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Not a pattern review: Katie’s Birthday dress

2011 April 19
by elizabeth_admin

Unfortunately, I do not have pictures of Katie in her dress yet, but I have more to show you than just a hanger shot.  This dress was great muscle flexing for me.  It challenged me in many ways:

  • I got back together with my boyfriend, the ruffler, and mastered Ruffling 101 and 201
  • I reacquainted myself with math (doubling numbers as a matter of fact)
  • I used PowerPoint to play with dress design and determine which prints/fabrics to use on Katie’s dress
  • Found a great spaghetti strap tutorial (more on that later).

This in, in its essence, a very simple dress.  I started with Katie’s chest circumference (21 inches).  Since the bodice is shirred (2:1 ratio), I cut 2 navy cotton panels of 21 inches each for a total of a 42 inch circumference and the same for the floral skirt.  The lengths of the bodice and skirt are completely up to you.  I don’t exactly recall what lengths I chose, but let’s call it 8 inches for the navy and maybe 20 inches for the floral.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, I dithered for a long time about adding a navy cotton ruffle on the bottom because I thought it would be too heavy for the floral voile.  And adding just a floral ruffle seemed oh so boring.  So I brilliantly came up with adding a tier to the flounce with an additional 1 inch navy strip (also ruffled).  I remembered to double the length of the navy strip to an 84 inch circumference and to then double the 4 inch floral ruffle to 168 inches total.  Phew!  That’s a lot of ruffle to gather and hem!  The resulting flounce is at the extreme side of twirly to say the least.  😉  

If that explanation of how to make a similar dress isn’t clear enough for you, please let me know in the comments.

Again, here’s the dress in all it’s hanger glory.


And a close up of the navy and floral ruffle flounce…


The shirred bodice.  I wish I had been a little more circumspect when sewing the shirred lines — they’re a little inconsistent.


This was the first time that I made spaghetti straps and actually enjoyed the process.  Honest!  Usually I dread turning the straps right side out.  This time, though, I found this great tutorial that worked like a charm and was super fast.  I love it and will be using it from now on.  My straps are a 1/4 inch wide.


And I saved the best (of Katie’s dress) for last*… 


I can’t tell you how proud I was to sew one of my new labels into something I made.  Look ma, I’m an all grown up sewist now!  *heart* 


* In other sewing news:   Carolyn did me a solid last week.  She gave me a heads up about her pilgrimage to Fabric Mart’s brick and mortar store and I stalked looked at their website and found two knits that I could not live without.  Check out what Carolyn brought back for me!

The first one is an abstract with tons of colors.  I have no idea what I will make with it yet but I just adore it.  Click the photos of each fabric to go to the their Fabric Mart pages on line.


The second one is a pink and red ikat-esque knit.  Those are my colors and I just had to have it.  I see this as a dress for sure!


I think some knit dresses might need to creep onto and in front of the short list.  Don’t you agree?

4 Responses leave one →
  1. Carolyn permalink
    April 19, 2011

    I was more than happy to enable you especially since you answered your phone on the first ring! LOL!

  2. April 19, 2011

    Since you bought fabric without a specific pattern/garment in mind, how much did you buy? Is there some sort of standard? I find so many fabrics that I love, but don’t know how much to buy since I don’t have a specific pattern in mind for it. Beautiful fabrics, BTW!

  3. Shams permalink
    April 20, 2011

    Oh, it was YOU she was buying those fabrics for!! Can wait to see how you use them! I have that bold stripe too. 😀

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