I actually made this dress at the beginning of the summer (and have worn it everywhere!) but am just now getting to blog about it. A couple years ago I made the caftan dress, and this dress is just an updated version with a little more of a sleeve built into the pattern itself…..but just as easy!
And when I say 90 minutes from start to finish…..I promise that it really will be around that amount of time (depending on how much the phone rings, or how many kid questions you have to answer).
The sizing works for women, teens, tweens and girls—-because you are using your own great fitting shirt to outline and make your pattern. The fabric I made on my dress was from a vintage Ikat cotton that I found at an estate sale this summer. I am guessing it was from the 70’s because that is what most of the other fabrics in the bin were .and the girl’s dress at the bottom I made from some light blue shirting material.
The dress will easily work out of knit or woven (give yourself a little extra seam allowances with woven) so you can decide which you wear more.
The tutorial I am going to show you below is for a girl for the sole purpose that it was easier to photograph than a women’s shirt….but you are going to follow the tutorial EXACTLY the same for a women’s dress.
I am going to give you two choices for a sleeve….but I promise to walk you through that as well. The women’s dress has a caftan sleeve and the girl’s dress at the bottom has a semi-cap sleeve…but that is the only choice you will have to make.
Are you ready to get started?
Supplies you will need:
* a posterboard
*a pen or sharpie
* fabric for your dress (take a shoulder to knee measurement)
girls—one shoulder to knee should be enough
women–double that measurement for a length of fabric for you
*a French curve if you have one—if not you can totally eyeball it!
Here is what you do…..
Step 1: Find a great fitting shirt. Fold in half lengthwise and press flat, matching all seams.
Step 2: Using a straight edge or ruler draw a line on the shoulder seam from the neck to 1-2 inches past where the sleeve is set in (beyond the sleeve line) allowing room for ease (.05 inches).
Step 3: Using your ruler, draw a line for your side adding ease (I did .5 inches and did not follow the curve of the shirt).
Step 4: Draw your center fold seam allowing for ease (again I used .5 inches)
Step 5: Using a French curve or another rounded shape, shape your neckline making it big enough that your head will slip through your dress.
Step 6: Form your caftan sleeve like the picture, matching shoulder seam straight down and right-angling your underarm seam to match side seam.
The other sleeve option is to make a semi-cap sleeve that you will see below. In order to make this type of sleeve use your French curve or other round bowl to form a sleeve that looks like the shape below and matches up with the side seam you have already drawn.
Wahoo—your pattern-making part is done!!!!
I have NOT added ANY seam allowances to this pattern because I want to be able to use it for knits or wovens. For knits, you can just use this pattern and serge (or sew 1/4 inch) seams and you will be great (we already added ease). But for woven fabrics you WILL need to ADD seam allowances on the side seams and the shoulder seams (you may or may not want to add them on the sleeve, personal preference).
Now that you have your pattern, you are ready to cut out your dress.
Step 7: Lay your pattern on the center fold of your fabric. Cut out two of each pattern (1 front, 1 back) the length you want your dress (a shoulder to knee measurement is a good place to start).
Step 8: Sew your shoulder seams front to back.
Step 9: Using handmade (or store bought) bias tape sew one edge around the right side of the armholes while they are open.
Step 10: Repeat adding bias tape to RIGHT side of fabric on neckhole as well.
Step 11: Turn and press bias tape to inside of arm and neck seams and top stitch down.
Step 12: Sew up your side seams.
Step 13: Hem your dress and you are done!
Here is the girls’ version of the dress all done with the semi-cap sleeve.
Now, all you have to do is find the right fabric. I am still planning on wearing my dress this fall with tights, boots and a cardi….so you can still make one! And I have a striped knit one in the works that I am doing the semi-cap sleeve for me!
Happy Wednesday everyone!
I would love to see a photo if you make one….