I can see me making this up in hundreds of different materials and wearing it all summer long. I have made it here in very light weight fabrics. The orange centre panel is a light silky viscose, the side panel is grey marl t-shirting and the sleeve is a light polycotton in a tiny geometric grey and cream pattern.
I have also made this dress with the sleeves in a chiffon which looks GREAT and turns it into something altogether more glam. I have also done the side panels in soft silk for a little luxury twist.
It would work well made from any combination of jersey, light polycotton or viscose. I wouldn’t use pure cotton as it just sits a little stiffly – your fabric needs to have a bit of man made fibre or silk in it to drape properly. If your fabric is too stiff the dress just stands out a bit squarely.
There’s not a lot of fitting going on here, although there are hidden darts built into the bust with the panels. It’s very straight up and down – just an elongated t-shirt basically. But this simplicity is the perfect vehicle for three fabrics in one dress (which otherwise is pretty hard to carry off.)
(Thankyou Clare and Harriet for modelling – Harriet has grown up quite a bit since her modelling debut in the over-the-table-playhouse) It’s worth noting that the dress looks a bit shorter on Clare than it does on me, more of a tunic in fact, but she is over 6ft tall so you can see why.
This version is made in a really fabulous geometric patterned polyester that I bought from the Knitting & Stitching Show in London. The sleeves are just some scraps of black chiffon I had and the side panels are a charcoal grey linen (left over from the St Tropez Scoop Neck). My favourite finishing touch is the hot pink satin bias binding that I used to trim the sleeves. It picks out the pink in the pattern perfectly and adds a luxurious finish.
AND, for those of you who like this dress, there is also a top in really a similar style. Have a look at the Panel Tee post for more ideas.
(The Panel Dress is no longer available as a free PDF download – you can now buy it as a multisize paper or downloadable pattern. Sorry for any disappointment, but there are lots of other free patterns on the patterns tab so please have a browse.)