Happy summer y’all!
We are happily three-quarters of the way up the East Coast, and loving every minute of the cool, pleasant days we’ve been having. We are currently in New York, and this state in particular has blow me away with its natural beauty and amazing hiking trails. We sorely missed hiking in Florida this winter (that state is FLAT) so we are more than making up for it now.
I mean, check out these views (scroll down now if you’re afraid of heights! #sorrynotsorry)
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What does this have to do with sewing a new dress pattern? Well, I don’t wear many dresses, mainly because I find that they interfere with the activities I want to do, but the Courtside had me intrigued. Could there be an athletic dress that would stand up to hiking, paddling and kid-wrangling? I won’t pay $$$ at Lululemon to test it, but I sure will spend some time sewing to find out!
Spoiler alert: YES!
I’m really excited about this pattern, because now I can feel fun and flirty while still getting up to our usual shenanigans, like the 8 mile “easy hike” I cajoled my family into conquering yesterday (this was a record breaker for our 6 year old, btw! She said she was exhausted at the end, but then she jumped on the bounce pillow for another hour, so I guess she wasn’t that tired after all?)
Version 1: Cross Back in the Rib Knit from Hell (that feels like heaven now!)
I made two Courtsides during testing, and have another couple planned. My first Courtside was made with a rib knit from JoAnns- this fabric has a really nice silky feel and a pretty drape, and I love the way it turned out, but boy did my serger detest this fabric.
I had to go over nearly every seam with my sewing machine and coverstitch, because my serger was skipping so badly. I tried changing needles, tensions, and thread, to no avail, but as soon as I tried another fabric, it was back on its best behavior, so I really do have to point the finger at JoAnns here for putting some sort of funky blend in there.
Despite it taking three times as long as it should have due to this inconvenience, I’m really thrilled with the outcome. The fabric feels amazing on, and I was able to take this one out on a fancy date with the hubs right after I made it. So all is forgiven, and I might even make the other color I bought into a Courtside, LOL.
This is the cross back version with the longer length, and I was able to cut the entire thing (except for the shelf bra, which is black micropoly from Fabric Fairy) in a size C out of a single yard of fabric, though the pattern calls for more like 1.5 yards.
I rarely purchase more than a yard of athletic fabric, so realizing I could get this out of a single cut was a relief- I have so many more options now. I was left with a teeny, tiny pile of scraps at the end, which were too small to be worth saving- it was quite gratifying!
The construction on this looks tricky at first, but is really pretty straightforward as long as you mark all your notches well. I decided to use snips and then highlighted their location with color coded sewing clips (i.e. notch G was in pink clips, notch F was in yellow) so they could be seen more easily when it came time to attach the bodice to the skirt. This is one of those projects that my brain couldn’t quite conceptualize before it was completed, so I just had to trust the instructions and found that it all worked out just fine!
After my dress was all sewn up I noticed that JoAnns had marked some of the fabric in silver marker (probably the end of the bold?), so I covered up these spots with a little KATM label from Fabric Fairy. I love throwing these onto my projects- they add such a fun cheeky touch!
Version 2: U-Back in Jaguar Knit
For my second version, I decided to try the U-back option using the Jaguar Pebble Waves athletic knit from the Fabric Fairy.
I love the deep scoop to the back, and I was excited to try a patterned fabric.
I decided to topstitch all the seams again with my coverstitch because I like the way they look, but my serger was just fine with this fabric, and it was a decorative decision by this point, not a functional one. This fabric has a bit more “body” to it than the rib knit, and the skirt really twirls and stands out a bit more!
I did have some issues with the shoulder/bust seam wrinkling, but I think those may have been addressed in the final pattern for this view. Both my versions had the clear elastic in the neckline and armscye, and I strongly recommend this to keep things hugging your body in those areas. I have a video on serging in clear elastic HERE on my YouTube, if you need help with this step (I’m using a waistband in the video, but its the same technique).
Since I started with 1.5 yards this time, I was able to use my scraps to make my daughter a matching dress. I hacked a favorite pattern into layers to create a kind of flamenco vibe with matching berry bamboo. She loves it, and we enjoyed taking photos together at the creek behind our campground. I still can’t believe this girl hiked 8 miles yesterday!
The Courtside pattern also includes a pair of undershorts with a pocket. Since I didn’t have enough of either of my main fabrics to make something that matched my dresses, I dipped into my Sew Dynamic fabric stash to cut out a pair of shorts.
I made the shorter length and put the pocket on just one side. I used the Stride high rise waistband instead of the fold-over one included in the pattern, and no adjustments were needed to make it fit.
I did find that these shorts rode up on my inner thighs rather significantly, so I’ll have to either figure out how to adjust for that, or make the longer length next time.
I do like having a pair of shorties with a pocket under the dress, but the riding up was really annoying throughout the day. They weren’t overly tight on my legs, so I don’t think grading up a size would have helped much- I think the curve of the shorts needs to be longer at the inner thigh, and shorter at the side seam and back to be just right for me.
Bonus Makes: Ascend Tank, Kid shorts, and a Cami Tank
I decided to make it a full set with an Ascend tank in hot pink bamboo from the Fabric Fairy, with a cropped cami tank (shelf bra pieces only) underneath. I am really loving the Ascend tank lately, so these two will become favorites, I’m sure.
Since I was clearly in a scrap-busting mood, I used the final pieces of my yard of ABP to make my daughter a pair of matching Baja shorts (which also happen to have a cute little side pocket) so she can keep twinning with me!
I’m looking forward to all our adventures together this summer- 6 is such a fun age!
Overall, I’m loving all these makes, and am looking forward to re-visiting this pattern a few times. I think a bamboo version would be lovely!
Find the Courtside pattern on sale (aff link) here
If you want to see more pictures, you can check out our travel instagram HERE.
Disclaimer and shame-less self plug:
If you enjoyed this post, you can find all my sewing tutorials HERE on YouTube, or at the top of my blog under the “Sewing Tutorials” link (subscribe HERE). I received the fabric and patterns in this post for free (well, most of it) but the opinions are my own! This post contains affiliate links- I appreciate your support!