Housewife as all hell!
With the help of a few crafty bloggers, I made this crisp warm-weather dress in just a few hours.
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For this dress, I used my self-drafted pattern from Leenas.com. Leena’s is a wonderful resources. It offers step-by-step tutorials for patterns drafted to your exact measurements. You just measure and connect the dots! I used the basic bodice and basic
sleeve patterns to design a paper sloper. Drafting the sloper took me about three hours, but it was very much worth it - I’ll never have to do it again!
Please note, though, that Leenas.com is a Finnish site, so all the measurements are metric. If you’re used to the imperial system, double-check your conversions.
Following the instructions exactly, you end up with 8 pieces: 2 front, 2 back, 2 sides, and 2 sleeves. Simply pin them together into a bodice shape and sew.
For the first dress I made with this pattern (check it out here: https://colormebrazen.wordpress.com/2016/04/15/i-learned-to-sew-and-all-i-got-was-this-lousy-dress/), I used the sloper design as-is, but I changed it up for this one.
Instead of cutting two adjacent front pieces and stitching them down the middle, I folded the fabric over and cut one continuous front to avoid disrupting the pattern. I did the same for the back. I also shortened the sleeves by several inches and added a V neckline to show off the rickrack. But the biggest change was in the skirt:
For my first dress, I made a simple gathered skirt. This one, though, begged for a more precise look: the print is so delicate that it warranted something crisper. So pleating it was!
Pleating-as- a concept is pretty intuitive: just fold, pin, and sew. Many tutorials, though, forget something crucial: hello, the math. No one wants to re-pleat an entire skirt after folding too big or too small. Luckily, Shundra of mrscraftychick.com laid it all out. Find your perfect number of pleats as follows:
Measure your natural waist, adding an inch and a half of breathing room. My waist measures 32.5″, so my working measurement is 34″.
Choose your pleat size and multiply that number by 3. I decided on half an inch, so my fabric-per-pleat measurement came in at 1.5″.
Subtract your waist measurement from your total amount of fabric. I had 100″ of fabric for my skirt, so I ended up with 66″ of pleating room.
Divide your pleating-room measurement by your fabric-per-pleat measurement. 66/1.5 = 44 pleats.
I folded and pinned all 44 pleats by hand, and sure enough, the pleated skirt measured 34″ in the waist. I hand-sewed the pleats down, and then I flipped the skirt inside out and sewed it to the bodice, careful to attach it right at the waist curve.
I cut a line down the center back, finished the raw edges on each side, and attached the zipper. Finally, I trimmed off any long string edges (as you can see, I missed a few) and hand-sewed the rickrack. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize the rickrack would fray so badly when I cut it, and I haven’t yet had a chance to fix it. I plan to stick on some bias tape in a matching color.
I’m absolutely thrilled with this dress. It’s crisp, fresh, and perfect for nascent spring. A red hat, curled hair, and black wedges were a natural complement. Click over to my blog for the full shoot!