Tuesday, January 17, 2012

SYTYCS Entry, Week 3: Fair and Lemon Square Dress (and Tutorial!)





ModCloth's Fair and Lemon Square dress has been on my wish list for a long time.  It's adorable.  It's my favorite color.  And, its $75 price tag is out of my budget.  So, I decided to try my hand at making it myself.

Here's how I did it.  First, since patterns aren't allowed in the So You Think You Can Sew competition, I spent quite a bit of time drafting my own pattern.  I'm so glad I bought a french curve awhile back!  It was so helpful in drawing the right lines and curves.  I went through a few drafts (especially while trying to figure out how to work the darts) and fit my drafts to my dress form to make sure I was on the right track.  I used my three year old's finger painting paper--it was the perfect size!  After several tries, I finally ended up with a usable pattern.    

The bodice front (left) and bodice back (right).

The collar:

The sleeve:

I used a pretty yellow cotton sateen as my fabric, about 4 yards.  I cut the bodice front out, with the straight side (middle) on the fold.  (I cut two, since I lined the bodice.  All of my instructions for the bodice are the same as the lining; you just do everything twice, so you basically have two bodices that you will put together later on.)

I marked the darts with pins.

I matched up the pins and sewed the dart, making sure to leave extra thread at the point of the dart so I could tie a knot and avoid the bulk that back-stitching would have made.



I then pressed the darts.

For the back, I cut two (4 if you count the lining) of my back bodice pattern.  I marked the darts in the same way, sewed, and pressed.


I then, with right sides together, sewed the bodice back to the bodice front.  I pinned and sewed at the sides:

And at the shoulders:
Then I pressed my seams open:

Here's what I ended up with:
I cut a waistband out of my favorite white cotton: Walmart's Teeshot cotton.  The waistband measured 34 inches by 3 inches.  I added some medium weight iron-on interfacing to it (but not to the one for the lining).  Then, I pinned (right sides together, again) it to the bodice and sewed it on (nearly all of my seams were sewed with 5/8 inch seam allowance).


Once the waistband was attached, I pressed it open.  Here you can see the bodice and waistband layered over its lining on my dress form:
At this point, I added part of my zipper (a 22 inch invisible zipper).  Ordinarily, I'd wait until the skirt was attached, but I wanted to try it on before I got too far to make sure my fit was working out okay.  After the zipper was attached (just follow the instructions on the package) I pressed the seams.

Next, I cut out the skirt.  The front of the skirt was 31 x 25 inches.


I cut two of the skirt back so I'd have a center seam for the zipper to go in.  The skirt backs were each 17 x 25 inches.
I sewed the skirt backs to either side of the the skirt front (and pressed open the seams).



Using the largest stitch length on my machine, I machine basted the top of the skirt.

Using the basting, I pulled and gathered the skirt.  I matched the side seams on the skirt to the side seams on the bodice and evenly distributed the gathers between the seams.  I then pinned the gathered skirt to the waistband (as always, right sides together).
Here's how it's looking so far:
Next, I made the collar.  I cut out four collar pieces and covered two of them with fusible interfacing.

I pinned each interfaced piece to an un-interfaced piece (right sides together).  I stitched around the sides and bottom of each collar piece.  I clipped the corners and curves before turning.  I pressed the collar (being sure to poke out the corners before pressing).  I then top-stitched around the sides and bottom of the collar.


I pinned the collar where I wanted it on the bodice.
And then, this is where we'll use the lining.  Up to this point, the lining should be exactly the same as the bodice, except its waist band doesn't have interfacing and it doesn't have a collar.

Press under the bottom of the lining's waistband 5/8 of an inch.

Place the bodice (complete with pinned-on collar) and the bodice lining right sides together, making sure to line up all seams, edges, and darts.  Pin the lining to the bodice at the neckline and stitch together.

After stitching, turn it right sides out and press the neckline.

Press under where the lining meets the zipper and pin it to the zipper.  Pin the bottom of the lining to the seam allowance from the skirt.  Hand stitch the lining to the zipper and the skirt's seam allowance, so none of your stitches are visible from the outside of the dress.


Now it's time to put some sleeves on the dress.  I cut out two of the sleeves, with the straight side on the fold.
I hemmed the bottom of the sleeve (on the left in the above picture) with a narrow hem.  Then, I machine basted around the top curve of the sleeve and gathered a little to give a little ease to the sleeve (so I can move my arms!).  I sewed the sides of the sleeve together (right sides together) and pressed the seam open.

I matched the sleeve seam to the side seam under the arm hole in the dress and pinned it.  I then matched the top of the sleeve to the shoulder seam.  I pinned the rest of the slightly-gathered sleeve to the rest of the arm hole in between the two seams.


Sew on the sleeve.  Repeat process on the other sleeve.
Turn the sleeve right side out and press the seam.

The last part of the main dress construction is to hem the skirt.  I tried on the dress and marked where I wanted my hem to be.  I measured, pressed, pinned, and stitched the hem.

Now comes the fun part--putting on the embellishments!  I bought some larger buttons to cover with fabric.  I used the same teeshot white as the collar and the waistband.  I followed the instructions on the package to cover the buttons.  It was actually really easy.  And it was pretty fun to hear the "snap!" of the back locking in and pulling out a perfect fabric-covered button.  Yay!

I centered the top button between the two sides of the collar and sewed it on.  I measured where to place the other buttons so they would be evenly spaced and sewed them on, too.

I made the bow for the waistband so quickly that I forgot to measure it.  It's around 2x4 inches or so.  I cut out two rectangles of the white fabric and interfaced one of them.  I stitched them together, right sides together, leaving the end open for turning.  I clipped the corners, turned it, and pressed it.  I folded in the end left open and stitched it closed, continuing around the edge of the whole rectangle with some decorative top-stitching as well.

I pinched it together in the middle and hand stitched it into a bow shape.  I then made a loop of fabric to go around the middle of my bow and hand stitched it on.  I stitched it to my waistband and then I was done with my dress!

I'm really loving this dress.  I can't wait to get to wear it more (um...it was bitterly cold and windy when my hubby and I took pictures of it yesterday...SO. FREEZING. COLD.  So, yeah, this is a spring dress...).    :)  Its bright yellow and cute details make me happy.  :)   And, at a fraction of the price of the original (fabric and materials came to around $17, thanks to a 50% off coupon at JoAnn Fabrics!), I'd say it was totally worth it to make it.






This week's votes determine who will be in the top 3.  So, I really need all the votes I can get.  :)  Voting is open now at Mommy By Day Crafter By Night  and will continue until Thursday night.    Voting is now closed.  

44 comments:

Kathleen said...

Amazing! and you look wonderful in it!

Susan said...

Beautiful! (Both you and the dress). Great job.

Sharon said...

Wow! It turned out really well! It totally looks like you used a pattern for it, not like you just whipped it out all by yourself -- I don't know if I'd be brave enough to do that for a dress for myself, but maybe for a little girl's dress. :)

Briana Richardson said...

You did a great job! It's beautiful!
Briana @ babblingsandmore.blogspot.com

Christie said...

I love the colour! You did a fantastic job, your dress is gorgeous!

Pollyanna said...

Wow, what a beautiful dress. It boggles my mind that you can do that without a pattern.

Tammy said...

Seriously? Without a pattern? Ok, you get that you're just making the rest of us look bad, right??? heheh Great job!!!

Suburbsmama said...

How cute is that! I am in love with it. Such a girly dress, totally my style. I am pinning it.

projectdowhatyoulove said...

Okay so that is seriously gorgeous! Thanx for sharing the tutorial! It's lovely!

Natalie
www.projectdowhatyoulove.wordpress.com

Catrin said...

This is such a cute dress... I love it and the colors are great.
Greetings from Germany
Catrin

Catrin said...

This is such a cute dress... I love it and the colors are great.
Greetings from Germany
Catrin

Tales of a Trophy WIfe said...

That is adorable-I'd pick you as the winner.

EmK said...

This dress is too cute. I wish I had your talent. Maybe someday I'll be brave enough to try it. Thnaks fo showing us.

South Bay Studio said...

Very sweet dress. I love the style of it, like the older style pattern. Nice and bright. Kathi

Luana said...

Jenny I just voted for your dress. Seriously.....you absolutely amaze me! What a marvelous talent you have. I love to sew, but I can't do it without a pattern and even then I can't really do any alterations if they are needed. I hope you win!!

Annelies said...

I voted for your dress...it is delicious, vintage and yet so very NOW!!! Good job!!!

Cherished Bliss said...

Love this dress! You got my vote : )

Kailee said...

WOW! I definitely voted for you...you are the best one for this challenge by far! It looks like you spent a lot of of time on the dress and it totally paid off because it's a really cute dress and looks just like the modcloth one. Nice work, i hope you win!

ana5059 said...

Thank you for the tutorial! I'll try to do it for this summer

kendascrafts said...

adorable!

Kimberly from "bugaboo" said...

So cute! I love it!

Leslie said...

Darling dress!

Sew Country Chick said...

I voted for you!I think your project was way cute and showed a lot of skill and talent. Ruffles hide flaws.

Mandy @ Sugar Bee Crafts said...

you did a great job - you had my vote!!

Michelle said...

So adorable!

Bri said...

I LOVE this dress and the color!! Awesome joB!

Alisha @ Crafty Brooklyn Army Wife said...

Great job!! Love the dress and fabric. TFS and great tute!!

Stopping by from Thirty Handmade Days linky party and your newest follower.

Here is what I shared this week: http://craftybrooklynarmywife.blogspot.com/2012/01/hollys-first-coat.html

Deana said...

Wow that is sew cute...I just love it....Please share this @CountryMommaCooks Link and Greet Party...going on now-Sunday...Have a great weekend!

punknscrap said...

This is so cute! Love the colour and the totally cute design. You made a fantastic job and this, In fact I voted for your dress yesterday :)

A Mother and A Daughter said...

What a great dress! I love everything about it! ~ Barbara

Preppy Pink Crocodile said...

I love it! You did a fabulous job!!

KK

MyChampagneTaste said...

OMG..I wish i can sew like you do...I love Mod cloth dresses and urs is just way too cute
visiting from Iheartnaptime

Jen said...

Oh my, aren't you beyond sunshiney and sweet in your lovely new dress?!? Love it! I'd be so pumped if you'd come and link this (and any other projects you'd like to show off) to the Head to Head Showdown, going on right now at www.icantstopcrafting.blogspot.com ~Jen

Jenn said...

What an adorable dress. I love it!

Elle and Lou said...

Super sweet frock!

Katie J. said...

This is amazing! Thank you so much for sharing the tutorial. I love the yellow fabric color!! Makes it look very retro:) You look fantastic in it as well!! Great job.

Liz said...

I love this dress! Thanks for the tutorial!

Simple Simon & Co said...

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your dress....the color, the style, every part of it...is pure loveliness.

Ana-Lu said...

Wonderful! Looks great on you!

Rebecca said...

Super cute! Love the yellow!

Katie said...

you are SOO talented! the dress is beautiful!!

Anna said...

WOW! I have been coveting this dress from modcloh for months :o)

Emily said...

What a darling dress! The fit looks great! :) Nice work drafting your own pattern.

Kait @ Wunderbar Life said...

This is lovely! Thank you for such an inspiring post.

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