Viscose Linen Blend Maven Patterns French Dart Shift Dress by Susan

When Harriet asked me if I’d contribute a blog post for Sew Me Sunshine I was excited and very happy to help. After I’d had a good look at all their lovely fabrics I settled on the pink colour-way of this viscose linen mix, it’s such a pretty shade with a magnolia flower print.

The print is quite wide spaced and one-way [actually there are one set of flowers which run in one direction and another set which go the opposite way] so it’s worth bearing this in mind with pattern placement, and all your pieces should be positioned one way or the other.

I decided to make a Maven patterns French Dart shift dress which I’ve made twice before because it’s a lovely simple shape with no fastenings which makes it quite quick to make, three sleeve options, side seam pockets and an elegant roll collar.  

Because of the positioning of the print I opted to have the smaller flowers running down the centre rather than the large blooms which would have resulted in a more wasteful lay plan. As I had enough fabric I opted for the long sleeved version which I’ve made both times previously, the gathers at the cuff are so pretty. I cut the sleeves so that similar flowers are on a level with the dress front. 

Because the fabric is quite loosely-woven and a linen mix it tends to fray a bit so be aware of this. Making a style with lots of gathers may not be wise because it will start to come apart eventually the more you pull the gathers up-the cuffs on this dress were fine as it’s fairly short. The fabric would look lovely in pleats or folds too.

The fabric sews up beautifully, it isn’t overly drapey but it’s nicely fluid and responds well to pressing although like most linen, and linen/mix, there is noticeable creasing-this is one of the features of the fabric and you have to accept that as part of it, it isn’t a fault. You could also use it for loose-fitting shirts or trousers, or the Zadie jumpsuit from Paper Theory would look gorgeous in it, nothing too tight-fitting though as it will crease badly or ‘seat’. You can always add a soft cotton lawn lining to a fabric like this which might help, this particular fabric isn’t sheer though so you can’t really see through it.

The structure of the fabric lends itself to the roll-neck collar and this one doesn’t have any interfacing in it, it stands well on its own. 

I’m really happy with the finished dress, it’s very feminine and in a very unpredictable British climate I think it will be ideal on cooler warm days (does that make sense!?) I’ll wear it with tights in the autumn.

Thank you for providing me with the fabric-it comes in a pale blue colour-way too which is equally attractive.

If you’re interested in a full review of the French dart shift dress you can find it on my blog, and you can follow me on instagram.

This fabric was provided free of charge in exchange for this post but fabric and pattern choices were all my own.


  • following my comment above, Maven patterns replied with all the neck/ sleeve/variations. See their website. A lovely pattern house. Their original make of Dart was using cotton sateen stretch. I think this would be a wonderful fabric and would just like to find a fabric with a small pattern. I made a toile in cotton which is wearable but would be much more comfortable in a fabric with a bit of stretch! The sleeves are the comfiest ever, even in non stretch cotton!!

  • Really interested in trying the French Dart. Bit fed up with all the boxy tops!
    Nice pattern for summer but think collar wont work under winter coats.
    Could, a round neck be subbed for the roll collar?
    Am a returning sewist, elderly, and lacking a bit of confidence at the moment.
    Any pointers welcome.
    Love your make!


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