So here it is, my very first adventure in pattern drafting. Yes, it may look like your basic sleeveless, gathered tea dress, and it’s similar to other’s I’ve sewn, but to me it’s super-duper exciting. I’ve enjoyed sewing this style of top, it looks super cute and swingy on little ones, so I thought about making a similar style into a button-front dress (so you can easily get it on over a bulgy newborn head).
The finished version is a basic lined dress, with a button-through front (or snaps! I love snaps!) and either a pleated or simple gathered skirt. It’s a really quick sew, perfect for beginners, and because the main body of the dress uses just under a half-metre, it’s perfect for showing off some funky fabric.
Let me tell you how I I designed it (ooh – get me, I’m a designer!). I used the measurements from Winifred Aldrich‘s pattern cutting book to make the basic block.
I used graph paper, which makes things really easy and helps with my terrible maths skills. I also needed a calculator for even the most basic adding, but meh, my brain has limited capacity I transferred it to the pattern paper with carbon.
Once the basic shape is transferred, I added a 1cm seam allowance and cut the pattern in some basic lining fabric – I like to use the super cheap Bomull from (you guessed it) Ikea, I have a bit left over from when I was sewing my curtains, and a stack of old duvet covers I need to use… when I get back to doing some me sewing I’ll chop them up for toiles.
Here it is! verison one of many with super luminous Kam snaps, yay. But you know, it turned out huge! it’s based on 3 month-old measurements, but when compared to an old dress on mini’s it was totally wrong.
See how it’s bigger? Argh! This is her first Christmas dress, which was 6-9 months sice, and it’s M&S, and we all know they tend to size on the hefty side. So back to the drawing board.
I re-measured, re-cut, re-toiled, it still came out too big, so then I took some measurments from an old dress and altered by block along these, rather than the book. Then I altered the neckline and tweaked it a bit, here’s three of the versions…
The bottom left is closest to the final version. Add a skirt, et voilà!
Here’s the final version of the dress (although later I added a few cm to the skirt – never stop tweaking eh?),
I really like how the neckline turned out – I was going for more of a sweetheart feel, but it still turned out okay. I don’t want to cut it too low cos chubby little newborns don’t really have a neck. it actually looks kinda cute int he neutral colour, with a bit of a vintage vibe.
It’s also possible to make this dress reversible (although a bit tricky). I think a a shoulder fastener might be easier for a true reversible though.
I’m calling it Nancy, for all the negative Nancys out there who think that they can’t do anything creative, or that it’s not worth trying something new. This one’s for you!
PDF to follow,