I am proud to introduce the first dress I have made all by myself, without any book.
I was inspired by the dress front of my neighbour’s dress and I have modified it, by changing some tips and by widening it slightly.
The making of the central part, at the front and back, was simple because I have barely cut the fabric, which has avoided me the long preparatory work. However, adding pockets (made from small patches) along with a belt attached to the inside took me some time.
The fabric I used is some cotton taken from a yukata for males. It is very convenient to wear.
Here is a guide to the different steps:
1- THE TRUNK OF THE DRESS, the fun part
80% of this dress can be made without difficulty.
The front and back faces are composed of 2 panels (1m x 36cm) each. I did not reduce the width to avoid working with the overlocker and gain time.
Leave 1 cm for the seam allowance and sew the right and left panels together, for the front face then for the back face.
BE CAREFUL: Do no stitch the front and back faces together, if you intend to add pockets and/or belts attached to the inside.
2- THE DRESS FRONT, the tricky part
The pattern of the dress front consists of 4 parts for the front and for the back (2 parts at the front and 2 parts at the back).
Method A ) To finish more quickly, if you do not lack fabric, you can cut the dress front in a large piece of fabric (parts 1, 2, 3, and 4).
Part 1 (upside of front) and 2 (reverse of front) – Put 2 pieces of fabric together, upside on upside. Cut off part 1 and 2.
Part 3 (upside of back) and 4 (reverse of back) – repeat the same operation.
Method B ) Otherwise, if you wish to save this precious fabric, use two pieces for each part instead of one. Place upside over upside of the two pieces that compose each part, and cut.
=> Stitch the four parts as shown on the photo. Leave about 1 / 0.5 cm of seam allowance.
With dressmaker pins, place the front of the dress between the two layers of the dress front.
On either side of the dress front, 10 cm of the trunk will not be placed inside on purpose.
Make creases on the trunk on the right side and on the left side of the upside, in the same fashion. So the folds will find their equivalents on the other half of the trunk front.
Cover with the second part of the dress front. Make sure that the pins are well placed, to create a harmonious effect.
If you turn the other part of the front dress (part 4 over part 3, reverse over reverse), it should look like this.
Slightly lift part 2.
Turn the dress so as to work on the upside of the dress.
Fold the edges (about 1 cm) of the dress front inside and pin.
BE CAREFUL: part 2 must not be behind part 1.
On the reverse, check that the middle of the trunk is well placed in the center of the dress front.
To emphasize the chest, I have chosen to shape a sharp tip in the center of the dress front. At the back, the front dress is rounded.
On either side of the dress front, fold twice the edges of the fabric which has been left oustide the dress front, and stitch.
Part 2 still not behind Part 1, on the upside, stitch the dress front on the trunk of the dress.
Restart this operation for part 2, which is behind part 1 of the dress front,make sure you sew inside the dress front on the upside (part 1) and next to the previous stiches. The new stitches will be less visible and this will not damage the flow of the creases.
Do exactly the same thing for the back of the dress front (part 3 and 4). In this dress, the tip of the dress front was rounded.
3- THE BELT
A belt can have various lengths. I love to bind myself up so I chose a length that is rather long (1m40 on either side).
The width is 4.5 cm.
I have taken the half of a panel (18 cm large) and folded it in two.
To obtain two 9 cm bands, I have cut it off in two.
With the help of wonder clips, fold the belt as shown on the above pictures.
Stitch the edges.
Here comes the tricky part: the attachment of the belt.
Place the belt at a level you like, above the pocket if you intend to insert one.
Only the tip of the belt will be inside the dress and it will exceed slightly the seam allowance.
The rest will be oustide, near the upside.
Join and sew the back and the front of the dress, from the underarm up to 3 cm under the belt.
Stitch several times the belt to the dress by alternating forward stitching / backward stitching. This will help you to fix it well.
Do not stitch beyond if you wish to add a pocket. Otherwise stitch down to the future hemline.
Do the same on the other side.
4- The pocket
Either, you choose to use a whole piece of fabric, or either, you get patches together, which is much slower.
I have gathered patches of similar size, and from the reverse, I have folded and stitched them together to stop them from fraying.
This method consumes much fabric so I have added another band.
On either side of this big band, I have folded the edges twice and stitched them.
Put the pocket band under the belt, at the reverse of the dress trunk. Wrong side over wrong side.
With wonder clips, fold the edge of the trunk over the pocket band. Sew the two edges together.
Here comes the other tricky part… Do the same with the other tip of the pocket band.
Superimpose the parts of the pocket. Stitch the two horizontal openings.
BE CAREFUL: Do not sew the hole into which you insert your hand.
5- STITCHING THE TRUNK AND THE HEMLINE, the end…..
We are almost there… A few stitches away from the end…
Continue the stitching that had stopped 3 cm beneath the belt, at a few millimeters beneath the top of the pocket.
Stop a bit under the top. This will enable you to hide small flaws in an elegant way (like some stitching that frays slightly).
Then stich on from a few milimeters above the bottom of the pocket down to the hemline of the dress.
Do the same thing for the other side of the dress.
You will certainly notice a little interval between the front and back faces. One could be longer than the other one.
Level the panels so they can superimpose on one another perfectly down to the hemline.
Cut off the extra fabric.
See to it that the seam allowance be well opened as indicated on the photo, and not folded.
Fold the hemline twice and stich.
The making is accelerated if there is no pocket, but if you are not in a hurry, honestly, it is worth it.