A simple, halter style party dress in 7 steps.
Mmmkay, to start off with, if you like this tut,leave me a quick comment and give me some feedback. Tell me it was awesome, tell me it sucked, give me some critisism, SOMETHING so I know I'm not wasting my time. Otherwise I feel sad and don't want to post anymore tutorials, kaaaay?
Mmmmmkay, so, I love dresses, but it's hard to find them in my size and in a style I'll wear. Here's a nice, party ready dress, for girls (and guys, if that's what you're into) of all sizes!! This is more of a theorology than a dress because I'm not going to go into great detail about the basic sewing. You should probably know the basics before attempting this tutorial.
I wanted to create a Marilyn Monroe inspired dress.
It took me a minute to anylize the dress and try and piece it together in my mind. Two trials later, I had my dress. Since I'm a big girl, I made a shrug out of black spandex/polyester mix. I got loads of comments on the dress, and was quite pleased. I wish I had made mine longer though, because I ended up having to wear leggings because my legs were cold. Luckily, my leggings and shrug matched perfectly, and it looked like it was done on purpose. DO A TRIAL FIRST. DO A TRIAL FIRST. DO A TRIAL FIRST. Don't waste your nice fabric by making a mistake, do a trial first out of cheap fabric.
Okay, enough rambling, on with the tutorial.
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You're going to want to take some measurements. This is easier to do if you enlist a friend to help, but you can do it yourself if you have too. You'll need the measurement of your bust. Make sure you're wearing a bra so everything is positioned where it needs to be. Measure around the middle of your ta-tas. Then measure just under your bust. The bottom of your bra is a good guide. Just follow it around your body and write it down. Then your waist. If you bend to one side you'll see where your body bends naturally, measure there. Lastly, you need your hip measurement, use the top elastic of your panties as a good guide. Not pictured above, you'll also need the measurement from the underbust to the hips, so measure from the base of your bra to the top of your panties. Look at the picture if you're confused.
We'll start off with the main body piece, because it's the easiest one to do. Using the WIDEST measurement out of your underbust, waist, and hips, cut a rectangle of fabric that is the widest measurement, and the lenth from the base of your bra to the top of your panties. You'll need an inch seam allowance on the two short ends, and a half inch on the top and bottom. It's a good idea to use a peice of masking tape to mark the top and bottom so you don't get them mixed up. You're going to want to fold it in quarters. Find the halfway point and mark it with a pin. Take either end, fold it in a half and inch, and iron it flat. Then, lay it face down on the floor and fold both sides inwards until it reaches the middle point. Iron these creases in place because you're going to need them later on. I used two layers for stability, so I cut two peices of fabric the same size.
Now, for some more measuring. Measure across each cup of your bra, from the center "bridge" peice to the seam at the side. Make sure you're writing all of your measurements down. Now, measure from the bottom of each ta-ta, up the middle of each, around the neck, and back down again. If you don't want a halter top, measure from the base of each tata, up over the shoulder, and down to the bottom of the back strap of your bra. We'll talk more about that in a minute.
The bust cover is drafted from those measurements you just took. Draw a triangle that's as wide as the measurement from the middle of your bust to the side seam and about 6 inches tall. Cut out two. Place them facing each other so that the ends are as far apart as the lenth from the base of your bra, around your neck, to the base of the other bra. Round either side of the triangle, and connect them with two big swooping lines. You need to add additional seam allowance on either side because you're going to pleat it. I did .75 inch pleats, but you can do any size you like. Pleat the sides and you'll end up with two bust cups. If you're doing straps instead of a halter, do all of the above steps, but instead of connecting the triangles together, just make each one as long as the strap you want. Again, I used two laters. Just stitch your layers together, leaving a small gap, turn it right side out, don't worry about topstitching, we'll do that later.
Using the creases you pre-pressed earlier, attach your bust cup to the front of your bodice piece. They should overlap slightly in the middle, and make sure your collar lays flat. Serge or sew it in place. For straps its better to put the top on and have a friend pin the straps to the proper place in the back, take it off, sew them in place.
Draft a circle skirt. I'm not going to detail this, because it's the simplest thing on earth. The center of the circle needs to be as big around as your hips, and it can be as long or short as you want it. I wanted five layers, so I cut one circle pattern out, and traced it onto a couple other fabrics as well. Once you have your circle skirt cut, cut in a straight line from the inner circle to the outer one. Sew it back together except for 6inches closest to the center. That'll be where the zipper goes.
Here you see you attach the skirt. I did two layers of Chiffon and two layers of tulle and one layer of the fabric from the rest of the dress. I did all the regular hemming around the base of each skirt, and topstitched around the bodice. I also overlocked all of my seams. What you can't see is that you have to put in the zipper. I'm not going to try and explain it, because I barely managed to do it myself. It goes through the top few inches of skirt and all the way up the bodice.