A lovely customer, Denise, reminded me recently that I had long ago promised to post a tutorial on how I made this patchwork strip dress using a modified "Simply Sweet Tunic Top & Blouse" pattern.
I used a set of six remnant strips of Liberty to make the dress, each one in a different print and each remnant cut in half to cover the dress front and back.
Made with Liberty fabric, this dress is delightfully light and airy and a breeze to sew. You can, of course, use any fabric to make the dress. If you don't have that many different prints, two or three different prints (alternated along the width of the dress) would also work.
The pattern instructions are in numbered steps and I have used lettered steps here to distinguish the tutorial instructions from the original. Grab your pattern and here we go:
- Follow pattern Steps 1-4 up to and including Step 4 to print and assemble your pattern. NOTE: in Step 4 you will not need to assemble the Sleeve pattern piece as the dress we are making here is sleeveless.
- Modify the pattern piece for the Front Yoke by rounding it off at the angle of the neckline as shown in Step A above. If you are confident you can do this free-hand or, if not, use a plate or some other round household object to draw the curve.
- Add a 3/8" (1cm) seam to the neckline of the Front and Back Yokes as indicated by the red lines above. (This is because in the original pattern the raw edges at the neckline are encased by bias binding but in this version we are lining the Yokes and need the seam allowance to sew Yokes and Linings together.)
- Follow pattern Step 5 to cut the Yoke pieces from your fabric. NOTE: however, that you will need an extra set of Front Yoke pieces and one extra Back Yoke piece for the Lining.
- You will also need enough bias binding to finish the armholes. This is less than specified in the pattern because the neckline bias is omitted.
- You will not need to finish any raw edges of the Yokes or Linings at this stage.
Next, on to the Dress pieces:
You will need to cut two sets of six fabric strips for the Dress Front and Back. I made the Size 5 and used strips measuring 4 1/2" wide by 21" long.
A suggested guide to cutting appropriately sized strips for your chosen pattern size is to subtract 1/2" (1.25cm) from the width and 1 1/2" (4cm) from the length of the strips for every size below Size 5. Alternatively for every size above Size 5, increase the strips by those amounts.
- Join your strips by sewing right sides together using a seam allowance of 3/8" (1cm) until you have a panel of six as shown in Step B above for the Dress Front. Repeat to make a second panel of six for the Dress Back. NOTE: I finished the long raw edges of the seams with an overlocker (serger). If you do not have an overlocker you will need to zig-zag these edges neatly after sewing your seams.
- Press all seams and use your Top/Blouse pattern piece to trace and cut the armholes and side seams for each of your panels as shown in Step B above. Continue the side seams from the bottom of the Top/Blouse piece to the bottom of the panel on each side.
- Finish the raw edges across the horizontal top of each panel (from armhole to armhole) and down the sides of each panel (from armhole to hem) with an overlocker (serger) or zig-zag stitch. You will also need to sew a long basting stitch across the top of each panel (just under the edge) so you can gather the Dress pieces to fit the Yokes later on.
Set your panels aside for the next Steps C & D (which replace/modify Steps 6 & 7 in the pattern):
- Now sew your Front Yokes right sides together to Back Yoke at shoulders using a 1/2" (1.25cm) seam allowance. Press and repeat with Lining pieces.
- Sew Yokes to Linings right sides together around the neckline as shown in Step C above using a 3/8" (1cm) seam allowance.
- Trim around this seam, flip the Yoke right side out and press around the neckline in preparation for finishing below:
- Toptstich around the neckline as shown in Step D above.
- Finish across the bottoms of the Front and Back Yokes and Linings using an over overlocker (serger) or zig-zag stitch.
- Overlap Front Yokes at the bottom edges by about 1/2" (1.25cm) and secure by basting together as show in Step D above.
To finish your Dress follow the remainder of the steps in the order of the dot points below (Use Steps 6, 7, 8 & 11 of the pattern to guide you on seam & hem allowances and bias binding techniques):
- Gather Dress panels and sew to bottoms of Front and Back Yokes.
- Sew side seams of Dress.
- Finish armholes with bias binding.
- Hem Dress.
As always, I'd love to know how you go with this one and to see pics of any finished dresses.
Also, if you need any further detail or if any of the above is less than clear please let me know and I'll be happy to help!