Thursday, December 19, 2013

Satin Trimmed Dress

I had this dress pattern I thought I could simplify by making less pieces and using bias tape to finish edges.

The first thing I did was make satin bias tape with my bias tape maker. That took a chunk of time, but I now have a lot of black satin bias tape that I could use for other projects. For my dress I selected a thin dark purple handkerchief fabric (from my stash of fabrics) that I thought would gather and drape well; I also thought the color would work well with my black satin bias tape.

I then cut out my pattern pieces (which took a bit more thought.) The original pattern used a minimum of six pattern pieces; and I simplified it down to three (the yoke and the dress). Since I’d decided on using bias tape to finish the neck and arm edges, I had to cut the fabric down a bit since there didn’t need to be any seam allowance. (I admit I wasn’t super perfect when cutting the arm holes about half an inch inward—I just eyeballed it.)

My plan was to have a loose-fitting dress, so I didn’t need to put in a zipper. I wanted to gather the material at the yoke, so I cut a wider piece a fabric for the dress section (which I eyeballed as well; really, I just went as wide as the fabric I had available would allow.). Since I wasn’t being very precise, I also kept the length on the longer side so I had breathing room for the hem (which was good since I had a pretty uneven skirt that needed to be cut down for the hem).

I used the original pattern directions as a very rough guide; mostly I just sewed in a way that made sense to me on this project. I gathered the dress sections and sewed them to the yokes. I sewed the front and back of the dress together at the sides. I sewed the yoke lining to the inside of the yoke and dress. Finished the neck and sleeve edges with bias tape. Hemmed the dress.

Initially I thought I’d just wear this dress with a belt (as it desperately needs something to cinch it in at the waist), but then I thought I could just make a sash. So with the fabric I had left, I sewed a sash. Overall I’m fairly satisfied with my makeshift dress. It’s a very simple dress, but I like that I was able to use a pattern I had in a different way and I think I may do this more in the future.

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