Summer of Basics

Summer of Basics FO #3: Willowfen

Here she is, my final make for the Summer of Basics! On the surface, this little tank dress is the simplest of the three pieces, but in reality ended up taking the longest and was the most complicated in terms of fitting and finishing – and there are still some small changes I’d like to make for next time!

I have always loved the dress versions of the Fen by Fancy Tiger Crafts that I see on Instagram (especially this one by Summer of Basics participant Kehley), so I thought it would be the perfect item for one of my basics. The only modification for my Fen that I intended to make was to add a button band in the front in order to allow for nursing. Once it was complete, though, the bodice just looked…wrong…on my frame. I was super bummed, especially because I adore this fabric (purchased at Craft South two years ago), and had been saving it for something special. I put the dress aside for a bit to focus on my shirt and sweater, hoping some sort of a-ha! moment would come to me. Fast forward about 2 months, and Jen posted this photo on Instagram and I knew I had a solution!

After deciding to make a franken-fen (soon dubbed “Willowfen”), I spent a few nights painstakingly taking apart the Fen bodice and skirt, saving the skirt and repurposing the front and back bodice pieces to use with the Grainline Willow top. I couldn’t save the front pieces – the Fen neckline and Willow just didn’t match up enough – but was able to re-cut the back piece and reuse the fabric. Thankfully, I had a little bit left, so I recut the front pieces with what remained. 

In order to keep the overall idea of the shape of the Fen bodice, I kept the back darts, and added front vertical darts to the Willow front. I also added a button band in the front as I did with the original Fen bodice. The front darts were a little slap-and-dash, so I want to maybe rework them or try to transfer over the Fen diagonal darts for my next one. (It is also worth noting I am not wearing the most….supportive..bra these days. While designed for easy access, they are, unfortunately, not at the top of their game in the lift department. Hopefully this is not the case next summer!) The back darts are also a little wide for the Willow top, so I will move them in slightly next time. 

Finding casual dresses that fit my body without riding up in the back is pretty difficult, and the Fen skirt paired with this tank top is perfect for my shape. It is comfortable easy to wear, and pretty flattering to my figure. As is sometimes the case with making things, the whole intent for this was to have a summer dress I could wear while nursing Lucy, but didn’t manage to get it all finished and sew the hem until late August. I do plan on getting a bunch of wear out of next summer, though, and hopefully make a few more for next year, and much more quickly the next time around!

Thanks again to Linette for the photos, even after I managed to somehow disturb an entire hive of bees right as she started shooting!

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