If you could see my sewing area, you would see stacks of beautiful apparel fabric just sitting there, waiting for me to create something with. I finally, FINALLY cut into one of my favorite fabrics to make something for me!
It took me a while to break out of my holiday slump but I finally have gotten back into my sewing groove. I swear I am a happier person the past couple of weeks. That is what us creative types need! If you are in a sewing/crafting slump and not feeling your happiest, check out this post for tips about breaking out of a sewing slump.
This dress has been in my head a LONG time. I wanted to make a flattering fitted dress with 3/4 sleeves, and a slim gathered skirt. I bought the fabric- its a beautiful rayon challis- at the National City Swap Meet and loved the vibrant print, perfect for winter. A few months ago, I used a bit of it in this blouse. (The back side of the fabric)
Instead of lining the dress, (too lazy) I did a narrow bias tape neckline, which I really love. For a little variety and color pop, I created these fun sleeve tabs.
I had these adorable patterned buttons I had picked up in LA somewhere, and was able to use them for the first time.
For the bodice I used a store-bought pattern. It took several adjustments to get a good fit, but I finally got it pretty close. (There is still room for improvement- I need to make myself a custom sloper!)
To make the fitting of the upper back easier (I had trouble last time I used this pattern) I just cut it down to a V. It worked perfectly.
I am so happy with the way this dress turned out. I wore it to church a couple of weeks ago and got several compliments so I would say it turned out ok 🙂
Let me tell you how I made it. Since I used a pattern for the bodice, I will just explain what I did to change it up.
- Find a dress pattern with a fitted bodice and sleeves. I used McCalls 5927. I suggest making a quick muslin out of similar fabric as your main dress fabric. Will save you a headache in the long run. Cut out all pieces needed for the bodice and sleeves. Shorten sleeve pattern if necessary, before cutting out.
- Measure your hips. Take this measurement and add 6″ for the width of your skirt panel. If your fabric isn’t wide enough, take your final measurement and cut it in half, adding 1/2″ for seam allowance. Then cut 2. Measure from your waist to where you want your dress to end. Add 2″ for seam and hem allowance and this is how long your skirt panel(s) will be. Cut out 2 rectangles for your sleeve tabs.
- Sew up bodice and sleeves, following the directions from your pattern. Hem sleeves.
- Fold your sleeve tabs lengthwise in half, right sides together. Stitch around as shown.
- Trim seam to 1/8″ all around edges. Trim corner close to seam and turn right side out. Press well. Finish raw edge. Repeat for other tab.
- Pin raw edge to wrong side of sleeve at the outside of sleeve, several inches up. Use an existing blouse for placement, or just pin and try on. Wrap under sleeve, and pin the other end right on top of where you pinned the underside. Secure with button. (You can do a buttonhole but I didn’t) Repeat other sleeve.
- Gather top of skirt panel. Mark into quarters. Pin and adjust gathers to bodice, matching quarter marks to side seams and center front. With right sides together, stitch skirt onto bodice. Try on. If the fit is good (you might need help holding the back closed) insert zipper. I used an invisible zipper but you can do a regular one too. Make sure you close up the bottom seam under the zipper and hem the bottom. Done!