Quick galactic summer dress tutorial

So here we have another tutorial!

This time it is to make a really quick and easy summer dress - sewing time approximately 1-2 hours start to finish. At that rate you can make a whole collection of them to take on holiday!

These dresses are super stretchy, made from soft jersey and perfect for hot weather. They also take up very little room when packing to go away. Very handy indeed.

You will need:

An existing stretch dress/vest top/t-shirt
Tracing/pattern/baking paper
Approx 1-1.5 meters of stretch fabric (pre-washed for shrinkage)

Step 1 - Create your pattern

Take your existing vest top and lay it out onto the paper you will use for making your pattern. Some people use proper pattern paper, I happen to prefer Baking Paper - cheap and just as good! You can either trace around the whole shirt, or fold it in half and trace one side. Tracing one side means you get a nice even pattern, symmetrical for cutting your fabric. Trace around the edge ensuring that you have left enough room for seam allowance (about 1.5cm extra).To make a dress from a vest top, extend downwards allowing enough room for hips and keep going until you reach your desired length of dress. Sketch in the neckline you would like.
Trace a top
Step 2 - Cut out your pattern

This pattern piece can be used for both front and back if your neckline will be the same on both sides. Make any alterations you feel necessary. I like V-back dresses so I made 2 pattern pieces. 1 round neck for the front and an extended V for the back.
Either use 1 pattern piece for both front or back

or create 2 if neckline will be different!
 Step 3 - Cutting out

So here you need to take your stretchy (pre-washed!) fabric - check the direction of stretch! The most stretch needs to go across your body (not down it) so ensure you lay the fabric out with the stretch width-ways. Fold it in half, right sides facing and pin on your pattern. (The picture is for demonstration - in reality as my fabric was so wide I managed to get both halves on one side of fabric, cutting the whole thing out in one go!)
Pin on your patter for cutting
Cut those bad boys out

1 front 1 back all done!

 Step 4 - Pin together and sew

The easy bit. Put your pieces right sides facing and pin the hell out of it. Right down each side and across the shoulder seams. Get sewing! I have gone straight for the overlocker here - perfect for knit fabric. If you don't have one don't panic, a zig zag stitch will work just as well (you could even get fancy and use a twin needle - recommended for sewing knit fabrics).



 Step 5 - Try it on

Now is a good time to try it on for size. Depending on how stretchy your new fabric is compared to the one you traced, you may find you need to make some adjustment. Put the dress on inside out and if any bits need changing, just pin it on yourself in order to take in or reshape the side seams. (Or get someone else to help!) You may also wish to change the neckline now if its sitting too high. Snip it into the shape you want (but don't forget it will be hemmed and lose another cm - so don't go too low! - Unless you like that kind of thing of course ;-)

Step 6 - Hem all the edges

If you are happy with the fit, hem the dress! For the arm holes and neckline you can stretch bias binding, make your own binding or simply just neaten the edges with a zip-zag stitch and fold over. Turn up the hem and stitch everything in place! (I have used a straight stitch for the arm and neck - and a zig zag for the hem - the zig zag avoids puckering and wavy edges).
Pin/hem the edges

Sew them down!

 Step 7 - Try it on again!

Make some last minute adjustments if you want. I changed my mind about a round neck and pinched it in, forming a little V with pleats. The back was also gaping a bit so I sewed that up a few cm to solve the problem.
Changing the neckline

Step 8 - Iron it then wear it

If anyone makes one of these do share you pictures! Facebook, Twitter and Comments :-)

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