At last I can show you the finished dress!
It’s a shift dress but if I want a fitted look it can be worn with a belt. I decided not to make a belt in the pink fabric as planned but think it looks more interesting with a gold or tan belt.
The shoulder opening is fastened simply with a press stud and the collar fixes over it with another press stud.
understitching on facing close to neckline seam
how dress facing on neckline looks from inside
no stitching visible on rightside of dress neckline
Some of the useful techniques I picked up while making the dress were:
1) understitching – sewing close to seam on facing to make the facing around the neckline sit flat. I found a good understitching video on YouTube.
2) invisible hand hemming – this is an old hand stitching method.
(Top of picture) Inside dress – the stitches sit close to the edge of the hem (should be hidden – I think I need more practice!)
(Bottom of picture) You shouldn’t be able to see the stitches on the right side of the dress.
Here is another useful You Tube video showing blind stitch hemming to help you understand how to sew a hem by hand.
I hope this has inspired you to take the plunge and start making a dress too! 🙂
I have altered my dress to fit better. First I turned the dress inside out, then another friendly person attending the sewing class pinned it together along the seams to the altered shape, while I was wearing it. After tacking the altered seams together to check the fit, I machine sewed it together. It is still a ‘shift dress’ shape so not too fitted. I have also attached the patch style pockets and sleeves. The pockets are simple rectangle shapes with the edges turned under and hemmed before attaching to the dress. I’m going to add beige cuffs to the short sleeves for an extra bit of detail 🙂
The shoulder opening allows me to remove the dress over my head easily. I’m still trying to decide whether I should close it with cute little buttons, press studs or velcro? As I have decided to lower the neckline and add a ‘Peter Pan’ style beige collar detail, buttons may make it a bit too busy. The collar is in two halves – purely decorative and only attached to the front of the dress. The collar finishes over the left shoulder where it opens so will need to velcro onto this area to be pulled back when opening. I drew the collar shape freehand on tissue paper. When I had a shape I was happy with I added the allowance for a hem and cut two pieces – reversing one. Next step is to cut two pieces in fabric for each side of the collar
I started making my dress last week 🙂
I have chosen to make the main body from the green fabric, the sleeves from the pink and the pockets from the light beige.
I cut the pattern pieces - pinning them all to the fabric first to make sure they all fit before cutting any. I also made sure the direction of the grain markings on the pattern matched the fabric. After measuring myself and checking the pattern measurements, the nearest size is the 'M' medium size pattern markings
I marked the points to match up when assembling with a tack stitch in contrasting colour thread. There are also notches on the edge of the pattern that will line up with the other pieces when attached
As you can see, although I have hand tacked the dress body pieces together as the pattern is marked, I need to make some alterations to fit me. At this stage I look like I'm about to perform surgery!
The back is in two pieces (the left side has the extra fabric for buttoning on the shoulder) so tacked together down the centre. This is ideal as it means I can alter the dress on this seam
I machine stitched the darts on the front piece before temporarily assembling the body, making sure they were stitched accurately so they sit correctly
The neckline will be a little lower when hemmed. I still think it will be too high so considering altering it before cutting the interfacing to match (this is a lining inside around the neckline). I also think it would look better with a peter pan style collar in beige so will need to draft my own pattern for that!
I haven’t made any clothes on a sewing machine for many years and really want to get back into it – especially since my partner’s mum gave me her sewing machine 🙂
Needing a little confidence boost to get started I decided to join a group at a local community centre. I can get some extra advice and avoid any obvious mistakes. It’s also nice to have other crafty people to chat to and see what they’re making!
My ‘easy’ second hand pattern (no zips and I like the buttons on shoulder detail) is ready for the meeting tomorrow, along with plain (no patterns to match and cheap) polycotton and interfacing. I have checked all the relevant pattern pieces are there and using the dress pattern in the centre. I have green fabric for the main body with biege and pink for the sleeves and pockets. I love dresses with pockets!