True Bias Southport dress

First of all, anyone who knows me well knows I am an animal fanatic. I absolutely adore animals and for a large portion of my life, I’ve been completely obsessed with big cats. This fabric caught me off guard as I was casually strolling through my local fabric store and I quickly grabbed the bolt hoping that no one saw it and wanted it too. Don’t get me wrong, I love to share but I could tell there wasn’t much on the bolt. There was only 1.5 yards left so of course I took it all.

A week or so passed and as I was looking at Insta stories from all you inspiring makers, I stumbled across Sylvia from The Ravel Out doing a little fabric haul. As a fellow fabric addict, I tuned in immediately and surprise! She just got the very same fabric from Blackbird Fabrics! It is a Telio Fashion polyester crepe and just in case it is sold out on Blackbird Fabrics by the time you read this, here is a link to the same fabric on I messaged Sylvia with interest to do a collaboration and being the sweetheart she is, she agreed without hesitation. We decided to make 2 different summer dresses using the same fabric.

So remember how I only had 1.5 yards? I knew I would have had to make a mini dress and that was not my heart’s desire. I mustered up some faith and headed back to the fabric store hoping by some miracle that they would find an extra bolt in their store room. I don’t know what kind of magic I worked that day, but there it was in all it’s glory, a fresh new bolt of cheetahs staring at me. I picked up another 2.5 yards so now I had a total of 4 yards, enough to whip up a flowy maxi dress.

I had recently received the True Bias Southport Dress in a pattern haul from The Confident Stitch. I had a gift card from them and decided than instead of fabric, I would get my very first Indie paper patterns. I knew I needed to make a muslin of the bodice since my body has changed so much lately and I am just learning to make different alterations than I was used to previously. You guys….. I made 2 muslins from scrap fabrics and made the bodice from my actual fabric 3 times! Thank goodness I had 4 yards!

My body measurements put me at size 14 but after reading tons of reviews and looking at the finished garment measurements, I went down to 12. The bodice is drafted for a C cup and I wear a D cup but the muslin showed that there was ample room and I had no need to do an FBA. Here’s what went wrong with the million muslins. I should have made the first one from my actual fabric since it behaves very differently to the scrap fabric I used. My scrap fabric muslin had an extremely low cut top and large armholes. I messed with the shoulders and folded out some from both the back and front bodice pieces straight across from arm scye to arm scye. When I cut this version from my actual fabric, It appeared I had folded out way too much. The second muslin, I started from scratch, folded out less, and tried to use a fabric that was closer to my fabric type. When I made that version out of my actual fabric, all was going well until I added the bias binding to the neckline and armholes. I quickly realized that my bias binding was way too stiff for my crepe fabric and caused the armholes to be super tight and uncomfortable. For my final bodice, I folded out 1/2 inch across the back bodice, did a 1/2 inch forward shoulder adjustment and took up the shoulders 1/4 inch. This time, I used my bias binding maker from Amazon to make lightweight cotton bias binding from some navy scraps. And finally, my bodice fit perfectly! Phew! I also used the bias binding maker as an extra hand to fold my drawstring and it worked amazingly. What have I learnt? Next time make a muslin from the identical fabric type!

For the skirt portion, i shortened 2 inches (next time I would do 1 or 1.5, I like my maxis touching the floor). I graded from 12 at the waist to 14 at the hips and I am convinced that the finished hip measurements on the pattern envelope are way off! Next time I will grade down to a 10 at the waist and back to a 12 at the hip. There is a lot of excess fabric so I keep having to slide it around the drawstring as I wear it. What I love most about the skirt are the front slit and side seam pockets!

I swapped out the buttons for silver ring snaps and added little heart beads that say ‘love’ to my drawstring. I stole them from a bracelet making kit I had in my craft box. And although they sit sideways, I still think they are pretty cool and match the silver snaps perfectly! During my photo shoot, hubby had quite a laugh saying he’s never seen cheetahs on the beach. 🙂 Oh well! I love big cats and I am an island girl, it is what it is! Fashion has no rules, wear what you want, when you want, where you want! Especially if you made it yourself!







  1. Nice review! Love the dress and the print!!!

    • Keira Wood

      Thank you so much!

  2. Emily

    Such a fun print and the dress looks fabulous on you! A question: will this pattern work with ankara fabric?

    • Keira Wood

      Thank you! I would say this pattern requires some drape but at the same time it could look really cool in Ankara. All depends on the silhouette you are going for. I would be a bit stiffer in Ankara and have less flowiness but that could be a really striking look.

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