This full-skirted tea dress by Amanda Walker features darts, tucks, pleats and gathers, which all help to create a beautiful and flattering silhouette. The gingham pattern will disguise any minor imperfections, making this garment a good introduction to shaping techniques.
- Gingham fabric, 1.5m x 4.3m
- Concealed zip, 56cm
- Coordinating thread
- 8-10 (red line): Bust - 88cm, Waist - 66cm
- 10-12 (black line): Bust - 91cm, Waist - 70cm
- 12-14 (green line): Bust - 95cm, Waist - 74cm
Front bodice and facing: cut one of each on the fold
Back bodice and facing: cut one pair of each
Skirt: cut three on the fold, plus one pair
Waistband: cut one
1.5cm seam allowance used unless otherwise stated.
Stitch a midi dress
1 Download and print the pattern. Cut out all of the pieces as indicated in the cutting guide. Stitch the darts into the front and back bodice pieces, beginning at the base. Press the darts towards the centre.
2 Create a tuck at each side of the front, pin and stitch along the waistline. Neaten the side and centre-back seam edges. Pin the front and back bodice pieces right sides together, matching the shoulder seams. Stitch together, then press the seam allowance open.
3 Lay the facing on top of the bodice, right sides together, matching the necklines. Pin and stitch around the neckline. Clip the seam allowances around the curve then understitch on the right side of the facing, close to the seam line.
4 Match the armholes of the bodice, pin and stitch together. Clip the curved seam allowance then turn to the right side by threading the back bodice parts through the shoulders. Tease out the seam allowance around the neckline and armholes and press flat.
5 Match the front and back bodice side seams, pin and stitch from the base to the underarm, ensuring the armhole seams are open. Press the seam open and fold the facing inside the bodice. Neaten the base edge of the facing. Fold the waistband in half, neaten the folded ends and then match the raw edge to the base of the bodice. Pin and stitch in place.
6 Stitch the five skirt pieces together, one at a time with right sides facing. The pieces cut on the fold make up the front and sides, and the pair makes up the back. Neaten the seam allowances and straight edges of the centre-back seam edge. Make two rows of stitching within the side panel’s waistband seam allowance using the widest stitch on your machine.
7 Pleat the skirt as indicated on the pattern pieces and secure by stitching along the waist. Gently pull the thread so the width matches that of the bodice, then distribute the gathers evenly across. Pin the skirt and bodice right sides together at the waist with the waistband sandwiched in between. Stitch together and neaten the raw edges.
8 Fold the dress in half lengthways, right sides facing, matching the back seam. Leave the first 53.5cm from the neckline open to accommodate the zip. Stitch the remainder of the seam together.
9 Change to a zipper foot. Fold and press the seam allowance of the opening, then open it out and, with the right side facing, place the opened zip face-down, matching the teeth to the creased line of the seam allowance. Pin in place.
10 Place the teeth of the zip into the groove of a concealed zipper foot. If you are stitching with a normal zipper foot, uncurl the teeth with your fingertips. Leave the last 3cm of the zip unstitched. Backstitch to secure then sew the other side of the zip in place.
11 Thread the zip pull through to the right side and close it. Neaten the raw edge at the skirt base, then fold up and press a 3cm hem. Hand stitch in place so it is invisible on the right side. Fold the seam allowance of the back facing along the zip. Pin, then slip stitch by hand.