Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Little White Dress Contest - Construction of the dress

I entered the Little White Dress contest on Pattern Review.  The pictures of my Little White Dress were posted yesterday and can be found here.

I'll also post one here for those of you that have either seen yesterday's post or are only interested in construction methods for this dress. 

I used a see through crinkly embroidered cotton  cheesecloth with a voile lining.  I used New Look 6095:

I have made this dress before, so it was a simple matter of just working out how to seam this fabric.  I decided on french seams for both shells, with an invisible zip in the centre back and french seams underneath.

I also decided to use a cotton facing (interfaced)  over the voile lining to add more stability.  The sleeves were bagged out and a binding used to finish the armscye seam.

First I constructed the shells of outer dress and inner lining.  The back seam was left open:

Then I constructed the sleeves:

Before inserting the zip, I decided to sample the insertion of an invisible zip and do french seams underneath:

To find that I can make this technique work.  Now for insertion of the zip into the dress:

I overlocked the seams because I was not sure how I wanted to finish them or how they would work at the french seam point.  Later I covered the overlocking with a lace edge used as a binding - like a Hong Kong finish but without the bulk I would get with a bound layer.

Next job was to tackle those french seams:

First I worked out which way to seam them - as you know, they seams have to end up inside.  With a dress and a lining, this was going to get confusing:

I pin everything in these situations.  I also pin the finish point to make sure there is not pucker under the zip.

Okay, I think I can sew:

Then flop over and do the seam the other way around - and I can't press this fabric, so I just finger pressed the seam:

That's the first french seam done. A quick check outside to see whether the seams are behaving themselves:

Yes.  A little bit of hand sewing needed (see pin)  but looking good.

Then repeat the process with the lining - I started the seam one inch (2 cm) below the starting point of the dress as otherwise a lot of bulk would be sitting under the zip.

Now for that handsewing - I couldn't get the machine right up into this part of the seam:

 Like this - now it is all sewn up:

 Then I anchored the zip by hand:

You will also see that I have added the lace binding to make the edges of the zip allowance look attractive.

Voila.  Done.  Here is the finished shell, back view :

This is straight from the machine - I can't iron this fabric.  Also, the crinkly cheesecloth drops like made, so I think I've done quite a good job on the zip.

The finishing of this dress was then straightforward - simply sewing in the sleeves and then hemming it.


  1. Great job.. Love your new dress. Just perfect for a warm summer day..
    Happy sewing.

  2. That was a lot of work Sarah Liz but it was worth it. Lovely dress. Good luck with the contest.

  3. I saw your previous post and I love it very much. It's very pretty white dress. Nice work as always :)

  4. Appreciate seeing all your construction details, and I also can't get my seam that close the invisible zip end, hand stitching is your friend.

    1. Yes, I agree - and I happen to enjoy hand sewing, so it's a double friend :)

  5. A very pretty white dress, Sarah. I wish you much success in the contest.

  6. Let's hope spring arrives soon so you can wear your beautiful dress!

    1. I live down under, so it's still hot here :)