If you’ve got a stash of stretchy fabric at home but don’t think you’ve got the skills to create the ideal pattern for it, this project is made for you. Using just a few simple techniques and a dress you already have hanging in your wardrobe, you can create your own complete pattern from scratch… so, what are you waiting for?
- Fabric: stretch jersey, 140cm wide, 1m
- A simple shift dress that fits you well
- Optional: ric rac or other decorative banding
- This is a cut-to-suit pattern, so you will be able to make the dress to fit your exact measurements. This guide applies to dress sizes 6–16.
Smooth out your chosen fabric and fold it in half, right sides outwards. Place your dress in the centre, making sure that there is enough fabric left around it to draw an extra 1.5cm for the seams (this is essential on every edge except the bottom, where you can allow as much as you like to account for your chosen length, including hemline).
Draw around the dress with tailor’s chalk, leaving 1.5cm seam allowance as explained above, and cut out. Pin the shoulders and side seams together, with right sides facing.
To create the front neckline; measure the difference between the front and back necklines on the dress you are working from – it will probably be about 5cm. Carefully chalk this line out on the front of your newly cut dress fabric (on wrong or right side) and cut it off.
Set your sewing machine to work with a straight stitch on it’s longest length. With right sides together begin by joining together the top shoulder seams, then the side seams, starting under the arm hole. Try your dress on to check your progress.
If you have a removable arm on your machine, (usually used when working armholes), remove it now. Set your machine to work with a zig zag or overlock setting and carefully work around the neckline and hemlines.
To achieve a neat finish, fold your neckline inwards by 5mm once, then again, and finish with a straight stitch, working through all the layers of fabric. Repeat with the armhole edges.
To create the hemline; turn the hem inwards by 1cm once satisfied with the length. Press, and turn up once more, by another 1cm. Sew into place using a straight machine stitch, working through all layers of fabric.
To finish, use trimmings (ric rac or stretch lace) to decorate the edges of the armholes, neckline, and hemline. Attach these by working with a zig zag stitch, set to it’s maximum length and three quarters of it’s maximum width.