When I saw this pattern I knew it had to be a party dress – and what better time to party than on your birthday! With this in mind I searched for colourful, stunning fabrics to suit the flounces and pleats.
The satin style fabrics I selected for this dress are perfect for both the fluid movement of the flounces and pleats and the contrasting sharpness of the collar and yoke. I have chosen a satin bountiful in colours of blue, yellow, orange, green, russet, black, and pinks that reminded me of oil on water and another with fewer colours of pink, blue, cream and black with a subtle pattern of roses scribbled in the background.
The dress is lined with a chiffon lining and the buttons are covered with the satin to blend in.
I would recommend the following care for your garment during and after construction:
- Wash at low temperature (30˚C)
- Iron on low heat
I found the pattern instructions of be extensive and accurate in description, many of the comments provided detail amendments to the dress that I made for my own requirements. You may find these following comments obvious, or have your own way of doing things. Good luck and enjoy your sewing!
Topstitching, working with satin fabrics, French seams, sleeve plackets, stitched hems, collars, pleats, fabric covered buttons, flounces, cuffs, buttonholes and button loops
Layout for the satin pieces were similar to the illustrated layout in the pattern instructions, take note that the pieces are placed close to the edges, this would be advisable to follow as the pieces need to be cut in two sections. I cut out the majority of the pieces on the folded fabric before opening it out to cut the single pieces of 2, 3, 5, 6 and 7.
Ensure all pieces run the same way top to bottom along the grain line. For example, if top of the shoulder to wrist on the arm piece lays on the grain line left to right then so should the shoulder to the waist on the front pattern piece lay on the grain line left to right, this ensures the whole garment is cut top to bottom running the same way along the grain. Laying out your pieces like this every time is very good practice.
Remember to adjust the pattern pieces for your shape and size. If you are shortening or lengthening the bodice ensure you mark corresponding adjustments to the flounce and lining. Check the layouts, then check again before cutting.
Layout and cut the pieces for your lining and interfacing too.
Make pattern marks on the fabric pieces cut out, I used a combination of a dressmakers marker and a few stitches in bright coloured thread for darts and circles, an a small snip into the fabric to mark the triangles.
Before you start
I used a small sharp needle (Universal 60) in the sewing machine, satin stitch foot (short), maximum pressure on the foot, loosened tension on the spool thread, loosened bobbin tension and a shortened stitch length (about 2 on a 0-5 scale). I made continuous adjustments to the tension until the fabric stopped gathering. Always check the stitches on spare fabric until you are happy with the result.
Check that you are using a clean iron to press the satin as you construct the dress, the fabric is relatively delicate and will catch on marks and dirt. A soap bar rubbed onto a warm iron and wiped off is excellent for cleaning dirt off the iron plate.
Sew along steps to be used with pattern instructions
All steps. After each sewing step I always press the section I have sewn except where the instructions specifically say not to. As soon as the pieces start building up the dress I attempt to ‘try it on’ by placing sections on my tailors dummy or myself. Any sections that are not going to fit as expected can be identified early.
Step 5 & 8. To make a narrow hem the sewing foot was placed with the edge of the foot along the edge of the fabric and the needle adjusted far right, it was trimmed close to the stitching. I did not turn again and sew along the edge.
Step 16. When sewing a dart, to prevent them sticking out tapper the end of the dart slowly so that the stitch line looks like an arch rather than straight.
Step 23. Ensure the pleats are not created too large in depth or length else they may pull on the fabric when worn.
Step 24. When sewing in French seams, after trimming the seam close to the stitch line I found it useful to press the seam open before folding back over on itself.
Step 25. I used the same method of dart creation as step 16.
Step 26. When sewing the lining hem I pulled the fabric straight ensuring that the fabric was not pulled through as this may cause the fabric to tear or the needle to break. I thought it would be useful to use a rolled foot for this step if you were lucky enough to have one.
Step 28. I used the same method of dart creation as step 16.
Step 34 & 35. Ensure the flounce is not caught in the stitching. As a check, the lining front with circular sweep lines the right hand side of the dress.
Step 36. I made an adjustment to the flounce by removing the end that attached to the skirt and rounded it off similar to the opposite side.
Step 37. I used the same method of dart creation as step 16.
Step 46. Hand stitch the flounce down, the collar will eventually cover this.
Step 48. When stitching the collar ends sew one stitch across point of the collar end to give a better finish.
Step 49. When turning out the collar do not push a sharp point into the points of the collars in case it pushes straight through. Roll the edges between your fingers to ease the seams to the edge and press.
Step 51. Ensure that the collar band is sewn close to the collar width without catching the collar in the stitching. This will give a better finish in step 53 with the collar band fitting exactly across the neck edge.
Step 57. Pin the continuous lap to the slashed sleeve section.
Step 62. Sew two rows of a long stitch all the way around the lower end of the sleeve, check which end of the bobbin thread will pull easier and secure the other end. Try not to run the sewing lines into each other, else they will not gather. Ensure to re-adjust the stitch size afterwards.
Step 64. Adjust the gathered stitches to the length of the cuff.
Step 65. Ensure both cuffs are made to the same width.
Step 68. Ease the sleeve into the armhole by pulling on the bobbin thread of the easestitch created in step 55. Ensure both threads are used for a better result. Sew the gathered section slowly to ensure large pleats are not created.
Steps 69 to 74. To cover buttons, cut around a two pence piece from the satin fabric, with a running stitch, hand sew around edge of fabric, place button top in the centre of the wrong side and pull the stitching thread.
When the fabric is pulled tight over the button push the holding plate in place until secure. Cut thread.
Two fabric-covered buttons are placed on each of the cuffs and the fifth button on the left side of dress for the side loop. The black button is sewn on the inside of the lining for the inside loop. Ensure you try the dress on to find the best positions for the buttons.
This dress fits and looks amazing and I am looking forward to wearing it (flattering even after those festive meals!!). This dress can be worn during the day as it has a well-secured bodice and can be easily dressed up for an evening out with a bit of sparkle and those designer heels.