I decided to join in with the March Social Sew link up organised by Allie J. This month’s theme was Anything Goes, and I thought why not join in the fun! So this dress is my offering. The minty green ponte knit fabric was bought last year from Clothspot and at the time I made a wrap effect skirt and also cut out a dress. The dress never got made up, though (you know how it is…), so this project was a UFO for me and the onset of Spring this year was the perfect nudge I needed to get it finished.
For the shape of my dress, I didn’t use any pattern in particular other than a basic, slim-fitting tee shirt pattern that I had taken from a RTW long-sleeved top a while back. All I did was to cut it longer for a dress and curve the hemline at the sides for a shirt hem effect. Any basic shift style dress pattern with bust darts and a round neckline would be fine to use for a style like mine. These two patterns, could work well for instance: The Inari dress by Named, the Kristin by Style Arc.
I hadn’t actually decided what sort of sleeve to do at the time of cutting out, but all the statement sleeves that are so popular now had me thinking of ideas. I knew I wanted some kind of small bell sleeve effect so I started to play with ideas on a scrap of fabric. I settled on a sort of mock pleat effect pintuck detail, which is actually really simple to do. I determined how deep I wanted my cuff and then cut two long sections of fabric. They are probably about a third longer than the width of the sleeve bottom.
The first thing I did was to do an overlocked edge instead of a turned hem of any sort because I didn’t want bulk to sew pintucks through. I set a wide cutting/stitching width, a very small stitch length and a fairly tight tension on my overlocker. You could practise first on scraps to get the same effect. Then using my iron I just ironed folds along my fabric every 1.25”.
The next step was to stitch close to the edge of each fold. Be sure to leave thread tails so that you can neatly sew in the ends to prevent unravelling of stitches and to get a clean hem. After that neatly sew the cuff ends together into a tube and then attach them to your lower sleeve edges slightly easing and gathering the excess fabric to fit the sleeve width….et voila finished cuffs!
The hem of my dress has curved sides and on each curved part, I had to trim the hem width away to make sure I got nice curves and no uneven pointy edges. This meant I had to make a step in my hemstitching, but I rather like it. I could have done a small hem all around but I thought a deeper hem on the main area helps the dress hang better, plus it might have rolled outwards if not. Finally, I cut a proper facing for the neckline using the neck shape on my pattern and also added a little slit with button and loop closure at the back. My neck facing is lightly interfaced with a knit interfacing which gives it a little bit of body and stability.
And that’s it…a nice simple shaped shift dress with a bit of added character using sleeve and hem detail. Maybe you feel inspired to try out some kind of customisation yourself to create something unique? I hope sew!
I think my dress is going to be extremely comfy to wear and it’s such a happy colour… Plus the Ponte knit, like my other sweater dress, is like wearing secret PJ’s too, shhh keep it to yourself 😉
PIN FOR LATER!