So before I tackle all the sewing on my big coat project, I snuck in a quick project for myself!
I was inspired by this dress from ModCloth: Academy Dress
And I’ve had this in the works for a long time!!! I hinted about it back in September when I worked up this McCalls tunic. Well, when I made that tunic, I knew it was a great base pattern for this dress. With a few modifications, I think I got pretty close!
I was really a fairly easy dress to knock off. I took photos of my process and have put together a tutorial of how I did it. Click below to see the tutorial.
I traced off a copy of the tunic front and back pieces and added length to make it hit just below the knee. This is my preferred dress length. I also narrowed the lower portion of the sleeves just a little, maybe about a half inch or so, just to make the sleeve a little more fitted. The pattern calls for sleeve bands that I opted to leave off to be closer to the inspiration dress.
The neckline is of course going to change from a round neckline to a V-neck. I looked closely at the inspiration dress and noted that it was a pretty wide V, extending to just a inch or two before the shoulder.
The first step after cutting was to stay stitch the neckline on the front and back pieces to prevent them from stretching out.
I added a small piece of tricot fusible interfacing at the point of the V on the front piece to stabilize it a bit.
Then I stitched to reinforce the seam at the V about one inch on either side. Clip to the point of the V.
Then I used my serger to sew the front and back pieces together at the sides and the shoulder/sleeve top.
The next step was to measure the length of the neckline for the neckband/cowl.
I came up with 32.5 inches in length, including seam allowances and I decided to make the finished width of my neck band 9 inches wide. This was just a number I came up with from studying the inspiration photo and comparing that with the fit of my original tunic.
I cut a piece of my knit to 32.5 inches long and 18.5 inches wide. I folded this piece in half, right sides together, the length of the piece and added a 1” wide piece of tricot fusible interfacing to one end of this piece.
Then I stitched across this end with a 1/4” seam allowance and pressed this seam really well to create a nice crisp finished edge and corner.
Next, attaching the neckband/cowl piece to the dress.
Starting with the finished edge, I lined up the raw edge of the neckband to the right side of the neck on the dress front, like this:
The finished edge needed to be lined up exactly with the clipped edge of the neckline V.
Then I continued to pin all the way around, making sure not to stretch either piece. When I got back around to the center front V, the unfinished edge needed to extend 1/4” past the clipped edge of the neckline V.
I began sewing from the right shoulder seam, going across the back and then down the left front. When I reached the center front, I stopped my needle in the down position exactly at the point of the V. This was right at the beginning of the finished edge of the neckband piece.
I then rotated the remaining raw edge of the neck band over to the right side of the neckband. It was now placed under the long side raw edge that was already pinned on the front neckline. So altogether I was sewing through five layers of fabric.
Then I continued to sew up to the right shoulder seam where I began. And this is what it looked like.
And with the left panel opened up… Kind of hard to see, I know…
Then I added three buttons to the left hand side and put three button holes about 3/4” inch from the finished edge of the overlapping side from the right.
The original dress had a ribbed waistline. Since my fabric didn’t come with waistline ribbing, I mimicked this feature by shirring the waist. I added eight rows of shirring, about 1/4” apart. I had to fill my bobbin twice with elastic thread to do this many rows. I find shirring to be tedious, but I do love the outcome!
All that was left was to hem the skirt and sleeves, which I did with a twin needle. I really love how it turned out!
This is how I wore it yesterday, with a wide black belt, black ankle boots and grey tights..
And then the kids just had to get in on Daddy taking pictures of Mommy…
So that’s one item off my Fall/Winter sewing to-do list. About a million more to go… Thanks for stopping by. Please leave a comment if you have any questions on how I put this together.