Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
1 Corinthians 3:17

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Tutorial Time- Charming Drop-Waisted Dress With Pockets & Ribbon Ties

Hi there! I was so excited to share this tutorial with you all...and then life happened, and you know the drill. So, a few weeks later, I proudly present the Charming Drop-Waisted Dress.


This tutorial gets a little wordy (even for me, gasp!), so I hope the pictures help.  =) 

This is all started with an image in my mind of a sweet summer dress that I used to wear when I was younger, and I wanted to try to design one for my little girl. It's really quite simple, and it does look so pretty and summery, but also modest and kinda old-fashioned.  Luuuuuuuuurve that. I also wanted it to have some unique features, like the ribbon tie closure in the back, and the cute pockets on the skirt.

You will need approximately 1- 1 1/2 yards of fabric; single fold bias tape; skinny ribbon; and some petite lace.

I relied on the copy-a-shirt method for the bodice. First, fold your fabric and shirt in half, and place folds together. Cut out the fabric in a basic rectangle shape, about an inch bigger than the shirt. Literally, think BOX- I'm telling you, it will look like a box, but it will all work out! I promise! Line up the cut rectangle on another fold and simply move it over so you've got an extra half an inch- this will be the bodice back, and the half inch extra is for the seam allowance. Cut the second rectangle.


Next you'll cut out the neckline and armholes. Just follow your shirt as a guide, or eyeball it like I do.
You'll also cut straight through the fold of the bigger bodice piece. (if you squint, you might see the cut pieces in the picture)


Now onto the skirt. This is a hard one. No, not really. Cut a ...rectangle! (well, 2 of them, actually) Who guessed it? You win! This is totally dependent on how long and full you want the skirt to be. I was going for a mid-calf, slightly gathered look, in keeping with the original image in my head. You can make this as full and long as you want.

Let's stick with the bodice for now. You'll need to iron out your bias tape, fold it in half, then iron it this way. We'll use this for the neckline and armholes. We'll also be adding the pretty lace around the neckline.

Let's tackle that bodice back first. Pin the pieces RST {Right Sides Together}, leaving a few inches open at the top, near the neck. I stitched with a 5/8 seam so I'd have plenty of fabric to fold over twice for a nice finished edge.
Iron open the seam. bottom to top, then fold each edge under again. Press. This looks so nice and neat!
Next, pin your ribbon ties, tucking them inside the fold. See the picture below.

You're going to stitch right through all those layers. This was sort of like sewing in a zipper- start at the top, turn, then stitch up the opposite side. I did this twice because it looks pretty and it reinforces the opening.
**if the fabric unraveled a ton, I'd stitch all the way down the folded seam to keep the edges neat**

Now sew the front and back shoulder pieces RST. Press open the seam. If you're adding the lace, pin the edge of the lace to the outside of the neckline, tucking in the ends a bit so they'll get caught in the seam. Stitch in place. You're going to pin the bias tape over the lace (it still looks upside down at this point) and fabric, making sure to leave a little extra bias tape on each end, and stitch a narrow seam.  
I should have left a little room between the edge of the lace and the edge of the fabric because the bias tape got really small when I stitched 1/4 inch. Play around with the edges by folding the bias tape over and tucking it under- it's hard to describe...you just have to do it and see how it works best for you.
Here's the "sandwich" below

Press VERY lightly- the lace will melt!- and turn bias tape sandwich towards inside of bodice. Pin in place and stitch as close to the folded edge as possible. This gives you a very neat finish.

Do this same technique for the armholes, either with lace or without. I did not add lace to the armholes of my dress. For a neat finish with the bias tape, I fold over one end and kind of lap it over the other, covering all raw edges. Stitch in place.

 Next up, the pockets and skirt. I highly advise you to stitch the pockets in place before you assemble the skirt- I find it's so much easier to have the pieces all flat and spread open. I cut out two squares for the pockets, ironed in a bigger fold for the top, and stitched across the top. Then, I ironed the other edges under, and stitched each pocket in place pretty high up on the skirt front. I tacked the ribbons in place by hand after.

You're almost done! Stitch skirt front and back RST, press in a hem, and sew the hem. I'm not a huge fan of gathering the traditional way, so I pin the skirt to the bodice at the side seams, then figure out the center points and pin there, and work my way around pinning equal pieces of fabric. I gather the material with my fingers as I sew, using the pins as a guide to spacing. Iron skirt toward bodice and top-stitch close to the seam.

And voila! Beautiful dress for a beautiful girl!
No, it won't twirl, but my daughter still loves to wear it! It's perfect for summer fun!





At first I was really upset because I thought I'd made the bodice too sqaure-like and boxy, but I just love how it creates a sort of faux cap sleeve- it's so cute!

Sharing with these creative folks...

4 comments:

SuperMomNoCape said...

What an adorable dress for a little girl. Our girls would have loved this when they were little.

Kirsty@Bonjour said...

What a great and easy dress pattern. No wonder she looks so happy because her dress is so cute!

Stacy Sews and Schools said...

VERY cute!! I love it!

Liz said...

Lovely dress!

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