Brief Encounters dress – slightly hacked!


This is yet another awesome free pattern, this time from Deby at So So Easy, and it’s called the Brief Encounters dress and it’s supposed to look like this

brief encounters

It is a skater dress with a close fitting bodice and a full circle skirt. Adorable non? As soon as I saw it I knew I had to make it and what’s more I had the perfect fabric – a wide blue and white stripe. However, can you see how mine is different?

I bought this fabric in Textile Traders and found an extra piece in the remnant bin, so I had quite enough – or so I thought. I cut the bodice from the remnant and then put the skirt pattern on the longer length, but, gasp, I didn’t have enough! I fiddled around thinking about making the skirt a disappointing A-line, colour blocking it with some gores, or abandoning it completely (no, just kidding). I took it to my pattern making class thinking that I could rework the skirt somehow and Sarah suggested that I fold the fabric differently, shorten the skirt by 14cm and then add a band. I wish I’d thought of this.


This is how it came out. I am beyond thrilled.


After I had stitched the bodice to the skirt I remembered that we had decided that I would have the skirt seams as centre front and back seams instead of at the sides. I (briefly) considered pulling it apart, but decided that I could live with it.

My favourite thing about this dress apart from the stripes? Why the twirl of course!


Not a lot else to say about this pattern, except that it is wonderful. Next time I will shorten the bodice. I would have done it on this dress except that I wanted the blue stripe on my waist. I went into a deep funk about the fact that it was impossible to match the stripes on the sleeves, but my care factor now is around zero (actually, that’s not true at all, but I am pretending!)

I cover stitched all the edges, matching the threads to the stripes. I even changed the colour of the thread at the neckline as I didn’t want blue stitching on the white. Dodgy photo but you can see what I mean.DSC05847

Bottom line on this one? I love it, I can’t wait to make another one, and I know I will wear it constantly this summer. Even better is that Mark is totally raving about it.



37 thoughts on “Brief Encounters dress – slightly hacked!

  1. Wowwwww! Sue! I LOVE this dress! It manages to be chic, feminine and right on fashion, all at once. Looks stunning on you!

  2. PS. The band at the bottom really finishes the look and transports it to a whole other level (think Amal Clooney pre-wedding, striped Dolce & Gabbana in the Venice sunshine)…

  3. Looks beautiful on you, and the attention to detail (e.g. matching thread to

    colour of stripes) is very impressive.

  4. This looks gorgeous. I love the skater style, but have never tried it myself. How did you get the bottom band to follow the curve of the skirt and still hang perfectly? It would look good with a belt too I think.

    1. It was like magic. I just measured the diameter of the skirt, cut the band to the measurement (I cut the band straight, following the stripes), sewed it on, and it just fell perfectly.

  5. Your ‘Brief encounter’ is beautiful and I too love the stripes going differently around the bottom of the skirt. When I saw this free pattern from Debbie, I immediately downloaded it and printed just as quickly. Once I had printed it, I noticed lots of mistakes in the printing and the test sq was out. Later that day I received an email with an up-dated download which I wished I had printed off because I don’t think my pattern is quite right. I have sewn a dress and I am quite pleased with it but it isn’t looking as well fitted as yours is. I also had to lower the neck line. Maybe I should start over with the pattern!! Did you have this problem?

    1. I didn’t have any issues, Marj, so perhaps I was a bit slower in the download. I didn’t lower the neckline, I just did a strip of the knit on the inside (not terribly tidily!) and it seemed to work nicely. I do need to reduce the length of the bodice – all these tall pattern designers – tch!

  6. Fantastic dress, the bold stripe is such a good look. I especially love that you colour matched the thread around the neckline top stitching – that sort of attention to detail just does not exist in RTW

  7. This is a lovely fresh dress… and rest assured that vast majority of the world will not notice those sleeves & stripes… they will be far too busy checking out the twirling!!

  8. This really is a “Wow” dress, Sue. I can see why Mark is raving about it. The blue and white stripes are so fresh looking and the way you have added the striped band around the hemline is such a fabulous design feature. Very impressed with your attention to detail with your thread matching too. Beautiful!

  9. This pattern-making class you’re following seems amazing. What a great idea to suggest a band to solve the problem with the fabric. I also notice the perfectly fitted shoulders and bodice of this pattern. This really adds a youthful vibe to the whole thing. You look splendid!

    1. It is a wonderful class Hélène, but the problem is that Sarah is going to have to adopt me – I can’t seem to let go! I didn’t make any adjustments to the bodice, so that’s the good pattern. Just planning my next one…

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