A Summer Dress Sewing Bee

Quimper Hittys

We’ve been having a bit of a sewing bee around here – making more summer dresses with Liberty Tana Lawn fabric.  I’ve recorded the process with more details and a pattern:

.

.

Pattern

This will make a slightly short-waisted dress with a full gathered skirt. The pattern is drawn on squared paper – in this image, each square is 1/4 of an inch. The bodice is 4 1/2 inches measured from sleeve to sleeve, and 3 1/2 inches front to back. The skirt is 12 1/2 inches wide and 4 1/2 inches in depth.

.

 

 

Positioning

I sometimes cut a template to help position the bodice – it is a trifle smaller than the bodice pattern, and shows what will be visible on the front once the bodice is cut out and sewn and helps with positioning the bodice. I trace the shape with a Frixion pen, the colour disappears when it is ironed!

.

.

Place the fabric on the lining

I positioned the cut-out dress bodice with the right side of the fabric upside down, and diagonal to the lining fabric. The lining is a clean, soft and worn hanky.

.

.

stitch neck and sleeve openings

The first stitching goes up the back opening, around the neckline and back down to the waistline again. Next I stitched the sleeve openings. I use about an eighth-inch seam allowance. A slightly bigger seam allowance at the sleeves will reduce the sleeve length if you like them shorter.

.

.

Back view of neck and sleeve stitching

 

.

.

slash and snip

Next I trimmed the sleeve edges of the bodice lining to match the bodice fabric and slashed the back opening, removing the neck hole.  To turn with ease, I snipped off the top corners of the back opening, and clipped the curved seam allowance at the curve of the neckline…

.

.

Turned

…after which I turned the bodice right side out and pressed the stitched edges flat…

.

.

trim side seam and waist edges

…and then trimmed the lining fabric at the at the sides and waist to the shape of the bodice.

.

.

side and sleeve seam

Next I stitched the side and sleeve seams in one seam, incorporating both the lining and the dress fabric.

.

.

clip

…clipped the seam allowances at the curve…

.

.

wooden spoon pressing

…then pressed the seam open…I have a nice wooden spoon (never used for cooking!) that fits nicely into the sleeve opening, and I use either a thumbnail or an iron to press the seam open against the wood…

.

.

overcast

…so that I can overcast the raw edges of the seam allowances to finish them.  You can just overcast the bodice edge to the lining edge, but I like to catch both together and stitch to the lining. This finishes the bodice.

.

.

Bodice completed

.

.

Cut out the skirt fabric

.

.

centre back

After cutting out the rectangle for the dress skirt, I hemmed the back opening by turning over the raw edge twice, and seaming it flat…

.

.

Quartering

After stitching the back opening edges, I fold the length of the fabric in quarters and crease the folds at the waist edge. I put a few tacking stitches in at three folds on the gathering edge: at the centre front; and where the two side seams will be positioned.

.

.

 

gather

Next the waist edge is gathered. One of the tacking marks is visible at the right side of this photo. Also notice that the stitch length is uneven. There are small stitches on one side of the fabric, and longer stitches on the other side. Stitching the gathering thread this way this helps make nice even folds when you draw the thread.

.

.

tack

Using the thread markers, I have tacked the skirt to the bodice in five places…the two back edges, the centre front, and the two side seams. This helps to even out the gathers.

.

.

Gathered and pinned

Then I align the gathers as much as possible and pin the skirt into place.

.

.

Waist seam

Sewing the skirt to the bodice, I use a back stitch.

.

.

stitch

…and then overcast the waist seam to the lining to neaten the raw edge.

.

.

Ladder Stitch

If you don’t want to leave the back open all the way down to the hem, you now need to stitch the centre back seam. I use either an overcast stitch, or as in this case, a ladder stitch.

.

.

flat

Either way, after it is stitched together the seam is easily opened and flattened with an iron, or by thumb pressing.

.

.

Hem

Finally hem the dress to the length you like…

.

.

Buttons and loops

…add fastenings…

.

.

more!

…the dress is done.

.

.

Pretty

…there!

.

.

cute

Now all the girls want sweet cool dresses for summer….

.

.

busy

We’re going to be busy!

.

.

 

21 thoughts on “A Summer Dress Sewing Bee

  1. Busy, but beautiful, beautiful, beautiful dresses are coming forth. How very kind of you to offer a pattern and your tutorial with it all. Thank you.

  2. Oh the delight and magic of all this amazing summer dress production. Thank you so much for the pattern, fabulous visual prompts and seamstress secrets you’ve shared. I love the long and short gathering stitches… What a revelation. Do you do one or two rows of gathering stitches? My girls are all clamoring for thier own summer frocks…it’s going to be busy in the sewing corner.

  3. wonderful photos and explanations. I always learn something from your how to posts…this time how to make sure the gathers are placed correctly!!! Thank you. I really like this pattern. The Country Hittys would also like to thank you!!

    • Gaggles of Hittys chattering and gossiping is the norm around here! I hope the how-to pictures are helpful to seamstresses who want to make tiny clothes for their dollies (and bears?)

  4. WOW, dear Hitty Lady, I have almost in there now… Thank you so much, I love, I really love to be in this(your creative) world… They are so beautiful and I can see how serious all details, you are doing great. Have a nice day, and weekend, Love and Hugs, nia

  5. Hello Quimper Hitty I am new to this awesome world of Hitty. I can’t Thank You enough for your beautiful and so in depth directions along with the beautiful pictures. It is amazing! I can’t wait to get started sewing for my Robert-Raikes 6 1/2 Hitty.I am going to hand sew her clothes.I think I will do a better sewing job hand sewning them. Again THANK YOU sooo very much !!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: