It’s not secret that with all the house moving, my sewing has taken a back seat in my life. But after settling into my parents (and bringing my sewing station across with me) I got that itch to make again! I wanted something quick and simple…cue the Saltwater Slip Dress from Friday Pattern Company. I have been lusting after one having seen the wonderful Man Yee (of GBSB fame) in hers. And as with all my sewing, it was deadline driven, involved a hefty dose of mid-make doubt and emerged as a go-to dress. Here’s my review of the oh-so-popular, Friday Pattern Company Saltwater Slip Dress…
A knee or tea-length slip dress with adjustable straps and optional waist ties
Difficulty: Confident beginner
Sizes: XS/0 – 7X/32 (32”/81cm -60”/152cm chest) and also includes two cup size options (B/C and C/D).
Type: PDF and printed versions
Why this pattern?
Before I dive into the pattern review, I thought I’d give a bit of background on why I chose this pattern for a slip dress. Slip dresses are everywhere and I love seeing them on others. But I wasn’t sure they were for me- I started sewing so I didn’t have to layer up my clothes to meet my full coverage needs (the days of top, dress and cardigans on top of jeans still haunts me to til now…), so why would I choose to make something I needed to layer? But with the rise of social media and hijab-wearing fashion bloggers, I started to see the appeal- versatile to dress up and down and fun. And then I saw Man Yee in hers and wham, that was it. I was sold. That, I thought, was an outfit I could wear and want to!
But there was another reason I went with this particular pattern. There are a lot of slip dress patterns out there but a lot of them are bias cut- this means the body of the fabric is cut on the bias (at 45 degrees) which gives the dress a lovely fluidity to it, draping around the body. I bought myself a bias skirt in the sales which I love but I do find it a bit clingy for me. It’s a personal preference of course, but for me the straight grain cut of the Saltwater Slip Dress was just what I wanted.
During our packing days Rainbow Kilburn Fabric had a drop of fabrics that caught my eye. So me, being me, I decided to “treat yo’self” (hope you got that reference) to some fabric and get it delivered straight to my parents, to arrive once we moved in- a sewing pick me up of sorts. I ordered this Zebra print modal mix (and also some heart print organza because R was watching over my shoulder like “and what are you making for me?!”) because I’ve been wanting to try a different animal print for a while and I liked the neutral colours of this. Plus I was invited with a wonderful (PR invite) dinner with Elizabeth Scarlett and thought it would go with the animal vibes!
Sizing and fit
I initially graded the pattern (using their suggestions on the Sew-along) from a medium at the bust to a large on the hips. I sewed it up but realised that actually it was going to be a bit too big so I took a larger seam allowance (they use a 1cm SA and I used a 1.5cm) to bring it in a bit more.
The other thing I should have realised before I basted them in was that the waist ties were too low for me (short people problems)- luckily it was an easy fix and I just raised them so they wrapped across the smallest part of my waist rather than over my tummy!
The other change I made was to cut off the length in the tea-length version (see above: short people problems). I think I lopped off around 3-4 inches (rough estimate because I did it by pinning it in place and looking in the mirror).
Construction and Instructions
Instructions are illustration based but there is also a handy sew-along on Youtube if you need a bit more visual help. The instructions are really clear, and if you’ve never sewed an adjustable strap set then don’t worry- this has you covered.
It’s a pretty simple construction but I’ll be honest, I pretty much didn’t follow it beyond the straps- more because I decided to go with a fully-french seamed version. Partly because I liked the sound of delicate seams but mostly because I couldn’t be bothered to set up my overlocker! I followed this tutorial online below and it worked a treat.
French Seam Vent Tutorial: https://www.worthydesignstudio.com/tips-and-tutorials/french-seam-vent
The only other thing to note is the construction of the waist ties and straps- there is a lot of pressing and folding prep making this dress- I swear I spent more time doing this than sewing it! The method is fine for the bias binding/straps but I think for the straight cut waist ties was probably more for those who hate turning out tubes of fabric. I think it would have been quicker for me to just use my Prym tube turner!
Nothing apart from the French seam finish and fit changes.
So things went pretty smoothly, so why the Mid-Make Doubt™️? Well, I’ve just accepted this is part of my sewing process! To be honest, I think a big part of it is that it’s outside my comfort zone, silhouette wise. And also I wasn’t sure if the styling felt like ‘me’? But actually once I dressed it up and wore it properly I really liked it. Plus I love that I can layer a jumper over it for a ‘skirt’ look and in the warmer days I’ll layer a white shirt over the top rather than a polo-neck top underneath. It does feel like a transitional piece that I will wear throughout the year.
And as predicted the straight grain cut was the right choice for me- plus the style gives me 90’s slip dress vibes… and of all the 90s fashion, I’m alright with revisiting this one!
What do you think?
Also, since the move to my parent’s I haven’t yet figured out a good photography spot so apologies if these don’t show the dress as well as usual!