So this is my take on the a-line dress. It's really simple to make up. So simple, infact, that it barely qualifies as being 'beyond the basics'! That's why I've called it the 'just' beyond the basics dress...
It has a gently gathered neckline and some waist ties to give it some shape. I really like inserting ties into the side seams. They stay on nicely and you don't lose them in the wash!
If you're a regular reader of our blog you'll know that my four year old Lizzy has an aversion to wearing anything other than dresses. This dress is so comfy it's our 'wear instead of shorts' substitute. It's summer here in Sydney and it's perfect for hot days - it's baggy, loose and cool. Here's
a similar one (no gathering around the neck) that I made ages ago.
I made this one up in Liberty. Every time I sew with Liberty I fall more in love with how beautifully it sews up. It's the most amazing fabric ! That said, if you want to go at having making one of these dresses, don't forget our golden rule of pattern alteration. Repeat after me 'Don't use your favourite/most expensive fabric the first time you alter a pattern.'
If you'd like to make one of your own, click on read more to find out how you can do so. It's really easy... promise!
Firstly... can I just apologise for these photos? I'm not a great photographer at the best of times but these are truly awful. I do most of my sewing at night or early in the morning and the photos are a result of this.
To make this dress, all you'll need is fabric, a button and embroidery thread and bias tape. I made my own but there are plenty of lovely pre made tapes to chose from, too.
Right, apologies out of the way, lets start with a tiny little bit of pattern alteration.
You need to cut both your back and front piece on the fold. Take your front piece and add a little extra down the centre front seam to allow for gathering. Don't you love terms like 'a little extra'? Just to give you an idea I added about 8cm on the fold for a size four dress. Like most things in this series it's not an exact science. The more you add to the front, the more gathery it will be.
You'll also want to add some length (This is a good hint for anything with a waist bow as they tend to pull the length of the dress up) I added about 10cm. This is what my font piece looked like when I cut it out
Cut the back on the fold too. All you need to do with this one is to increase the length. (just like you did on the front piece.)
Next you have to cut some strips for the waist ties. In terms of calculating the dimensions the length needs to be the finished length you want + 4cm and the width needs to be the finished width you want x 4. Easy. (of course you would iron your fabric... ahem...) Nothing like a photo like this to add to the overall aesthetic of your blog!
Lets start by making the ties for the waist bow. It would seem that in my early morning sewing stupor I forgot to take photos. Never fear - if you click here
, I show you how to do it in another tutorial.
Done it? Good.
Now you need to cut a piece to make the facing for the back opening. Down the centre back fold, measure the length that you want your back opening to be (you need to be able to pull it over your child's head!) and add about 6cm. this is the length that your back facing needs to be.
The width of your back facing piece should be about 8cm. Iron in 1cm on two of the long sides and one of the short sides and top stitch around these sides.
Iron the facing piece in half lengthways and draw a line down this fold. The line needs to be the length that you want your back opening to be. Pin the facing to the back right sides together. Line the centre fold on the facing with the centre fold on the back of the dress
Using as narrow a seam allowance as possible, starting at the neckline sew all the way down the length of the line you have drawn, pivot at the bottom and sew all the way back up the other side.
Take a pair of scissors and (carefully!) cut down the line that you have drawn. You should be cutting between the two rows of stitches. Be careful not to cut through the row if stitches at the bottom. Carefully snip to out to the two bottom corners.
Pull the facing through so that it sits wrong sides together with the back of the dress. You'll need to carefully stretch it so that it sits flat.
Next, take your front piece and decide where you want the gathering to start and finish. Mark these points with pins. I like to keep my gathering close to the centre front, but you can gather the whole front if you like.
Gather between the markings you have made.
Make sure that your gathers are even and stitch over them to keep them in place. Sew the front and back right sides together at the shoulder seams. Finish your shoulder seams. Apply bias tape to the neck. This
is a good place to look if you need some bias tape help.
With the front and back pieces right sides together measure how far down you want to insert the the waist ties.
Pin the waist ties into the side of the dress between the front and back pieces. You're going to sew them in when you sew the side seams. Make sure the length of the tie is facing in towards the dress.
Sew the side seams of the dress. You should sew the waist ties in with this seam, too.
Finish your edges.
Finally, bind your armholes and hem your dress. Attach a button to the back and make a button loop. If you need some help with this, here
is a good place to learn all about it.
Done! How easy was that?
PS - Pop in later this week to see what Maryanne made with an aline pattern - it's gorgeous!