How I CreatedThe Tartt Racerback {The Flora Modiste Sewing Projects}

Sewing Project The Tartt Racerback Featured Image

And alas, another sewing project is upon us! This month's sewing project, the Tartt Racerback, is a bit of a Spring beauty. I feel like Spring is always the perfect time to debut a new dress.. Especially when that dress is short, cute, and has giant floral pockets!

I'm typically not one for short dresses.. I usually go for the midi or maxi length. But these last few months I have felt like I just needed to dive into the world of shorter hemlines.

Remember a few months back with the Dany Sheath? Well, my friends. The Tartt is even a bit shorter than the Dany--We are showing off some major leg here.

I think I may just be mentally preparing myself for Summer here in San Diego. We hit almost 90 degrees a few weeks back, which makes me a bit terrified that it's going to be a baking hot summer.

Which means I'm going to need lots of short, comfy dresses.

Right? Unlike the Dany, the Tartt Racerback is made entirely from woven fabrics.

The Tartt also has a lining, which just so happens to be the tutorial that we will be covering with this month's sewing project: How to sew a dress lining.

(Ready to learn how to sew a dress lining? Grab your step-by-step instructional tutorial today! I promise it isn't as difficult as it sounds.) How To Sew A Dress Lining Sewing TutorialSewing Project The Tartt Racerback Full Front View

The Tartt Racerback gets its name from.. Being a racerback. The term "racerback" refers to the shape of the armhole and neckline of a garment. Racerback armholes are cut in such a way that the back armholes are much deeper and rounder than typical armholes.

A regular armhole is essentially just an oval shape that circles around the shoulder/armpit area. As you can see on the Tartt, the racerback armhole is not only much deeper than a regular armhole, but the back armhole is also a deeper shape than that of the front armhole.

This is also pretty typical of a racerback silhouette, and (IMHO) is a very flattering cut. I LOVE THEM. Racerback cuts are typically more prevalent in tops--I guarantee that if you look in your closet, you will have at least 5 racerback tanks.

BUT. I also think that the racerback cut is a flattering (and definitely underutilized) shape when it comes to the cut of a dress.

I chose to have a pretty thin shoulder strap on the Tartt.

I think it's only maybe 1/2"? This is definitely designer's choice.. Straps can be thick or thin, it really just depends what you are looking for, and what cut looks best on you.

I feel like a thin shoulder strap on a racerback cut is even more flattering than that of a thicker strap. A thin strap shows off those strong, beautiful shoulders (not to mention that beautiful posture!) that a thicker strap could hide them behind.

(Ready to learn how to sew a dress lining? Grab your step-by-step instructional tutorial today! I promise it isn't as difficult as it sounds.) How To Sew A Dress Lining Sewing TutorialSewing Project The Tartt Racerback Front Mid View

Sewing Project The Tartt Racerback Armholes

The Tartt has a fairly fitted silhouette, which is also somewhat unusual when it comes to a sewing project here on The Flora Modiste. I achieved that fitted silhouette through the use of darts, both on the front and back of the dress.

I'm really not a huge fan of darts, and pretty much avoid them at all costs. I've never been that great at sewing them, and my experience with this dress was no exception. They ended up achieving what I wanted them to (that fitted, lean silhouette) but I still prefer using seam lines to contour, rather than darts.

Darts can just be so finicky.. If you are off by even 1/4" when sewing them, then they look completely off. And with having two darts right next to each other, those babies needed to be EXACTLY the same length.

Which isn't always the easiest thing to achieve.

BUT darts can also be good if you're trying to get a cleaner look.. Which IS what I was going for with this dress, since there was a lot going on with those big, beautiful pockets.

And speaking of.. Can you tell how much I love the patch pockets on this dress?

I try not to color block too much, but when I was designing this dress, all I could think of was using that floral print for the pockets.

And you may recognize the print.. I actually used that same fabric for a DIY shower cap that I made a few months back. AND I LOVE IT.

(Ready to learn how to sew a dress lining? Grab your step-by-step instructional tutorial today! I promise it isn't as difficult as it sounds.) How To Sew A Dress Lining Sewing TutorialSewing Project The Tartt Racerback Dress Anatomy

Sewing Project The Tartt Racerback Front Patch Pockets

You might actually recognize the fabric for the body of the dress as well.. I used leftover scraps that I had from the Emma Skirt sewing project that I sewed up last year. (And used the leftover lining fabric for this project too!)

I mentioned in last month's sewing project post (on the Naoko Tank) that the thought of adding more fabric to my sewing box made me want to literally freak out. And I'm still on that freak out train this month, so I was pretty stoked to be able to use fabric scraps for the entirety of this sewing project.

Literally the only thing that I had to buy for it was that center back zipper. I even had leftover interfacing that I was able to finish off with this beauty!

The main fabric that I used for the Tartt was a cotton sheeting.

The fabric worked well for this dress because it isn't too heavy, which is ideal for a lightweight, Spring dress. But it also isn't too light, so it was able to hold up the lining for the dress.

The lining fabric is just a lightweight cotton siri, a light and easy to sew fabric that is perfect for dress linings.

I used a slightly heavier cotton canvas for the patch pockets, to help with holding their shape. I wanted these pockets to act as a purse for when I don't want to carry one when going out.. And I think that the heavier fabric will work perfectly for that! (Also the print is just so damn pretty, am I right?)

Sewing Project The Tartt Racerback Fabric Layout

BTW.. We covered how to sew patch pockets a few months back with the Wavy Cardigan. If you have a dress at home that needs a facelift, find a cute printed fabric and sew some patch pockets on it!

I feel like the pockets on the Tartt MAKE the dress. It would be a bit boring without them. And who doesn't love pockets? I feel like they can seriously be added to literally almost anything.

(Ready to learn how to sew a dress lining? Grab your step-by-step instructional tutorial today! I promise it isn't as difficult as it sounds.) How To Sew A Dress Lining Sewing TutorialBut anyways.. Sewing up the Tartt was slightly more challenging than I expected it to be.

First of all.. Those goddamn darts. I really don't like them, and had some issues with sewing them up. I actually ended up making the back darts too big, and ended up having to let them out so that I could fit into the dress. So that was fun.

I also wasn't planning on having that center back seam below the zipper closure.. But because I made the original darts too big, the fabric ended up ripping when I tried it on.

So we ended up with a center back seam. Cool.

I haven't sewn a dress lining in since I was at FIDM.. Over 5 years ago now.

So it was a bit of a refresher to remember how to actually do it.. Which took me a few tries to get.

Sewing Project The Tartt Racerback Front Mid View

BUT learn from my mistakes and make sure to download this month's printable step by step sewing tutorial on how to sew a dress lining.. You'll be glad you did!

Because it can definitely get a bit confusing if you don't know the steps, and will take much longer than it should.

Other than that, the sewing was pretty straight forward. The shape of the dress is simple, and the fabrics were easy to work with. Definitely excited to wear this little beauty all summer long!

(Ready to learn how to sew a dress lining? Grab your step-by-step instructional tutorial today! I promise it isn't as difficult as it sounds.) How To Sew A Dress Lining Sewing TutorialAnd now.. The namesake for the Tartt Racerback. I seem to be following a trend where I have been naming every sewing project on The Flora Modiste after one of my favorite characters from a favorite book.

I decided to deviate (slightly) from that trend with this sewing project.. The Tartt is named after one of my very favorite authors, Donna Tartt.

You may recognize the name: Donna Tartt wrote The Goldfinch, the 2014 Pulitzer Prize winner for Fiction. The Goldfinch was the first book of Tartt's that I ever read..

And I fell in love instantly.

I finished the book in only a few days.. I remember staying up until midnight each night to read.

(And I'm a 'go to bed before 9:30PM every night kind of girl'. Ask my family--They make fun of me constantly for it.)

Sewing Project The Tartt Racerback Full Side View

Sewing Project The Tartt Racerback Full Front View

I think it's so incredibly special when a book grabs you like that, and doesn't let go. And, in my experience, it doesn't happen very often. So when you can find an author that pulls you in like that, it's pretty goddamn special.

I read another of Tartt's books a few years back, The Secret History, and it drew me in just as much as The Goldfinch did. So I knew then that The Goldfinch wasn't just a one hit wonder for me.. I knew that I loved Tartt as a writer, as an artist.

(I have yet to read her third book, The Little Friend.. Trying to hold out, since it's the only other one I haven't read. And I will be so sad when I know I have no more Donna Tartt to read.)

(Ready to learn how to sew a dress lining? Grab your step-by-step instructional tutorial today! I promise it isn't as difficult as it sounds.) How To Sew A Dress Lining Sewing TutorialIt's kind of funny.. I know that the Tartt Racerback is something that Donna Tartt would NEVER wear. But that's also kind of why I wanted to name it after her.

There are so many talented, incredible writers out there.. But I feel like when one pulls you in and doesn't let you out, you can't let go of that. So here I am, naming a sewing project that I unexpectedly fell in love with after an author that I never expected to also fall in love with.

A particular quote from The Goldfinch that I think explains what I'm trying to say: "Caring too much for objects can destroy you. Only--If you care for a thing enough, it takes on a life of its own, doesn't it? And isn't the whole point of things--of beautiful things--that they connect you to some larger beauty?"

WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE AUTHOR? I'd love to hear all about it!

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