn by Shannon of The Finished Garment.

C’est orchidée la couleur Pantone de 2014, alors voici une petite robe très simple pour commencer la nouvelle année. Le patron est ‘The Staple Dress’, un projet à fabriquer dans un après-midi, et apte pour même les débutants.

Author: Shannon Smith

Data scientist, journalist, sewist, hiker, modern quilter, slam poet, and mum of four. My best friends are trees and my favourite food is granola.

14 thoughts on “A Staple Dress in Radiant Orchid”

  1. I actually made this dress as well, for Sarah and never mentioned it anywhere I don’t think. We used the dropped hem and I didn’t do any pre-fit. It was a bit too long but she’ll still probably wear it. I only used one line of shirring for the waist (her preference) and marked her waist during one fitting. The dress was finished and hemmed before I did the waist elastic.

    Super easy pattern would probably make again.


    1. Yes, I will probably make it again in a knit, the more I think about it. I like the single line of shirring, but I wasn’t sure it would hold up… In any case, in a knit, I might not even wear a belt, so I will probably stick with more.

      I’d love to see pics!


      1. I can’t even remember taking pics! Dunno what I was thinking. The fabric was a rayon type remnant I got for a WHOLE DOLLAR at the fabric chain, grey with abstract purple/black/white blooms on it.

        I think this pattern in a knit would be great but I’m a huge fan of knits.


  2. I’ve made this pattern with a knit and a crocheted table cloth that acted like a knit. Both turned out lovely… I marked the shirring lines after I had the dress made up. It helps make the fit better.
    All the details are on my blog under staple dress.


  3. I really like this. I’ve seen that fabric in teal before and added it to my wishlist as it’s very pretty. It’s cool to hear that the pattern is beginner friendly too, I’ll have to check it out 🙂


    1. Thank you! Yes, the teal also looks pretty, but I love purple and finding fabric in that shade is so hard, so when I saw this I had to get it. But yes, the pattern is very beginner-friendly.


  4. That’s lovely, Shannon! I agree that all dresses should have pockets. In fact, dresses without pockets should be illegal! 😉
    Roll on summer so you can wear this new beauty!


    1. Thank you! And yes, who even designs dresses without pockets?

      Carla suggested I wear the dress with tights, so I’m going to try that, just not today when it’s -38 with the wind chill factor 😉


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