Forsythe Dress


This dress is one of my favorite things I made this Summer! I’d seen a lot of great things made from this shibori style rayon poplin a while back and had regretted not buying it when it was stocked at Blackbird Fabrics. Amber found it on Amazon on sale for under $5 a yard in July and when she told me I immediately snapped up 3 yards of it.  Then two more of my sewing friends told Amber and I that they had the same fabric in their stash.

The four of us, Amber, Shar, Heather, and I, decided we would try to sew it up before the end of August. I went back and forth a few times trying to decide what I wanted to make. I remembered these amazing Winslow Culottes from Helen of Helen’s Closet and thought about doing some flowy pants. In the end, I really wanted to make a dress and I settled on the Forsythe Dress from French Navy Patterns.

There are four different prints spanning the width of this fabric. The center of the fabric looks like plusses, outside of that are dashes, then circles and squares on the borders. I wanted a pattern with a straight hem to show off the border print, which the Forsythe Dress has. I also loved that the dress has princess seams so I could showcase different prints on the different bodice panels.

I had fun doing some serious fussy cutting of the fabric. In the end, I used up almost all three yards of my fabric getting each piece placed on the different prints. I used the plusses for the center front and back, the dashes for the side panels and pockets, and then cut the skirt pieces so that the squares run across the hem.

This was my first experience with French Navy Patterns. (There is one other pattern offered by this designer, the free Orla dress.) I was a little surprised to see that the instructions use photographs instead of illustrations. My personal preference is illustrations– I think it’s a lot easier to see what is being done in an illustration rather than a photograph. I really didn’t need to use the instructions for much more than seam allowances since this dress is simple to construct.

I made a size 10 graded to a 14, lengthened the skirt 2″, and I cut the back skirt piece with about an extra inch in the center back to make the skirt a little more full. I did a forward shoulder adjustment of 5/8″. I brought the whole shoulder seam forward instead of angling it more forward as I would normally do. It was much easier that way since there were 2 pattern pieces that would be impacted by the forward shoulder adjustment. My only other change was to deepen the pockets by an inch. I read on someone’s blog or Instagram post that the pockets were shallow and I was glad I’d made them deeper.

I love the style of this dress. It’s so perfectly flowy in this fabric. The rayon poplin is a little bit heavier than a rayon challis and it’s great to sew with and to wear. The slight drop waist is different from most of the dresses in my closet. I am a sucker for anything with a button back and I love the princess seams on the bodice. Once I’d made the dress it became one of my favorite things to wear.  We just got done with a week of record-breaking heat and I made sure I wore this dress again before it will have to be layered with a cardigan and boots. I wish I would have made it earlier in the summer because I know I would have worn it over and over.

My friend Heather ended up having too many other sewing commitments to use her fabric but Shar and Amber both made really amazing dresses from their fabric. You can check them out here and here. Have you made anything with this popular fabric? If so, tag it with #sewshibori on Instagram so we can see!





9 thoughts on “Forsythe Dress

  1. Teri, this is so lovely! I love your choice of pattern. It really does create a nice way for the fabric to drape. Great match of pattern and fabric. I wish I had a dress like this to wear this summer! It has been so hot here, and though I have not worn dresses much the last few years, I rediscovered lately that I need to make more. They are so much cooler than shorts and pants. So, I will for sure have more of them next year. This is really a great make!


    1. Thanks, Becky! I really like wearing easy, float dresses like this in the Summer. I love the ease of the kimono sleeve, both for sewing and for wearing. The Fen dress from Fancy Tiger Crafts is one of my other favorites. I have a Fen dress made from double gauze and I wear it so often. I think I need to make a Forsythe dress from double gauze, too. I bet I would want to live in it!


  2. It’s very nice. I think it would look awesome with boots and a denim jacket. The fabric looks amazing. I have never heard of rayon poplin but now I’ll be keeping and eye out for it.


    1. Thanks, Masha! I think you’re right about the boots and denim jacket combo! I will give it a try soon since our weather is starting to get cool. I think the Cotton + Steel rayons are rayon poplin. Have you used them? They are fabulous!


    1. Thanks, Emily! I checked out your Forsythe dresses when I was deciding whether to buy the pattern. I will probably deepen the pockets a little more next time. They are fine for putting my hands in but when I put anything in them it feels like it could fall right out. It will be an easy change for next time!


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