This Summer I have decided to do some Selfless Sewing for my family members. Normally I love to sew for myself but after 3+ years of sewing, I have made myself too many things! This make is for my lovely sister-in-law Miranda. She chose a sweet ruffled-sleeve baby doll dress, the Summer Dress by Indie Pattern on Etsy. This patterns goes up to a 50" hip. I made Miranda a size small based on her bust measurement and the pattern is true to size.
Miranda chose the gorgeous Lucie Ochre Viscose Crepe for her dress. She loved the texture and drape we both admired how it's a busy pattern yet is really subtle and chic. It's a bit of a shifty fabric so I chose to cut it with my trusted rotary cutter and cutting mat which I highly recommend. You could do this with fabric scissors if you used lots of pins to attach the pattern pieces to the fabric.
Here I have cut out the pattern pieces and the bottom dress part is shown folded on the right side and on the bottom (just to make it fit in the photo). This pattern uses less than 2 yards of fabric!
I will admit that I did not love the instructions for this pattern. The pattern claims to be beginner friendly but there were no instructions on making the darts. To make the darts, I recommend looking at video tutorials of making darts and it helps to cut two little notches on the bottom of the pattern to help you know where to fold the fabric. It also helps to use a washaway pen and draw the dart line and the point where it ends on the fabric. You can also iron the fabric flat to help sew your darts.
Pins are your best friend with shifty fabrics like this viscose crepe! Using lots of pins will ensure the fabric doesn't shift around too much. This viscose crepe was a little tricky to work with but it was a lot more stable than a silk or satin charmeuse would be (which is a really smooth fabric that glides around a ton).
The pattern instructions recommended hemming the pieces and then joining them after but I did not want the garment to have seams poking out in visible places and I wanted a more professional finish so I hemmed the edges of the neckline and bottom ruffle after joining my seams which was easy but presented an issue with the partially sleeveless / ruffled arm scye.
I decided to do a bias tape bound arm hole to ensure a professional and stable finish. I used a cotton bias tape in a beige color. This tutorial by Sew Over It is very helpful if you are doing this for the first time - this was my first time because I don't usually wear sleeveless tops.
Armscye binding in progress. I attached the ruffle first and then put the binding over it so that the ruffle was attached under the binding and it has a really nice clean finish and the binding adds stability.
This fabric does fray a lot so remember to finish your edges - if you have an overlocker / serger, it may be helpful to overlock your seams before you pre wash the fabric - mine frayed a fair amount in the wash. If you do not have a serger, doing a large zig zag over the seams would suffice.
This is the finished dress on my beautiful sister in law Miranda!