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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

New Summer Dress

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Finally, the perfect little summer dress.  I hit a few snags along the way, but I'm really happy with how it turned out.  The dress is exactly what I had imagined.  It's comfortable and light and perfect for the hot hot hot weather we've been having in the city. 

The shape of the bodice came from the pattern used in my first dress, which had a similar design.  I used only the bottom portion of the bodice pattern, stopping at the armholes and adding an inch and a half at the top for additional fabric to create a casing for the elastic needed to hold the dress in place.   

Vogue Pattern V8631

I used Vogue Pattern V8631 to get the shape of the skirt.  The pattern was perfect except for the pleats, which didn't work with the gathered concept I had in mind. To get rid of the pleats I carefully folded the pattern piece, taping the pleats down with tiny pieces of masking tape so as not to ruin the pattern.  Once the pleats were folded down, the pattern piece could be used to cut out the fabric for my gathered skirt.    

I initially planned to self-line the entire dress so I wouldn't have to deal with finishing off the hem, but I didn't have nearly enough fabric to cut out a second layer of the dress.  Instead, to finish off the very long hem I made my own bias binding by cutting strips from my left over fabric.   The strips were cut diagonally or on the bias - instead of with the grain, straight up or across the fabric - because fabric cut on the bias has more flexibility to shape around the curved hem.  I sewed each strip together and ironed them to create the folds.  I then sewed the binding to the edge of the skirt before attaching the skirt and bodice together.  Creating your own bias binding is a very time consuming process.

After testing out the finished product while running errands, I realized that gusts of wind would not be my friend in this dress.  To keep the skirt from blowing every which way I tacked it down about halfway between the hem and the waist with three tiny stitches in the hemline.  The stitches are virtually invisible from the right side of the dress.  Problem solved.  I love the end result so I just may have to create my own pleat-less pattern for future use and multiple versions of this dress.


  1. Oh dear, I'm happy for you! It is great when our toughts become real!!! Great for you!!!! I hope see more in the future!


  2. You are so talented. Keep it up. This inspires me!

  3. I'm so jealous that you can sew! I wish I could. I really have to look into learning someday. Did you take classes?


  4. Wow, you made this?? I love tulip hemlines.. and the print is so pretty!!

    xx, Melanie

  5. Thank you so much all you lovely commenters! I really appreciate the encouragement, it makes me even more excited to get to sewing more lovely things to share with you all.

    @Janet: I haven't taken any classes, although I do plan on taking some eventually. Everything I've learned so far has come from some fantastic books that really guide me through the process.

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  7. Wow!So cool...
    I follow you..maybe you follow me back?!
    xx Tanja