The Winter Wear Designs Riviera Romper pattern. I saw it on sale a few weeks ago, and was intrigued. The bodice was just so pretty! But, it was a romper, and I don't wear rompers. . . Could it be made into a dress?
Yes, yes it could!
At first the dress idea didn't even enter my mind. I passed on buying the Riviera pattern when it was on sale, because I just couldn't see myself wearing a romper. Nope, it wasn't going to happen.
Then I had the opportunity to participate in the Winter Wear Designs "Romp On" blog tour. A blog tour all about that one garment, the one I don't really intend to wear for practical purposes, the romper. I was going to pass on this tour, until Suzanne, the designer behind the Winter Wear patterns, mentioned that someone could hack the Riviera Romper into a dress. I jumped on that idea! Suzanne kindly sent me the pattern, and I began my pattern hacking.
I loved the bodice of the Riviera romper, with the low back, ties on the back neckline, and the color blocked strap option. So, I made no significant changes to the bodice, and just drafted a skirt to go with it.
I decided I wanted my dress to have a circle skirt, as I felt that would really compliment the blouson bodice. So, I drafted 1/4 of a circle skirt, then began the most challenging part of the whole project - fitting the pattern onto a limited amount of fabric.
In my stash I found 2 yards of a sunflower print cotton lawn. It had a beautiful drape, and looked so summery, I just couldn't not use it for my Riviera dress! But 2 yards of fabric isn't a lot for a dress, especially if you want to make a full circle skirt. So, once I had my skirt pattern made, a little improvising was required.
The first thing I did was cut out the bodice, using as little fabric as possible (For this reason my bodice has a center back seam, rather than being cut on the fold). Then, I took my newly drafted circle skirt pattern and proceeded to trace four 1/8th circle pieces onto some scrap material. I folded my sunflower fabric in half, and used those 1/8th pieces as my pattern. I arranged, and rearranged them on my fabric, trying to get the fullest skirt possible out of the limited material. I knew I wasn't going to quite manage a full circle skirt, but I hoped to get something fuller than a half circle. Eventually, I figured out a way to get a 6 panel, 3/4 circle skirt cut out of my fabric!
The panels weren't all the exact same size, the center front and back panels were wider than the side panels, but that was ok! I had the skirt I'd envisioned.
Once my skirt was cut out, I decided to add pockets to it, because what is a dress without pockets? A disappointment, that's what! For these, I used the pocket pattern included in the riviera romper.
Using the pocket facing pattern piece as a guide, I cut pocket openings on my side front skirt panels. Then I sewed up the pockets according to the pattern, using the facing piece and the pocket lining piece. Slight adjustments had to be made to these pieces so the upper edge matched the curved waistline of the skirt, but that was easily done.
For a little extra something, I added a dark green knit rib binding to my pocket openings. the result is a pair of highly functional, very pretty, pockets in my skirt.
With the skirt done, I turned my attention to the bodice of my dress. I made it up almost exactly as the pattern pictured it, but that doesn't mean I didn't have fun with it!
I found some dark green lace fabric in my stash and used it for the front shoulder straps. I love how that turned out!
I bound the neckline and made the back ties with some scraps of green rib knit, left over from a shirt I made a while back.
Unfortunately, after making the back ties, I did not have enough rib knit left to bind the armholes. So instead, I finished the armholes with single-fold bias tape, turned to the inside and stitched down. This resulted in a very clean looking finish that I actually prefer to a visible armhole binding.
The resulting dress is both pretty and comfortable, and I am thrilled to have had the chance to make it!
All the Romper patterns are on sale this week at Winter Wear Designs for 20% with the code ROMPON, so check those out if you're interested! All are cute, and would make fantastic dresses if rompers aren't your thing.
*I received the Riviera Romper pattern for free in exchange for this blog post, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Don't miss any of the spectacular rompers
on the Romp On Tour!!!