Want to know hot to stitch a designer girl frock? Keep on reading today’s episode of the Summer Fun Series hosted by Emily at Life Sew Savory!
Living between the Alps, summer doesn’t always equal to hot weather. This year we were blessed by high temperatures (up to 30°C, something like 85 °F) but this is not our average summer! We rarely wear tanks (mostly short sleeves, keeping a cardigan available, for once it rains) and reserve dresses for our holidays at the seaside.
But his year it’s a special one! We’ve been wearing shorts and tanks and sleeveless dresses for a couple of weeks in a row. This is why I’ve decided to agree to my daughter’s request for a girl frock that wasn’t that girlish. She wanted a “dress she can wear for an evening summer party” (note that we’ve never been to an evening summer party, but: you never know!).
We’ve been wearing shorts and tanks and sleeveless dresses for a couple of weeks in a row. This is why I’ve decided to agree to my daughter’s request for a girl frock that wasn’t that girlish. She wanted a “dress she can wear for an evening summer party” (note that we’ve never been to an evening summer party, but: you never know!).
So we brainstormed a little bit to understand which features an 8 years old girl imagines a party dress should include and we draw up “The List”:
- it must be black (or dark grey)
- it has to shine
- it needs to be sheer (partially sheer can work)
- can’t skip ruffles
Wow! That’s a lot of things to put into a dress! Let’s see how it goes…
How to design a girl frock – Summer Fun Series
Just because it wasn’t complicated enough, my daughter begged me to use scraps from an old project, this blouse I refashioned from the dress I wore for my matriculation exam, back in the 90s.
Ok, this one starts to seem a challenge… and I love challenges!
So I’ve browsed my old Burda magazines collection and I’ve found one from 1996, featuring a dress that seemed a perfect starting point. I traced it and started playing with the pieces.
First of all, I’ve double-traced the skirt portion, creating an overlayer (to be cut on sheer fabric). To add volume to it, I’ve vertically slashed and spread each skirt piece to add fullness, until I’d doubled the width. I’ve also added a little length to be right under the knees.
Then I’ve decided to move the side button closure to a center back invisible zipper.
I then needed to add ruffles, and I’ve thought that a ruffly hem, matching a center front ruffle detail on the top would have satisfied my daughter’s ruffles cravings. Still thinking about the bling-bling portion, but let’s leave it there hanging for a moment (if you are curious, scroll down to the end of this post!).
Let me digress: due to several factors, during the last year I’ve partially lost my sew-jo. I mean: I love to sew but
- I find hard to find the time to sew
- Most of the time, I am able to scrap just a few minutes here and there, and a whole afternoon spent sewing looks like luxury to me.
I always end up putting together clothes without enjoying the process, trying to sew them quickly and get them done, rather than sewing in a more relaxed way. I always end up doing mistakes, and bad words escape from my mouth.
How to stitch a designer girl frock – Summer Fun Series
When I chose to join this Summer Fun Series, I’ve decided this time had to be different: I wanted to create a dress full of designer details, like the ones I used to create. This involves some more time, a good chunk of it spent planning (and the rest practicing on scraps).
Are you wondering which designer details I’ve included?
- Rolled hems on the sheer fabric ruffles;
- Contrasting facings to finish the square neckline;
- Rolled hems to the facing raw edges;
- A hand-stitched invisible zipper;
- A hand-stitched blind hem on the miniskirt.
Let see how I did it, in the details.
The key here is practice on scraps, especially when working with fabrics like this sheer one, not behaving the way you’d expect. Scraps are your best friends and you should particularly test rolled hem on crossing seams… they’re evil!
Here are the settings I end up using: