As I said in previous article, this pattern was on mi mind for some time and only recently I finally got a chance to construct it. So today I would like to introduce to you pattern for women’s autumn dress LUCKY YOU and sewing instructions for the classic version of this dress. Today’s article is about more elegant version of this dress made from fabric with beautiful checkered print. I’m going to tell you more about the sewing procedure and also a few things about correct way to position the pattern on the checkered fabric.
You can get this pattern for women’s autumn (or winter) dress here: LUCKY YOU
I bought my (incredibly soft) fabric at Dumlatek.cz (Here it is:
This pattern is designed for elastic fabrics of medium thickness. You can use:
- suede knits (Nicky velour)
- sweater knits
- elastic tracksuit fabrics (make sure it really is elastic – some combed tracksuit fabrics aren’t)
- elastic faux fur (it’s a good idea to ask sellers if the fabric is elastic or not when shopping online – sometimes you won’t be able to tell based on description and composition alone)
- it’s also possible to use warmkeeper (alpenfleece)
You can place buttons on your collar (or not). I’ve used four 2 cm wide buttons. Buttons on the sleeves are purely decorative (eight 1,5 cm wide buttons).
You will also need one-sided fusible facing to reinforce collar and pockets. You might find this article useful if you want to sew your dress with lining: How to sew women’s winter (sweatshirt)dress with lining. You can also add thinner shoulder pads to your dress (great idea if you are sewing with stiffer fabrics).
How to sew the dress
According to the paper pattern prepare:
- 1x front piece (folded fabric cut)
- 1x back piece (folded fabric cut)
- 2x sleeve piece
- 1x outer collar, 1x inner collar (or just 2x collar if you are going to make both pieces from the same fabric)
- 2x whole pocket piece
- 2x pocket piece with opening
- My tip: I like to use 4 whole pocket pieces (not 2 whole and 2 with opening). This way I can sew the pocket piece to the front piece and cut out the pocket openings (from the pocket piece and front piece) at the same time.
You will also find that the pattern attachment contains bottom hem piece and cuff piece. This basic/classic version of the dress has neither of those pieces.
There are two versions (views) of this pattern – one with seam allowances outlined and one without them. You can choose the view you want, depending on what you find easier to work with. You are going to need to modify the pattern slightly If you decide to use view with seam allowances. There are only 1 cm wide “seam tabs” outlined on the sleeves and bottom hem of the dress. These “tabs” are basically just seam allowances used to connect bottom hem and cuffs to the dress. You want to enlarge these for this classic version because there are no extra pieces for bottom hem and cuffs. Make the seam tabs about 3 – 4 centimeters wide.
I’ve used overlock and regular sewing machine to sew this dress. But you can get great results with just a regular sewing machine. Here are some tips for you:
Positioning the pattern on the checkered fabric
In one of the previous articles I made a video tutorial and wrote a simple instructions on how to position a pattern on a fabric with stripes: How to position a pattern on a striped fabric. The procedure for the checkered fabric is very similar, except that you need to pay attention to vertical alignment of the print too.
I wouldn’t recommend the use of striped and checkered fabrics to beginners. High precision is required when sewing, positioning and cutting individual pieces. It is also necessary to imagine what the print will look like on the garment right at the beginning and follow that idea through the entire sewing process.
I recommend “opening up” folded fabric cuts if you are using fabric with complex print and positioning the pieces on the unfolded fabric. Use original paper pattern pieces and fresh sheet of paper (wrapping paper, for example) and treat it as if it was your fabric – fold it, position the “half piece” on the fold, copy the outline and cut out your new “whole piece”.
Front and back pieces
Align center line of the piece with the center (axis) of the print when using a fabric with some sort of vertically symmetrical print (vertical stripes, for example). Take care to keep the center lines aligned, otherwise the garment will look strange right from the start. I could have also aligned the center line of the front piece and the axis of one of the vertical square rows, but that would require careful measurements.
Pay attention to the armhole area. You are going to position the back piece and the sleeve piece to the same area of the print. Choose some easily recognizable part of the print to align the piece with. It’s going to be hard to align other pieces if you choose some “blank” area of the print.
Cut out half of the outline of the front piece. Be careful not to accidentally start cutting along the center line of the piece. Fold the free half over the rest of the piece along the center line. Try to align the print on both halves as precisely as possible.
I recommend using pattern view with seam allowances included when sewing with elastic fabrics – you won’t have to draw on the fabric. It’s very difficult to draw on elastic fabrics accurately because the marker (soap, chalk, etc.) stretches the fabric at each contact. You can find more on how to transfer the paper pattern to the fabric here: How to transfer the paper pattern to the fabric).
Second armhole need be the mirror image of the first one – it should carve through the fabric print “in the same way”. Print should be symmetrical on both sides of the piece. Now is the time to cut out the second half of the outline of the front piece.
Prepare the back piece in the same way. Take care to make the armholes carve through the print in the same way as on the front piece. This will allow you to align the print in the side seams later.
Take care to align the top of the sleeve piece (mark) with the center of the print – try to “balance” the print on the piece to make it look natural.
Edge of the armhole part of the sleeve should lie on the print in the same way as the armhole of the front (and back) piece. Both edges of the armhole are on the same horizontal line.
Check the bottom edge of the sleeve – this part should also be aligned with the print. If you have a pattern where the bottom hem is somehow shaped, I recommend cutting it straight and parallel to the pattern.
When you have one sleeve cut out, cut out the other one too (you can use the first one to outline the second one). Put the cut out sleeve on the fabric face to face (to get two mirrored parts), take care to align the print.
Focus primarily on the whole pocket piece (the one without pocket opening), which then peeks out on the side of the dress. Print on the pocket piece should be aligned with front and back pieces. To determine the correct position of the pocket on the fabric, you need to know where the pocket is located on the dress. Top of the pocket is right at the waistline. Check the print on the waistline of the front and back pieces, see what it looks like in this area and cut out the pocket pieces accordingly.
This is how the pockets look on the finished garment:
First, reinforce the pocket pieces. Reinforce the pocket pieces with pocket openings using fusible facing. I like to use 4 whole pocket pieces (not 2 whole and 2 with pocket opening). This way I can sew the pocket piece to the front piece and cut out the pocket openings (from the pocket piece and front piece) at the same time.
I also recommend reinforcing both collar pieces if you are using some softer fabric. If you are sewing from a stiffer fabric and you want the collar to look somewhat casual or a bit messy, reinforce only the areas with buttonholes and buttons. If you have a stiff fabric and you don’t want to have buttons on your collar, you don’t need to reinforce it at all.
Pockets (in the side seam)
Lay the pocket piece with pocket opening over the front piece (face side to face side).
Align the print of the pieces in the side seam area.
Sew the pocket piece in and cut the seam allowances around the pocket opening to make them about 0,5 cm wide. You can also cut these seam allowances perpendicular to the seam every centimeter or so. This will smooth out the pocket opening. Be careful not to damage the seam itself.
Turn the pocket piece to the reverse side of the front piece and check the print alignment.
Pocket piece should be completely invisible from the front side view.
Front piece “sticks out” about 2 mm beyond the pocket piece from the reverse side view.
Iron the seam thoroughly. You can also topstitch the pocket opening to stabilize it further. (Use longer stitches and sew about 0,7 cm away from the edge of the pocket opening.) Iron again.
Take care to align the whole pocket piece precisely – its print should match the print on the front piece.
You can pin both pocket pieces to the front piece to prevent the layers from shifting.
Next pin the pocket pouch (only pocket pieces).
Then sew the pocket pouch and iron it thoroughly. Sew the other pocket in the same way. Keep the pocket pouches pinned to the front piece for now.
If you are having trouble with pockets, you can watch a short video to see how it’s done:
Shoulders & Sleeves
Sew the shoulder seams. Print on the front and back piece should be aligned.
Pin the sleeve piece into the open armhole. Sleeve should be a bit easestitched a bit. But you are probably not going to need to easestitch the sleeve in the classic way with most fabrics, because difference in circumferences (armhole/sleeve) is small… (Beginners can find the procedure described here: How to sew women’s blouse) However, you should take care to sew the sleeve in correctly – make it looser around the top and in the back. It should not be loosened at all in the armpit area.
If you do not want to waste time with piles of pins, or if you have a fabric that needs a classic easestitching, you can try to loosen up the sleeve with a double-threaded needle. (I’ve described this procedure here: How to sew the winter dress)
After pinning the sleeve into the armhole, turn the dress on the face and check the print alignment – it should be aligned in the chest area. It doesn’t matter if it’s not aligned in armpits and it’s nearly impossible to align the print near the top of the sleeve.
You can make changes by adjusting the “easestitching” of the sleeve. But keep in mind that the comfort is more important than absolutely perfect print alignment.
Sleeve (front side view):
Sleeve (back side view):
It’s important to align top of the sleeve (center of the print) with the shoulder seam.
Side seams & Sleeve seams
Now is the time to work on the side seams and the sleeve seams. Pin the seams and sew each side of the dress in one go. Try to align the print as best as you can. I’ve marked stripes between the squares with pins to remind myself that I need to be extra careful in these areas.
Check the print alignment again. Iron the seams.
Sew both short sides of the collar and one of the long sides. When positioning the collar pieces on the fabric, make sure that the print is placed correctly (symmetrically or in some other “logical” way – for example with floral patterns). I’ve centered my collar on one of the narrow stripes again.
Cut off corners of the seam allowances near the already sewed longer side and turn the collar on the face side. Iron it and topstitch along the seams.
Do not topstitch last 2 centimeters of the shorter sides.
Face the top side (that is the side that will be on top when wearing the dress) of the collar.
It’s important to align the print in both the front and back sections as best as possible and sew the collar in evenly.
Start pining the bottom collar to the back piece of the dress (start in the middle).
Pin the entire bottom collar to the neck opening evenly.
Pin part of the left side (when worn) of the top collar to the neck opening too.
Then overlay this section with right side of the collar and pin all layers together.
Now I recommend trying the dress on to test (and adjust) the placement of the collar. Take a good look at how the print feels overall and check that there are no “awkward” areas. Simply whether it looks good or not. It is also possible to sew the collar in asymmetrically:
Sew in the collar if everything seems alright. You are now sewing only the bottom layer of the collar (except where the two sides overlap).
Sew the bottom collar but leave out about 2 cm at the end. Cut the seam allowances of all three layers (bottom/top collar + front piece of the dress) perpendicular to the cutting edges.
Fold seam allowances down – towards the bottom collar.
Fold 1 cm of the top collar seam allowances and pin it to the seam.
Top collar should cover the seam.
Pin the entire circumference of the collar in this way.
Fold corner of the top collar (covering the other side of the collar) 1 cm to the reverse side and attach it over the side under it with a few stitches.
Now sew the top collar to the neck opening (by hand). I recommend double-threading the needle and covering the thread with beeswax to prevent it from tangling. You can get the beeswax in haberdasheries various arts & craft stores. Mine is from Merchant & Mills, here: Beeswax for threads.
Your stitch should be strong and a bit elastic at the same time. You can use back stitch or pearl stitch. I like the pearl stitch very much and I use it, for example, to sew lining of luxury pieces. Your stitch should be about 0,7 cm long. Sew through two lower layers and bit of the top collar. Pull the needle through.
Start the next stitch where the thread exits the top collar and end it through the top collar again. This type of stitch is very strong and nearly invisible at the same time.
Bottom hem & Sleeve hems
Clean all hems and fold them 3-4 cm to the reverse side. Folds should be aligned with some element of your print and they should be of the same size along the entire circumference. Sew through the folded hems. Use some type of elastic seam to preserve the properties of your fabric.
Buttons & Buttonholes
Buttons are the last step of today’s sewing tutorial. The approximate positions of the buttonholes are marked in your pattern – this layout is suitable for 4 buttons with a size of 2 cm. You are (of course) free to choose whatever buttons you want and place them however you want. Make your buttonholes horizontal.
Mark positions of your buttons according to the buttonholes and sew the buttons to the dress. I recommend sewing the buttons a bit loose and wrapping the thread below the button to create your own “foot” (if you have classic buttons with holes). You can use toothpick to create some space between the button and the fabric when sewing and then wrap the thread around threads connecting the button with fabric.
Decorative buttons can be a bit smaller (about 1,5 cm). You can add those to your sleeves.
This is how ideal collar to back/front piece transition looks like:
And this is the end of today’s looong article. Congratulations and thank you if you’re still reading this! That was really something, wasn’t it?
Tell me how you like today’s instructions and the new pattern in the comments. I hope that you learned something new today.
You can get this pattern here, and if you missed my previous article about different (sweatshirt)dress made according to this pattern, you can check it out here:
Have a nice day, Peťa