The newest pattern from Itch to Stitch is the beautiful Recoleta dress for woven fabrics. As usual, as soon as I saw the line art, I was hooked and knew I would test the pattern and make it multiple times. This design is seriously beautiful and better yet, well fitting and a classic l. In this post, you will see my three versions.
Features of the Recoleta dress
The Recoleta dress is semifitted at the bust and relaxed at the waist and hips. The bodice is empire line and there are darts under the bust and at the waist. The skirt is slightly A-line, and the length is designed to be at the mid-knee. You can choose between short or 3/4 length sleeves.
There is an optional invisible zipper on the side seam, however, you will probably not need it to get the dress to fit well over the head. There is enough ease at the waist to go over the bust.
The most beautiful feature is the gorgeous neckline with shaped neckbands that includes a round and little V neckline. The neckbands are cut twice for a clean finish inside.
Best fabric choices
The style does not need fabrics that are flowy and drapy. The skirt style does not have the volume for it, and the neckline won’t hold up with un-structured fabrics. I would avoid: lightweight rayon, crepe, tencel….. Instead, we can pull out our structured wovens for the Recoleta dress.
I prefer medium-weight fabrics like Linen, linen blend, quilting cotton and light denim. If I used a lighter structured woven, I’d line the dress or wear a slip.
Linen 55% / Rayon 45% blend for two of them. It’s the perfect fabric. Soft and holds up the structure of the neckline beautifully.
I chose an unconventional fabric for this style too! A bubble crepe that is not too light. I knew I would make my neckbands with linen, and that would give the structure required.
The cup sizes are gold and worth so much for a great fit. Sizes 22-40 have cups B-DD. You can see the intended fit in the graphic above and the amount of positive ease.
The bust darts have a concave shape to accommodate the anatomical area that the dart provides shaping on an empire line bodice. This is under the bust, and the bust is usually round. The shape can be customised to the shape of your bust.
I chose size 14 for the bust and waist blending to 16 at the hips. I chose the C cup option.
Before sewing a muslin, I did some flat pattern measurements and decided to add 3/8″ on the bodice pieces so that the bodice would end up under my bust correctly. The neckband piece also needs to be adjusted acoordingly.
I am taller than the 5ft 6″ drafted height, and I added 2″ to achieve a legnth just above my knee.
The video on YouTube: how to sew the neckline an bust concave darts
In my video you will see a comprehensive overview of the pattern and sewing footage that includes how to sew the neckband (neckline) in a full step-by-step tutorial, along with a segment on the importance of concave bust darts.
Let’s see them!
Large scale print Linen/Rayon with short sleeves
I had been holding onto this large scale printed fabric for years and saw how it would work for the Recoleta dress. I wanted to cut the outer neckband pieces from the blue areas of the fabric so that they would be seen on the front of the dress. A type of “color-blocking”, but with the same fabric.
I love the result, and it’s so comfortable to wear without being boxy.
White & black tropical Linen/Rayon with sleeveless modification
This version is the same type of fabric but with a different print. In this case, the cutting phase was relaxed because the print is busy. I made it sleeveless because it’s always cooler for the climate I live in. I used the same armscye and made a small modification to the front armhole to reduce it’s length without having a dart. I made self bias tape to finish the inside.
Central color blocked panel & contrast neckbands. Sleeveless
For my third recoleta dress, I wanted to do a little hack that is super simple but creates a great impact. The main fabric is not structured enough to hold up the neckline, so I cut the neckbands with black linen. I did not want the neckbands to be black and that’s it. I think that would bring the eye directly to the bust… I wanted the black line to continue down the skirt.
I added a black panel to the center of the skirt that has the same width as the neckbands on the bodice and made sure to match them up precisely.
I am wearing a slip underneath this dress because the fabric is lighter. I LOVE this dress.
I have enjoyed sewing my dresses a great deal. It’s a great style and classic. It also does not use too much fabric. All wins! I will make more Recoleta dresses for sure and I really recommend this pattern 🙂
DISCLAIMER: The links to the Recoleta dress are affiliate links. I was a pattern tester and had access to the PDF pattern in exchange for my feedback on instructions and fit. I purchased all the fabrics. I produce sewing content independently from pattern brands and share my unique way of sewing with you. I don’t necessarily follow instructions rigidly. My opinions are honest, especially around fit and sewing techniques.
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