My husband and I don't usually like to make a big deal out of Valentine's Day but during quarantine I have found that dressing up usually boosts my mood when I can bring myself to do it. So I struck some inspiration from this holiday that celebrates love and decided to applique hearts all over a Wilder Gown by Friday Pattern Company. Once I was done appliqueing, though, the dress looked too much like a costume. So I raided my stash of lace trim and went wild in an attempt to make it look a bit more fashionable. Although this was a very time consuming project, it truly reminded me of the good old days in elementary school of decorating homemade valentines made of construction paper for my classmates and I had so much fun with it. It's like a dress sized valentine's day card lovingly made by myself for myself!
- 3 yards rayon in red
- 1 yard rayon in white
- Heat n' Bond Lite Iron-On Adhesive
- Measuring tape
- Thread to match
- Fabric scissors
- Craft Scissors
- Craft paper
- Cardstock (optional)
- Walking Foot
- Lace appliques
- Stretch lace trim
LET'S GET STARTED!
- Wash and dry your fabric to pre-shrink it then iron it in preparation for cutting.
- Take your bust, hip and waist measurements to determine what size you will need to cut out of your pattern. I cut out a size Medium.
- Cut out all your pattern pieces out of your red rayon fabric. This pattern is great because you can just snip and tear your fabric to get the rectangular pieces you need for the skirt.
- Sew your front bodice pieces together at center front. From the top down to the notch, you will need to use a basting stitch as it will be taken out later. From the notch down to the bottom of your bodice you will be using a regular sized stitch.
- Press your seam open. Then fold down and press your raw edge in to meet your stitch line. Pin down and stitch 1/8" away from the folded edge.
- Undo your basting stitch from Step 4. Then with right sides together, pin your front and back bodice pieces to your sleeve pieces matching all notches and stitch together. Press open your seams and finish all raw edges using a serger or a zig zag stitch.
- Press under the top edge of your bodice 1/2".
- Press the top edge of your bodice over another 2". Pin down the bottom folded edge and stitch 1/8" away. Then sew another row of stitching 1" above that.
- Cut a length of your Heat N' Bond Lite (very important as the Ultra Bond I used was very stiff) and iron it to your white rayon fabric. How much you need will depend on how many hearts you want on your dress. I cut out three sizes of hearts on regular paper and then transferred them to cardstock to make them easier to trace onto the fabric. I cut out a small, medium and large size but I would suggest starting out much smaller than I did unless you are a bold fashionista with a "Go big or go home" type of attitude. (Which I am not, so that is why I heed this warning.) Trace your hearts onto the fabric with the paper side of the Heat N' Bond facing you and then cut them out using your craft scissors so as not to dull your good fabric scissors.
- Play around with the heart placement on your fabric and once you are happy with it, iron them down.
- Satin stitch around each heart. To achieve this on my sewing machine, I set my stitch width to 4 and my stitch length to .5. A walking foot makes this step much easier.
- With right sides facing each other, pin the side seams of your bodice together and stitch. Press open and finish raw edges with either a serger or zig zag stitch.
- Take the top tier of your skirt and sew a basting stitch 1/4" away from the top edge. Then sew another row of basting 1/4" below that first row.
- Divide the top tier of your skirt into quarters and then pin to the bodice with right sides together, matching each quarter to the center front, center back, and side seams. Lightly gather to fit to your bodice and pin in place. Stitch. Finish your raw edge with a serger or zig zag stitch.
- Repeat steps 13-14 for the bottom tier of your skirt.
- Sew your two neck tie pieces together at the center back and then press your seam open.
- Fold over and press 1/4" at each end. Then going long ways, pin your neck tie with right sides together and stitch using 1/4" seam allowance.
- Flip right side out and press. Stitch the ends closed 1/8" away from the edge. Use a safety pin to draw your neck tie through your neck tie channel.
- Once I got to this point and put my dress on the form, I felt like it was looking a little too much like a costume. So after a lot of thought, I decided to apply some lace trim to the bodice. I spent a lot of time playing around with the placement using what I had on hand and once I was happy, I stitched it into place by hand.
- I also decided to cinch in the waist using some stretch lace. To do this, I cut a piece of stretch lace to my waist measurement and then sewed it together at the ends using 1/2" seam allowance. I then divided it into quarters and pinned it to the waist seam of the dress matching each quarter to the center front, center back and side seams. Using a zig zag stitch, I sewed both the top and bottom edges of my stretch lace to my dress and pulled it taut as I went around so that it was applied to the dress flat.
- Try on your dress and adjust your neck tie to your liking. Then make sure you are happy with the length of the sleeves and the skirt. Once happy, you can proceed to hemming your sleeves and your skirt by folding up and pressing 1/4" and then pressing under another 1/4". Then stitch down close to the edge of the top fold.
- Your festive Valentine's Day dress is ready! Despite the hearts being on the large side, I'm really happy with how this came out in the end and I feel like the oversized hearts only add more cheer to this dress.