Easter is always the perfect time to make a dress. I made mine in time to wear it last Sunday since I will be home on Easter with my family watching General Conference. I love the design process of selecting the color and style. And all the bright feminine colors and fabrics this time of year just make me want to sew.
I bought this fabric knowing it would make the perfect lightweight shift dress. I loved it so much and it was so inexpensive, that I picked up some extra and made this top out of it. The sleeves and tulip hem are my favorite parts of the dress. I feel like they set the dress apart from the other shift dresses I've made. And the best news is I will have no problem wearing it throughout my whole pregnancy and after the baby is born! The pop of cobalt against the chartreuse was the perfect contrast. I actually went to Nordstrom planning on getting this same pump in the chartreuse, but they were out of my size. I felt a little like I was settling for the blue, but I ended up loving it more than what I was originally planning on! (and FYI, these heels are crazy comfortable)
I've linked to everything I am wearing below along with a few similar dresses below if you aren't a sewer. (the tutorial click through is below)
Click below for the tutorial...
2 yards of thin chiffon/lightweight fabric (I used this fabric)
Loose woven top for pattern
Using your loose fitting woven top as a guide, cut out your pattern pieces (DRESS FRONT, DRESS BACK, 2 SLEEVES, NECKLINES 2 CUFFS). Extend the shirt down to your desired length for the dress. Three inches before you get to your desired length, start to curve in slightly as you draw down to create the curved hemline. I made my back hemline three inches longer than the front hem. Trace the pattern for your sleeve hole and make come to right below your bicep. Add and extra inch of width to the width of the sleeve because we will be gathering this in to create the puff. I measured around my arm where the cuffs would hit, and added about 1 1/2" for room to pull it on as well as seam allowance. Make sure to allow for seam allowances when you cut. Mine are all 1/4" since all of my edges are serged.
Mark the darts on your DRESS FRONT. To do this, measure 5" down from the armpit, mark, then 3" down from there and mark. In the middle of those two points, measure 4" toward the center and make a mark. Match up your side marks pin, and start stitching along the edge toward your center mark to create a triange. Don't backstich when you get to the triangel point, just go all the way off of your fabric. Tie your loose strings to secure (backstitching will create a pucker at the center of the dart and won't lay flat). Repeat this with the other side. Press your extra dart fabric down.
Take your DRESS FRONT and DRESS BACK and place them R.S. together. Pin along the top of the shoulders and stitch with 1/4" seam allowance. Finish your seam allowances with a serger or zigzag stitch.
Open your dress and lay if flat, R.S. facing up. Lay one of your SLEEVES on top of the dress R.S. together, with the middle of the sleeve curve matching up with the middle of the stitched seam in your dress (see illustration). Pin together at this point, then continue down one side of the curved sleeve pinning to the sleeve opening, and repeat along the other side of the sleeve curve. Stitch together with 1/4" seam allowance. Finish your seam allowances with a serger or zigzag stitch. Repeat this with your other sleeve.
Flip your dress inside out and with R.S. together, stitch from the end of the sleeve up the sleeve and down the side seam of the dress with 1/4" seam allowance. Do this to both sides and finish off your seam allowances.
Then use a basting stitch and baste around the very edge of each sleeve. Make sure to leave long loose strings when you start and stop the stitch, and don't backstitch. Pull one of the loose strings and start to gently bunch up the edges of your sleeves about an inch or so. Evenly distribute the gathers around the sleeve's edge.
Take your CUFF and fold them R.S. together lengthwise and stitch up to create a circle. Fold in half all around with R.S. facing out and press. Take one of your cuffs and slide it over the edge of your sleeve with the salvage edges pointing down, matching up with the salvage edges of your sleeve. Stitch around the sleeve with 1/4" seam allowance, finish off the seam allowance, and press the cuff down flat. Repeat this with your second prepped cuff.
Stitch your NECKLINE pieces (front and back) R.S. together along each edge to create a big loop for your neckline. Serge along the outer edge of your neckline to finish off this edge. Lay your neckline over your neck hole opening in your dress with the R.S. of your dress facing out and the W.S. of your neckline facing out. Match up your side seams and pin the neckline all around the neck hole. Stitch together around the neck with 1/4" seam allowance. Finish off seam allowances. Fold neckline under and press flat. If you would like, you can topstitch all around the neckline very close to the top to secure your neckline in place.
Serge or zig zag stitch along your bottom hem, press up 1/4" - 1/2" and stitch. Press flat once completed.