Today we'll prep the pattern and cut and mark the fabric. This dress should be really easy to sew. The biggest difficulty will be getting used to sewing knits. This pattern could be easily modified, so I'll include instructions for two simple variations (a reversible dress and a maternity dress) at the end of each day.
Here's what you should do today:
First, read through all the pattern instructions so you have a sense of what you're going to do and what each pattern piece corresponds to. Also, make sure you understand what the grainline, crossgrain, and selvedges are. If you don't, check out this previous post. Commercial patterns like this one include seam allowance, so you don't have to worry about that. I'm making View A, so I only need pattern pieces 1, 2, and 3.
|Cut out your pattern pieces. Don't cut right on the line,|
leave a nice inch or so for now. If you're making one of
the short versions (like View A), you can cut right along
the hem line for View A.
|Save the bottom piece of pieces #1 and #2|
(the front and back). Make sure to label
them clearly! You'll want these pieces in the
future if you choose to make a different
style of the same dress.
|Iron the tissue paper pattern pieces. Use low heat, no steam.|
It's best to use a dry iron (no water inside) so you don't
accidentally get the tissue paper wet. You want your
pattern to be flat-a big wrinkle could change the size of
the pattern piece.
|Here's a tip I learned from my grandmother: to make sure|
your grainline runs straight, measure the distance between
the line marked on the pattern and either the fold or
selvedges, whichever is closer.
|Here's how I ended up laying mine out.|
You don't actually have to pin piece #3
in place, just make sure there is room for
it. Now you're ready to cut.
|A good cutting tip for stretchy fabrics (or|
for slinky fabrics): place a towel underneath.
Make sure the towel is flat. It will hold the
fabric still and prevent it from moving or
stretching as you cut.
|Cut right along the line for your indicated|
size. Ideally, keep the part you're trimming
off in one piece.
|Label the part you trimmed off! This way, if you need to|
make a different size in the future, you can! You already
paid for the pattern, so make sure you get your money's
|If you're making a maternity dress, you'll|
|You can unfold the fabric before cutting piece #3. I would|
place it somewhere where you won't cut in to a bigger piece
of fabric. That way you can keep some extra squares of
fabric for something else.
|Ok, you're all ready to start pinning and sewing tomorrow!|
Make sure you have your elastic ready (I'm improvising
and sewing two pieces of 1/4" elastic together because
that's what I had on hand).
Reversible dress: Cut the pattern as indicated above on two different fabrics. Skip pattern piece #3 (the casing). You'll make a casing by just sewing the inner dress to the outer dress. The visible seams will be the same!
Maternity dress: You might want to go up one size from your usual size to allow for a bigger bust and belly. If you do this, you can extend the casing (pattern piece #3) by the difference between the two sizes (which should only be ~an inch or less). You also will want to make the whole dress a little longer at the center front. Here's how:
1) Measure the difference between the two sizes at the stitching line (just below the bust). Cut pattern piece #3 along the center line. Add a piece of tissue paper in the middle to make it wider by the amount you just measured. Make the elastic ~1/2" longer as well. This will allow for more cinching below the bust to go along with a slightly bigger bust and belly.
2) Add length at the center front. See picture below:
|Cut along this black line. Then, once the dress is put|
together, you can try it on and decide exactly how much
length you want to add/take away before hemming.
You might want to swoop a bit more (make it more
rounded) than my lovely drawing here.