Cappuccino Dress

chambray cappuccino dress side w pocket

You’ll have to forgive me for taking photos of a dress that I clearly have been wearing for a few hours–today was registration day for next school year, which involves some sitting and turn-taking and waiting (kinda like school), and it left me with wrinkles.  Plus, my dress got mussed (ba-dump-dump-ching).  Can you see that I’m still frowning?  Thank goodness I have a pretty dress to take my mind off administrative requirements.

cappuccino dress | whipstitch

This is the Cappuccino Dress by Liesl + Co, from Liesl Gibson who also designs Oliver + S.  It is absurdly comfortable and easy to wear, along with being quick to sew.  I used a dotted chambray from Robert Kaufman (purchased from Pink Chalk Fabrics) along with a solid chambray for the neckband and the sleeve contrast.

cappuccino dress in chambray

There’s a center panel with side front seams that mask some sweet pockets.  They’re just the right depth for a cell phone, and the way they’re hidden until you need them makes me love them all the more–I’ve even seen a few version sewn up with color-blocking, and then the pockets pop right out at you, but more as a part of the design than as pockets with a capital P, you know?  It’s design details like those that I find super appealing.

cappuccino dress pockets

The pocket lining is the same solid chambray that I used on the sleeve bands and neckband, mostly because the dotted chambray has a slightly textured surface, and I wanted my pockets to lie nice and flat against the interior of the dress.  The seams are all serged on the inside, for simplicity, including the pocket seams.

cappuccino dress back

The back is constructed with a center back seam, which allows that seamline to curve in just slightly and hug the waist when you’re wearing it.  I love the fit, which has some ease without losing its shape.  I tend to like my dresses to be more fitted–probably from trauma sustained during the early 90s when all of us were wearing XXXL everything and I was sure I was fat, even though I was ten pounds smaller then than I am now.  So I might have been able to go up a size in this pattern and still have had an excellent fit without too much extra fabric–the cut of the side front and back pieces really makes for  good room for error.  After my bad experience with the Creamsicle Dress turning out too big (and making me look both older and bigger than I am), I think I made the right call with the size on this one, and will cheerfully wear it until it falls off, “tense” bustline and all.

chambray dot cappuccino dress

I still have a little more tension at the bustline than I might like, even after the FBA, which is what makes me think I might have been able to go up a size.  It’s not pulling, necessarily, just a little more stress on those side front seams than I would ordinarily like.  Some other folks have wondered if the Portfolio Dress, which was the original version of this design before Liesl updated it to become the Cappuccino Dress, has similar lines with less pulling at the bust–I’m thinking I might pull my copy from my stash and sew up another version to compare?  Is that obsessive?  Don’t answer that.

chambray cappuccino dress neckline

The fabric was deliciously easy to work with, and really satisfying to sew.  I will mention that it sheds quite a lot when trimming the seams–the fluff from my serger was extra fluffy–but that’s a small price to pay for such a soft, drapey fabric.  It wrinkles with wear (clearly) but doesn’t look rumpled, and is just a really great casual spring and summer fabric.

dot chambray from robert kaufman

I’ve already worn and washed this puppy twice since making it last week, and am wearing it to go to the tenth anniversary of Mean Girls tonight.  I know, I know: today is Wednesday, and it isn’t pink.  Sigh.  I’ll go sit at that table over there.

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  • elizabeth lehman
    April 30, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    it’s fabulous!!! i have been waiting for versions of this to pop up!! i love the chambray and hope it’s holding up well for you. my sister did a portfolio dress and after one washing noticed some fraying. wonderfully done, it looks crazy comfy!!

    • Deborah
      April 30, 2014 at 3:24 pm

      Dude, it IS crazy comfy! Just shaped enough to be flattering, but without requiring me to suck in my tummy or feel self-conscious in any way. The perfect relaxed summer dress.

      And the chambray does get a wee wrinkly with wear, but is holding up great–this is for sure a wash-every-time-you-wear-it dress, but since it gets ridonkulously hot around here in the summer, that would have happened, anyway.

      So glad you like it! Hope to see you make one, too! 🙂

  • Cherie
    April 30, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    Ok. Now I want to make a dress for the summer. Your dress is so pretty and looks comfortable!

    • Deborah
      April 30, 2014 at 5:16 pm

      You totally should!! I love easy dresses in summer–way better than shorts for beating the heat, and I can always throw them on over my swimsuit.

      Thanks so much for your kind words!! I love it, too!

  • Deborah
    May 1, 2014 at 5:03 pm

    Now you have me reconsidering this pattern. I wasn’t so sure when I first saw it but now that I see you in it I love it. Love the fabric too. It would be perfect for another project I am working on. THANKS!

    • Deborah
      May 1, 2014 at 11:51 pm

      Oh, Other Deborah, the fabric is a DREAM. I mean, seriously, I should invest in entire bolts of it, because it would work for so many things. And unlike sewing garments with quilting cotton, this feels like Real Clothes right away, even before washing, and has great drape.

      You should give this one a shot! The assembly was easy coffee-table, movie-watching work, and the dress construction was very intuitive and easy to follow. Want to see you make one, too! 🙂

  • Karen
    May 1, 2014 at 11:40 pm

    Thanks for posting this dress, it looks great. I particularly like the bending forward shot, very helpful to know all will not be revealed in that position when you’ve got little kids. Is the FBA tricky with the different panels?

    • Deborah
      May 1, 2014 at 11:49 pm

      Ha! I didn’t even think of that when I took that photo–but you’re right, I DO think about it when I’m wearing anything I made, and try pretty hard to maintain some modesty and decorum despite chasing children all day long.

      The FBA was a breeze. Liesl’s instructions are very clear, and the two pattern pieces affected were really straight-forward to adjust. I did 3/4″ for the D-cup, an it was a snap!

  • Kim
    May 12, 2014 at 6:57 am

    That is so cute — pinned it immediately as “to-sew”!

    • Deborah
      May 12, 2014 at 11:10 am

      Haha! I’m wearing it RIGHT NOW! 🙂

  • Kim
    May 12, 2014 at 6:59 am

    PS How hard would it be to alter this into a sleeveless dress?

    • Deborah
      May 12, 2014 at 11:11 am

      It’s a kimono sleeve, so I don’t know that you could make it sleeveless without doing some pattern alteration, but you can totally leave off the sleeve and have more of a cap-sleeved effect. She has images here:
      Pretty close to sleeveless, yes?

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  • Emily
    May 22, 2014 at 4:43 pm

    Great review! Love the fabric! This pattern is on my wish list.

    • Deborah
      May 22, 2014 at 5:39 pm

      I adore this fabric, way beyond reason–am seriously considering buying an entire bolt, despite the fact that it would mean I was wearing a wardrobe where every. single. piece. matches everything else. Still deciding if I’m OK with that, but leaning toward YES. 🙂

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