Usually when I write these handmade with love posts I am making items for D and my family/ friends. I’m changing it up a bit today and sharing a dress that I made for myself! A rarity that I don’t really do.
When I started making myself this dress I didn’t know I would be writing a post about it’s making, which meant that I wasn’t taking picture’s through the process.
A few month’s ago I started getting Love Sewing magazine for some ideas and patterns to make. The first issue I bought came with a Threadcount 3 in 1 dress pattern for sizes 14 – 22. The pattern was most of the reason I bought this issue of the magazine.
After I got the magazine and the pattern I needed to find a bit of time where I could get out the grease proof/ baking paper and markers to copy out the pattern. The grease proof/ baking paper wasn’t wide enough to trace the skirt sections of the dress in one go. To create a piece wide enough to fit the pattern on I measured the rough size needed and added a little extra to be sure the skirt piece would fit. This left me with two separate pieces of half the pattern piece, I joined them up and added some sellotape to ensure they stayed together. I repeated this process and then copied the two pieces onto the new, wider paper. That left simply cutting out the pattern pieces using a pair of scissors.
Once I had a workable pattern I set about figuring out the best position for each piece on the fabric. The pattern dictates that you should use a full pattern on the fabric of choice then also have the top half of the dress pattern on a lining fabric. I did follow this, however instead of doing just the top section I cut out a full pattern for lining. The reason I chose to do a full pattern is quite simple, I was using a white fabric with black spots on. The fabric itself was quite thin and I was worried that the finished dress may have a see through skirt! For me cutting the fabric always feels like the longest part of following a pattern. It most likely isn’t but this tends to be the only section I do all in one go. The process of adding all the pins to keep the pattern in place, the cutting, removing the pattern pieces from the fabric and then repeating the process for the lining can take a little while.
Now that I had my fabric pieces cut out I didn’t do anything further for a month or so. When I did get enough time to make a start on the sewing portion of making the dress I sat down and read the instructions a few times. ( I tend to find that I always go wrong somewhere in the pattern the first time I try it. There could be many reasons for this; I don’t read the instructions properly, I miss a step or two or I don’t fully understand the instructions and plow on anyway. ) The instructions start with the top half of the dress which is in 5 pieces. The main front piece is one section that was cut on the fold of the fabric ( I accidentally cut this in half so I had to sew along the cut line) and has darts on either side of the bust area which need sewn in. Creating the rest of the top section is more or less just matching up the pieces for the side and back of the dress and sewing in place. I did those sections one at a time. The final step needed to finish off the top section (for now) was to tidy up the neckline and strap/ arm hole where I needed to create a hem. I did this by folding the fabric over to the inside and sewing in place. I tried to ensure the fold was the same length all the way around.
It actually took about another month or almost a month for me to get back to the dress so I could finish the dress and create the skirt. Creating the skirt was a little harder than I had anticipated, it actually isn’t that hard but I got myself in a tissy about it! The first hurdle I came to on the skirt was creating the fold in the top front section of the skirt. I couldn’t quite get what the pattern was telling me to do (I know now!). I just made the fold the way I thought it worked. I did work out after I had finished the dress that I had needed to simply fold on the line to create half a fold on either side and sew it following the box shape. Pretty simple right?
Anyway, completing the skirt was the same as completing the top section. I needed to line up the pieces and sew both the lining and the main fabric together to create the skirt seams on the 3 sections. I had to remember to stop sewing at the large dot left on the back sections of the skirt to be able to add the zip.I needed to add another hem, this time along the bottom edge. I did take my time with this hem as it was going to be very visible on the dress itself and needed to be as close to the same size all the way around as I could get it.The skirt also needed a running stitch added on either side between the folds. This was to ensure the skirt would be the right size for my waist and also be the same length all the way around as the top section of the dress. I create a running stitch by turning my thread tension to 1 on the machine and creating one long line of stitching in the area I need the running stitch. I then pull one side of the thread slightly and tie it in a knot as close to the fabric as I can, using the other end of the threads I pull the loose side to the correct size and repeat on the other side of the skirt.
Once I had both the top and skirt sections of the dress I needed to attach them in order to create the one piece dress. I took my time in lining up the fabric on both the top and skirt. I pinned both sections together before sewing them using the pins as my guide. Next up I added the zip starting at the bottom of open end on the back of the dress and working my way up one side at a time. After I got to the end of the zip I realised there was still some space at the top that the zip didn’t reach so I got some hook and eye fasteners and added them by hand sewing them on. ( I used three) The dress was finished!
I paired the dress with a red bow belt and a pair of red shoes with small heals. I am very proud of this dress, I’ve never made myself much (a pair of PJ bottoms!) and attempting an adult pattern was a little daunting at first but I got there and I love the finished result! So much so that I am stating another one. Please excuse my very bad modeling!
You can download the Threadcount 5 in 1 dress pattern in sizes 8 – 14 for free by clicking on the link which takes you to Love Sewing. I cannot find the pattern I used to create the dress in a size 18. I think it may have been exclusive to the magazine.
Have you made anything recently?