In this article, I’d like to provide you with sewing instructions for a women’s summer dress BREEZE with lining. Pattern for women’s dress was introduced in the previous article, and as I said, it is very versatile and you will be able to use it on many occasions.
The pattern for women's dress BREEZE is now available in our online store:
There are several suitable types of fabric for this dress. It is important to use lighter woven fabric so that the skirt is not very heavy due to its volume. I used chiffon with a designer print from Tufka.cz store.
The required amount of material
The required amount of material depends on pattern size and on how much frilly skirt you want. The skirt of the gray dress in the pictures, although it may not seem like it, is sewn from the full width of fabric.
The heavier the material you have, the less the pleated skirt you ought to sew so that it is not heavy and does not look cumbersome. Conversely, with chiffon and other airy materials, you can make the skirt really wide.
My fabric was 140 cm / 55" wide, so I used 70 cm / 28" wide front and back skirt pieces, the length of the skirt is 100 cm / 40". The length of the skirt depends on the length of your legs. Measure the length from your waist to the ankles so you won’t stumble over your skirt.
In my case, 50 cm / 20" of fabric of full width (140 cm / 55") was enough for bodice (size 34). In total, I’ve used 1.5 m / 60" of 140 cm / 55" wide fabric. But that was really close, the recommended amount of material (for 140 cm / 55" wide fabric) is:
- Sizes 32–48: 1.8 m / 70"
- Sizes 50–60: 2.8 m / 110"
This dress has a frillier skirt with back and front pieces 90 cm wide. Fabric width was not big enough for back and front pieces this wide next to each other, so I needed to position them above each other instead. In this case, you will need two skirt lengths and 50 cm / 20" for a bodice of sizes 32–46 and 60 cm / 24" for sizes 48–60.
Recommended amount of material for a dress with frillier skirt is:
- Sizes 32–46: 2.5 m / 100"
- Sizes 48–60: 3.1 m / 120"
If you are going to use a lining, then you will need to use it under the front piece of the bodice and partially under the skirt. The recommended amount of material for lining:
- Sizes 32–46: 1 m / 40"
- Sizes 48–60: 1.6 m / 63"
- Back and front bodice pieces need to have large (4–5 cm / 1 5/8"–2") seam allowances in the neck opening area, we will then fold those seam allowances to create a tunnel for fastening ribbon.
- I recommend having about 2 cm / 3/4" wide hem allowance on the bottom of the skirt, we will be double-folding it to the inside of the skirt.
- Side seams of the skirt and bodice should have ca. 1.5 cm / 5/8" wide seam allowances but regular (1 cm / 0.4" wide) seam allowances are fine too.
- Leave regular (1 cm / 0.4" wide) wide seam allowances everywhere else.
Position back and front bodice pattern pieces on top of the fold of the top fabric. It’s important to know in advance how wide will your skirt be, so you know whether to position bodice pieces next to each other or above each other.
Next, you will need two skirt pieces cut from the top fabric. As I said in the previous instructions for this pattern, the length of the skirt should be the length from your waist to the ankles + 3 cm / 1.18" for the seam allowances and the width should be your hip circumference (measured in sitting position) + 20 cm / 7 7/8 minimum. Choose finer a lighter material for wider skirts. I’ve made this skirt with back and front pieces 90 cm / 36" wide - pieces needed to be positioned above each other because fabric width was not big enough for them to be next to each other.
Unlike the others, this dress is not tightened with an elastic waistband, but they have a fastening ribbon wrapped around it. You will need about 10 cm / 4" wide and ca. 140 cm / 55" long (width of the fabric) strip for the fastening ribbon.
You will also need a second, smaller, strip for the fastening ribbon around the neck opening. In this case, I’ve made this ribbon a bit longer - 90 cm / 36" long and 8 cm / 3 1/8" wide.
If you have a translucent fabric, you will also need lining. I used lining fabric to prepare the front bodice piece (back piece is without lining) and two skirt pieces 43 cm / 17" long and 60 cm / 24" wide (lining skirt does not have to be extra wide, on the contrary, very wide one could create an unnatural protrusion).
I’ve also cut two strips of my lining fabric for the neck and waist ribbons (same dimensions).
Let’s work on front piece first.
Lay the front piece over its lining (face side to face side) and pin upper parts - neck opening near the future tunnel for the ribbon and both arm openings.
Sew the pieces together leaving seam allowances. Use regular straight stitch.
Carefully cut sharp peaks near future tunnel, so that the fabric is easier to handle.
Also cut to the seam allowances in the corners of the future tunnel.
Flip the pieces face sides out and iron thoroughly.
You can leave the pieces like this if the fabrics do not slide on each other.
Fold the upper flap of the front piece towards the lining side and pin it in place forming the tunnel.
Sew the tunnel from the face side. If you have slippery fabrics or are afraid of lining peeping out (especially if you have a lining of contrasting color), you can also sew around the arm openings to stabilize the seam (sew around 0.3 cm / 1/8" from the original seam and don’t accidentally close the tunnel with stitches).
This is how the tunnel looks from the lining side.
Stitch free sides of the lining and bodice together for easier handling. From now on, treat the piece as if it is made from only one layer of fabric. Stitch pieces in side seam areas and waistline.
Prepare front and back pieces of the lining skirt by double-folding bottom hems to the back and sewing through them. That’s how you finish the bottom side of the lining skirt.
Now is the time to make the draped skirt. Since I have described how to do this in great detail in a recent article that I drafted while I was sewing this dress, I do not think that there is a need to repeat it here. Therefore, the following part of the instructions is simplified.
Drape the top part of the skirt and pin it to the lining skirt with both pieces facing up.
Sew the pieces together. If you haven’t done this before, you can hand stitch both parts together first.
Now you need to hand stitch top skirt and lining skirt together in their side seams.
Front part of the skirt waistline is ready, now sew the back piece of the skirt in the same way.
Connecting the bodice with the skirt
Front and back skirt pieces are ready, now take the front piece of the bodice and lay it face side up.
Keep the stitching on the bodice side seams in place.
Find the middle of the bodice waistline and mark it (with a pin, chalk or a little cut).
Prepare the front skirt piece too. Hand stitch its seam allowance once more so you can pleat it into the bodice.
Find and mark the middle of the waistline of the front skirt piece too. Marks will help you create a uniform connection between the bodice and skirt.
Lay the front piece of the bodice on top of the front piece of the skirt (face side to face side) and pin them together in the middle of their waistlines.
Then pin both waistline ends too.
Pull on one of the free ends of the skirt stitching thread, do not pull on the bodice thread. Drape the skirt waistline uniformly to the bodice by pulling on the stitching thread and sew pieces together.
Do the back pieces in the same way.
Clean the cutting edges in the waistline area on both front and back piece of the dress.
It is ideal to use an overlock, but you can clean the edges with a regular sewing machine too (e.g. with a zigzag stitch).
Clean all side seams next. Seams on the front piece will join the top piece and lining permanently. There will be no more seams in the arm openings of the front piece - leave longer thread chains and pull them under the loops when cleaning the edges with an overlock.
Let’s work on the back piece. Cut seam allowances near the tunnel if you are going to clean the edges with an overlock.
Clean all cutting edges (side seams, arm openings, and edge of the future tunnel) in one go. Previously cut seam allowances near the tunnel will help you clean the edges nicely using an overlock.
If you feel that the arm openings are a little wavy (which is natural as they are cut at an angle and not along the grain), then simply iron them.
And now is the time to process the back of the bodice. All the edges of the piece are cleaned...
Fold seam allowances of the arm openings towards the inside, pin them in place and sew through them.
Fold and pin the flap of the tunnel too.
Sew through and form the tunnel.
Overlay back and front pieces (face side to face side).
I recommend stitching the pieces and trying the dress on before sewing. Stitch from arm openings to where the lining skirt ends. The rest of the top fabric skirt is not stitched at the sides, creating two slits for a comfortable fit. When trying on the dress, do not forget that the waist will be wrapped with the fastening ribbon, with which you can adjust the waist area. You can thread one piece of string through the tunnel and tie the second piece around the waist - this will give you an idea of how the dress will look when finished. You can now adjust the dress in side seams - make it looser or tighter. However, when tightening your dress, keep in mind that the dress has no fastening and it is made from woven fabric, so it must be a little loose so you can wear it comfortably. Now you can also prolong or shorten the slits.
If you are satisfied, sew both side seams (remember to leave the slits on the sides of the skirt).
Also, make sure that the front and back pieces of the lining skirt are aligned.
Pull out the stitching from all pieces after the seams are done and press the seam allowances open.
Clean bottom hems of the top fabric skirt and remember to leave longer thread chains on both ends (when sewing with an overlock) and pull them under the loops.
Fold bottom hem to the inside and sew through it.
Finishing the slits
Fold seam allowances of both slits on the front and back skirt pieces to the inside.
Pin them and sew through.
I recommend sewing the top parts of the slits perpendicular to the side seam, this will stabilize the slits and reinforce them against tearing.
Your dress is ready, now you just need to finish the fastening ribbons. Lay top fabric strips on their respective lining strips (face side to face side) and pin them around the perimeter.
Leave openings in the seam approximately in the middle of the longer sides of the ribbons.
I recommend carefully cutting all the loose threads at the edges when using easily fraying fabrics, otherwise, those threads would be noticeable, especially with translucent fabrics. Use pinking shears, if you have them, they are the best for this job.
Turn the ribbons face side out through the previously mentioned openings. You can use a blunt knitting needle or wooden cooking spoon for this.
Iron the ribbons and sew their openings shut.
I made my neck ribbon in a more creative way, I sewed both ends into an ellipse... There are no limits to imagination!
Your dress is ready!