PARTY TUNIC DRESS

Go for gold this party sea­son with Por­tia Lawrie’s drapey tunic in lux­u­ri­ous satin, made us­ing just two rec­tan­gles of fab­ric.

Simply Sewing - - CONTENTS -

YOU WILL NEED

Medium weight drapey fab­ric: 112cm (44in) width x 2me­tres (2¼yds).

Match­ing thread

Ba­sic sewing kit

FAB­RIC USED

Rio, an olive crepe-backed satin from www.fab­ric­god­mother.co.uk

NOTE

Use a 1.5cm ("⁄#in) seam al­lowance through­out un­less oth­er­wise stated.

MEA­SUR­ING UP

Step one You will need to take your bust and hip mea­sure­ments and write them down.

Step two Add 10cm (3in) to your bust mea­sure­ment. Di­vide this num­ber by two then add 3cm (1¼in) for a 1.5cm ("⁄#in) seam al­lowance on ei­ther side, then add a fur­ther 15cm (6in) to this for the draped shoul­der. This will give you the width of your pat­tern piece. Note: If your hip mea­sure­ment is sub­stan­tially larger than your bust, then use your hip mea­sure­ment in­stead of your bust mea­sure­ment to es­tab­lish the width. This will lead to ex­tra shoul­der width, but this will all be ab­sorbed into ex­tra drape, so don’t worry!

CUT­TING OUT

We have used 2m length of fab­ric to make our tunic-style frock. If you’d pre­fer to sew a longer dress sim­ply buy twice the length of fab­ric you want your fin­ished dress to be.

Step one Fold your fab­ric in half from raw edge to raw edge. Mea­sur­ing across from the selvedge and along the top fold, mark this mea­sure­ment on your fab­ric.

Step two Square down from your mark and draw a line the full length of your folded fab­ric. Cut along this line. You can set the ex­cess aside to make a match­ing sash.

Step three Cut care­fully along the folded edge. Our crepe fab­ric was quite dif­fi­cult to press a sharp crease into, but, if you can, this will give you a cleaner cut­ting line.

Step four You will now have two rec­tan­gles. The width should be your mea­sured cal­cu­la­tion and the length will be 1m (be­cause you folded and then cut your 2m fab­ric length in half).

STITCHINGTHE SHOUL­DERS

Step one Fin­ish all the raw edges on both fab­ric pieces. I over­locked mine but you could use a zigzag stitch on your stan­dard ma­chine. Al­ter­na­tively, if you are us­ing a non-fray­ing fab­ric like jer­sey, you could skip this step al­to­gether. Step two Place the two fab­ric rec­tan­gles right sides (RS) to­gether with the straight edges aligned. From the top right hand cor­ner pin the lay­ers to­gether for 7.5-12.5cm (3-5in). This is the shorter shoul­der. We sewed ours at 7.5cm (3in) for a sleeve­less look on that side – 12.5cm (5in) will give more of a cap sleeve ef­fect.

Step three Mark the end of your line of pins with a dif­fer­ent colour pin, placed per­pen­dic­u­lar to the oth­ers, as shown.

Step four From this dif­fer­ent coloured marker pin mea­sure 28cm (11in) and place an­other per­pen­dic­u­lar pin at that point. This will be the

neck­line open­ing and will not be sewn, so re­mains un­pinned.

Step five Pin the re­main­der of the top line to the left of this pin. This will be the draped shoul­der. Step six Sew along both of the shoul­der lines. Re­verse stitch at both the per­pen­dic­u­lar pins you placed to re­in­force the edges of the neck­line open­ing. Press seams open and flat.

Step seven Press and pin the seam al­lowances into place as shown.

Step eight Top­stitch the seam al­lowances on ei­ther side of the seams to se­cure. The stitching will be seen from the RS of the dress, but this will add a dec­o­ra­tive fin­ish.

STITCHINGTHE SIDE SEAMS

Step one Fold the whole dress in half, RS to­gether, with the shoul­der/neck­line seam shifted forward slightly so it all lays flat.

Step two Mark a point 25cm (10in) down from the shoul­der line for the arm­hole open­ing on each side.

Step three Pin all the way along the side seams and stitch to­gether.

AD­JUST­ING THE HEM

Step one Shift­ing the shoul­der seam forward as we did in the pre­vi­ous step makes the back arm­hole slightly longer than the front. This is tech­ni­cally how it should be to get the shoul­der seam to sit cor­rectly (and how the arm­holes of com­mer­cial pat­terns will be drafted). Do­ing this how­ever, will have now made your front hem­line longer than the back. Re-level the hem by trim­ming the ex­cess.

HEMMING ONE SLEEVE

Step one Press the side seams open and flat. Con­tinue that press­ing line all the way around the arm­hole/sleeve open­ing.

Step two Top­stitch the sleeve hem of the longer side only.

ADJUSTINGTHE SHOUL­DER

At this stage I de­cided I didn’t like the way the shorter shoul­der was sit­ting. Shoul­ders slopes are usu­ally ac­counted for with sloped shoul­der lines on the front and back pat­tern pieces. But as this is a pat­tern­less project, I have come up with a pat­tern­less so­lu­tion!

Step one Un­pick the shoul­der seam and the over­locked edge. If you are un­pick­ing (i.e. one stitch at a time) use the sharp point of your seam ripper to get un­der and behind the stitches. If you in­tend to “rip” through the seam, face the red ball down­wards and push through the stitches with the cut­ting blade on your ripper. Step two Hem the edges of the arm­hole open­ing by fin­ish­ing the raw edges and turn­ing them un­der by 1.5cm (!⁄"in) and topstitching.

Step three Over­lap the front and back shoul­der seams un­til you find an ar­range­ment that sits smoothly across the neck­line and around the arm­hole. Es­sen­tially this is the equiv­a­lent of adding a dart. If you find this re­duces the size of the arm­hole too much you can go back and un­pick a few stitches at the un­der­arm to give you ex­tra ease there if needs be.

Step four Top­stitch the new shoul­der in place all the way along the ex­ist­ing stitching line. This is the line that ex­tends from the front neck­line onto the shoul­der.

Step five Next, work a sec­ond line of stitching right at the edge of the over­lapped piece. Pull the thread tails through to the wrong side (WS) and se­cure.

HEMMINGTHE DRESS

Step one Try the dress on to es­tab­lish the de­sired length then cut it 1.5cm (!⁄"in) longer than this. Step two Fin­ish the raw edges then turn them un­der by 1.5cm (!⁄"in).

Step three Hem your dress ei­ther by hand or by topstitching from the RS.

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