Friday, July 27, 2012

The Caribbean Dress

I like to take patterns that are simple in construction techniques and make them just a wee bit fancier with some added embellishments. I wanted to make my 11-yr old daughter a linen dress and sadly I didn’t have enough linen of any one color so I thought I’d make her a turquoise and yellow dress with orange accents. All the linen—yellow, turquoise, and orange is a 3.5-ounce weight linen purchased from Isn’t this orange magnificent? I used “ethereal blue”, “aurora” (yellow), and “orange pixie”. (All this weight of linen is on sale this week of July 27, 2012!!)

DSC_0642 copy2

carribean dress1

I started with a basic tank dress, McCalls 6098, which is ugly judging by those sketches, and tweaked it a little bit. The first thing I did was alter the dress to have a simple cap sleeve. You can see below how I simply extended the “sleeve”.  Next time I will make the armhole wider as my daughter couldn’t get her arms in the dress! I had to undo the side stitching so she could have room to breathe. I drew with a white line how I’ll do the sleeve next time.

carribean dress6

First, you’ll sew the shoulder seam.  Second, you’ll simply fold under the sleeve twice and sew. Presto, easy cap sleeve.

carribean dress2

Third, you’ll sew the sides and once you reach the sleeve (marked with a white x on above photo, you’ll taper your seam off the edge of the sleeve.

Fourth, you’ll apply the facing. I usually prefer to finish a neckline with a bias binding, however, sometimes if my fabric is very lightweight the bound neckline makes it droop too much. So I decided to stick with the evil pattern instructions and use the included facing pattern.  Now if you don’t already use the “faced facing” technique I am about to change your life. 

First, you’ll pin your fusible interfacing to the fabric facing pieces. The right side of the fabric will be facing the non-gluey side of the interfacing, pin in place as seen below. You’ll be sewing a seam line along the bottom, or the part of your facing that would usually remain raw or serged.

carribean dress5 

Sew in place. (Ignore how mine looks a little puckery, I used a longer stitch length so it was easing it a bit. I didn’t back stitch so it smoothed out fine.)

carribean dress4

Clip your curves. Now turn the gluey side of the interfacing, towards the back and iron into place. Now your facing is ready to apply. Doesn’t this look professional and perfect? I’ve been doing this for 10 years and wonder how many others do it this way now.  Curious.

carribean dress3

Gorgeous facings!!


While we’re still on step #4 of sewing this dress, notice I eliminated the back loop closure. It fit find over Ilene’s head so I eliminated it. In fact, it was so big that I added a few tucks to the front to shrink in the neck area just a bit.


Our 5th and final step (sort of) is to hem the dress. Done!

See how nice the facing looks through this semi-sheer fabric?


But, if you want to make this dress yummier, add a waistband. I used 2.5 wide elastic so I cut a nice long piece of orange linen approx 3.5” inches wide. Turn each long side of orange linen under 1/2 and inch and iron with lot of steam. I sewed it the dress and left one end open as a casing for the elastic. I fed the elastic through and then sewed the casing shut.

DSC_0640 copy

The final embellishment was to use my “Windswept” embroidery design (for the jumbo hoop) and stitch that on in orange thread. Yummy! As I’ve said before about machine embroidery—I prefer to use simple  lightweight designs for clothing. Anything with a higher stitch count and this dress would’ve puckered under the weight of the stitches. As of July 27, 2012 I don’t have this larger jumbo size as an option but I’ll be adding it to the pack soon.

A nice cool  Carribbean-inspired church dress for these 100 degree days. (Hottest summer ever here in Utah.)  Ilene is kind of a Tom boy so it’s wishful thinking to assume she’d ever wear this dress during the week. I wish it fit me—I’d wear it for sure. (Hmmm….there’s an idea. Make me one too.)

DSC_0637 copy


A half-slip was needed as that yellow is pretty sheer.


The pattern claims this is a one hour dress but I would say 2-3 hours is needed to add the casing and a little bit of embroidery.

No comments:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...