With the arrival of Spring comes beautiful pastel colors and sweet lace dresses to wear in the warm months to come! Today's tutorial is for a personalized bodice, fully fitted, princess seam lace dress. For those who do not know what princess seams are, they entail altering a bodice to rotate the darts from their usual position below or to the side of the bust, and running them along the length of your body from the top of your shoulder through your torso. They make a very flattering shape, and lend themselves well to a fitted bodice like the one in this drop-waist silhouette.
The final dress is built on four pattern pieces on the bodice and then adds a ruffle to the hem. The front bodice has two center pieces and two side panels which incorporate the bust curves. The back bodice also has two center back pieces with a zipper in the center and two side panels, but they are much simpler since there aren't so many curves to deal with.
In order to make it as simple as possible to replicate this look, the pattern is broken down into those four pattern pieces which use using your own bust, waist, and hip measurements. Though the pattern can be made with paper, it is suggested to use muslin to create it so that you can sew them together, try it on, and make adjustments before cutting into the nicer fabric.
This pattern can be used with most any fabric, but is especially gorgeous with this Guipure French lace from Fabric Wholesale Direct. Make sure if you use this lace that you cut the pattern pieces all lined up with one another. This way you will be able to keep the stripe effect lined up which would otherwise look very messy.
LET'S GET STARED!
- Begin by measuring your shoulder, bust, waist, pant line, and hip measurements, as well as the distance from your shoulders to each one of these points per the illustration below. These measurements will be used to create four bodice pattern pieces. Piece 1 is the center of the front, piece 2 is the side of the front, piece 3 is the center of the back, and piece 4 is the side of the back. You will end up with 2 of each to make a complete bodice.
Use the measurements to draw out lines on to your muslin or paper to create the pieces. Cut out the pieces. Fold your lace and your cotton almost in half width wise and lay out the patterns next to one another so that you have two layers of fabric beneath each. Cut around each of the patterns. Also cut out a long piece for the skirt.
NOTE: If you are using muslin, it is advised to sew each of the four bodice pieces together and try on half of the bodice. Adjust the pieces as needed and then seam rip them apart to use as pattern pieces.
Take your cotton fabric and line up the straight seams on piece 1 with one another with the right sides of the fabric touching and sew together. Then line up the edges of piece 1 with the curved edge of piece 2 on each side with the right sides of the fabric touching and sew together.
To create the back, line up piece 3 and 4 and sew along the center seam for each set of pieces.
- Attach the front piece to the back pieces by lining up the sides of piece 4 with the sides of piece 2 with the right sides of the fabric touching and sew together. Repeat steps 2-4 for the lace fabric. You should then have a full bodice lining and lace layer with an open back for where the zipper will attach.
- Layer the lace over the lining with the nice sides facing out. Fold the neck over about 1/2" and sew so that the lace connects to the lining.
- Turn your dress over to the back and fold the back seams over 1". Iron them down to create a clean edge. Unfold the fabric. Pin down your zipper so that the zipper teeth are aligned with the fold crease on both sides. Sew the zipper in place using an invisible zipper presser foot attachment.
- Turn the dress inside out and line up the seams below the zipper. Sew a straight stitch to connect the bottom section of the dress starting where you left off with the zipper seam.
- To create the skirt, sew a wide loose straight basting stitch through the long side of each of the skirt pieces about 1/4" from the edge of the fabric. Do not back stitch this seam. Pull one of the pieces of thread while holding the fabric and scrunch it to make a ruffle. Continue doing this until the ruffle is the same length as the bottom of the dress for each piece.
- Pin the sewn edge of the lace ruffle to the bottom of the dress with the opening at the back and the right sides of the fabric touching one another. Then lay the lining fabric on top of that. Sew along the pinned edge about 5/8" from the edge of the fabric. Then sew together the open ends of the ruffle. Hem the bottom of the lining by folding the edge up 1/4" twice.
- To complete the dress, fold the edges of the fabric around the arm holes in and sew ¼” from the edge of the fabric.