Boy have I had a busy week! I went to Fabric Weekend and met about twenty new sewing friends . I laughed so hard with my room mate Mie from Sewing Like Mad. We all shopped for fabric, ate like maniacs, and stayed up late talking. I felt like a college kid hanging out with my buds and I miss them already! I could go on about how much fun we had but I’ll be writing a post as soon as I get my photos edited.
I came home to have to plan a family birthday party party for my youngest who turned four Monday, and the next day my older daughter was graduating from high school! Let me tell you having a child graduate from high school will really turn you into a bowl of jello. You will feel some weird feelings, maybe. Relief and surprise that you were able to raise a kid to this age without completely ruining her or losing her in a department store, sadness that your little girl is growing up and away, and wonder at how the years could pass so fast!
Well, I had to try to stop acting like a total space case, and think of a project to post for Melissa’s Sundress Series PRONTO . I had been having a bit of a creative block due to my head turning into jello and my big hangover from my weekend away. The photos were supposed to be sent over that day and I had NOTHING. NIENTE. Was I going to have to e mail my organized and super together blog friend Melissa and reveal to her what a California flake I really am?
I have to mention here that you really NEED to go over and check out The Sundress Series to get some ideas for your summer sewing. It’s a month long series dedicated to making sundresses. There are daily tutorials from a variety of sewing bloggers. Girls projects, adult dresses, easy ones, more advanced ones. Something for everyone there friends. Just in time for summer.
Meanwhile, Isabelle found some funky silk fabric I had been hoarding for some future project and insisted she NEEDED a dress made from it to wear to her graduation THAT NIGHT.
The lightbulbs turned on and off in my head, one of them popped, there was some actual computing going on in there, despite feeling really scattered, and I came up with this simple dress to make that would showcase the outrageousness of this fabric.
This is the type of fabric you either love or hate. I love it. But I was giving it up for my baby’s graduation dress.
It was 2 PM and the dress needed to be ready by 5:30. Could I really make the dress and pattern by then? Yes, and I did. It helps that this is a super easy project that any beginner could tackle. So there you have it.
THE HI / LO BANDEAU DRESS
The idea came from a dress I had already made in August of 2013, the Galaxy Dress. I had been meaning to write a tutorial for it because I had just thrown it together without a pattern the first time I made it, but hadn’t gotten around to it….
Cut a pattern piece about 8 inches longer then your waist to knee length measurement.
Fold it the same as the front piece and mark the waist knee length on both the side seam and the center fold.
On the center fold measure down about 6 inches. Now draw a gentle slop upwards to the side seam .
When drawing the slope butt the pattern pieces right up against each other on the stitch lines. If you look at my side seams in the above left photo they are overlapping because I had already drawn in my seam allowances and was matching up the seam lines. This is why I would recommend waiting to draw in your seam allowances until last. You can do it either way.
Draw seam allowances.
Add 1 5/8 inches to the top of both skirt pieces for the elastic casing you will sew.
Draw your side seams. Make sure to square up your edges. Squaring seam allowances is a technique I learned years ago in fashion design school to make it easier to line up a pattern. Most industry pattern will have square seam allowances. Home sewing patterns rarely do. Something I find slightly annoying as it reduces accuracy in sewing perfectly aligned pieces. As you may know from experience, 1/4 inch off can really mess things up.
I’m not going to give very detailed directions on sewing the hi lo dress, as there are so many tutorials on the net for these techniques but I will highlight them so you can research or Google how to do them elsewhere if you aren’t familiar with them yet. I have a really great sewing book by Connie Amaden Crawford, an old teacher, called Fashion Sewing, I like to reference.
Following sewing directions on the internet can get a little wacky sometimes!
Order of sewing for the dress:
Serge or zig zag raw edges. If I had had more time I would have sewn French seams but this is the quick way here.
Sew or serge the side seams of the top. If sewing press open seams and if serging sew another stitchline with your normal sewing machine to reinforce the seam.
Iron under seam allowance and fold casing over 1 inch. Stitch as close as you can to the edge, leaving a small opening for the elastic.
Sew the side seams then hem the skirt with a very narrow or rolled hem.
Gather the waist of skirt to the same size as the bodice width.
Sew the waist casing.
Pin the skirt to the top and sew with a 1 5/8 seam allowance. Iron the waist allowance upwards folding under the seam allowance.
Stitch the seam allowance 1 inch above the waist.
Leave a small opening to insert elastic.
Cut two pieces of elastic 2 inches smaller then the upper chest and the waist. Insert and stitch closed the small openings.