April Rhodes patterns

Sewing a (fun) work wardrobe

I recently headed back to the workforce and I’m pretty darn happy about it. Not so happy about the state of my work wardrobe though. After 3 years at home with kids, the closet is full of jeans and sloppy tees. All very well for cleaning and finger painting, but no so professional. Soooo, I’m finding myself in need of some respectable duds. As my work is not corporate, there is some flexibility in said work attire – still no jeans and sloppy tees 😦 – but I’m hoping to create some work outfits that still retain an element of fun, can still be incorporated into non-work life and are appealing to wear.

This is going to be a journey, due to sad state of my current wardrobe. So I’ll hope you’ll join me, leave some feedback, suggest patterns and the like.

staple dress 1

Piece one in my wardrobe’s road to recovery is the much sewn and loved Staple Dress pattern by April Rhodes. I know you’ve seen this dress all over blogland, but there’s always room for one more.

Staple Dress 9Staple Dress 3Staple Dress 8

Yep, ha ha finally got myself a camera remote! 

And so, how does the Staple Dress go in my work wardrobe?

Fun: yes, definitely. I’m loving the dress in Amy Butler voile, the fabric is light, breathable and beautiful to wear 5/5

Cross-functional: yes. I wore this dress out to dinner with heels, so it will fit into both the work and non-work requirements 5/5

Wearability: although I do prefer pants, this dress is pretty darn comfortable 4/5

Does it fit in?: given the sparsity of my work wardrobe, it does fit in. Having said that, the print I chose doesn’t make it a mix and match piece or a wear to work 3 times a week and no-one will notice piece 3/5

Here’s how I styled it for work:

Staple Dress 5Staple Dress 6

Staple dresses all over the internet inspired this make, but here are my picks if you’re after some more Staple Dress inspiration:

Staple Dresses Inspiration

1. Staple Dress is Denim by While She Was Sleeping 2. Polka Dot Staple by Shona Stitches

I’m loving these blue versions – please click over to their blogs for more info and pics.

So tell me, do you have a ‘go to’ pattern you love for work wear? 


The Date Night Dress in under deadline.

This weekend my husband graduated from Melbourne University with an MBA. It was a big occasion for our little family (very proud!!). Anyhow, in typical fashion for me, I decided on Monday that I needed a new dress for the occasion. Plenty of time, yes! Except I then spent the next three days deliberating over what to sew………not enough time to order a Saltspring dress pattern, not enough time to order AMH rayon challis, too cold for a dress etc etc. In the end I ordered April Rhodes’ Date Night Dress pattern, to hell with the weather forecast! I have so loved some of the other versions of this dress, particularly Ashley’s, Abbey’sCaroline’s and Meredith’s. So, here is my version, sewn up in two evenings.

UPDATE: I have re-loaded the photos for this post with the dress shortened. The extra length on the dress was bothering me and like a good haircut it feels much fresher!


The fabric is a lovely rayon from my favourite local haunt Joy’s Fabric Warehouse. I was a little intimidated by the rayon thinking it might be difficult to sew with but in actual fact it was lovely and very well behaved.



I sewed a medium with an added 10cms onto the hem. I was wary that the dress might be quite short on me, as per Rae’s Staple Dress (a pattern also by April). Looking at the photos now, I will definitely shorten it for summer (DONE!). Next time I would sew a small in the bodice and grade out to a medium in the skirt. I will be sewing up the slip pattern that comes with the dress in white voile, but I ran out of time to sew it for the graduation.


I’m pretty happy with my new dress, thanks April for such a lovely pattern and such clear instructions!

Action shot (pre-shortening the dress)…