- All seam allowances are 1cm unless otherwise stated.
- Pre-shrink machine washable fabrics: wash, dry and iron fabrics before sewing.
1. Preparing the front bodice piece (optional).
Transfer the desired embroidery pattern onto the front bodice piece and embroider by hand. For the dress in the picture, I have mainly used stem stitch and French Knots, and occasionally back stitch for those small branches. There are many YouTube videos showing you how to do these stitches if you are new to embroidery. Don’t be afraid – they are simple and very easy to learn.
2. Attaching sleeves to the front bodice.
Take one sleeve piece and lay it on top of the front bodice piece with the right sides touching. Align the curved edges on the front side of the sleeve and the bodice and pin along the line. (Note: once pinned in place, open the sleeve to the right side and check whether the neckline of the front bodice has joined smoothly with the neckline of the sleeve. If not, readjust the position and pin again.) Sew along the pinned line and finish with an overlocker. Iron the seam toward the sleeve. Repeat with the other sleeve piece.
3. Attaching back bodice pieces to the sleeves.
Take one back bodice piece and lay it on top of one sleeve piece with the right sides touching. Align the curved edges on the back side of the sleeve and the bodice and pin along the line. (Note: once pinned in place, open the bodice and check whether the neckline of the back bodice joins smoothly with the neckline of the sleeve. If not, readjust the position and pin again.) Sew along the pinned line and finish with an overlocker. Iron the seam toward the sleeve. Repeat with the other back bodice piece.
4. Finishing the back bodice.
Fold in 2cm along the raw edge of one back bodice piece and iron. Open the fold and fold in around 0.5cm along the raw edge and iron along the fold (note: try not to iron out the first fold). Fold twice along the two folding lines and stitch close to the folded edge.
Repeat with the other bodice back piece.
5. Finishing the sleeves.
Hem the sleeves by folding in 0.5cm of the short raw edge twice and sew closely along the folded edge.
Sew the elastic near the hem of one sleeve (as marked on the pattern), starting and ending 1cm from the long raw edges (Note: stretch the elastic when sewing – this makes sure the sleeve will gather once sewn with the elastic.) Repeat with the other sleeve.
6. Creating the waist sash (optional)
Fold one sash piece lengthwise with the right sides touching and the raw edges lining up. Pin and sew along the long raw edge and one short end, leaving the other short end open for turning. Trim off half of the seam allowance and clip the corner. Turn the sash right side out and iron flat. Repeat for the other sash piece.
(If a pointed sash end is desired, sew a diagonal line as shown in the picture.)
Turn the bodice inside out. Sandwich one waist sash along the side seams in between the front and back bodice and 1cm above the waist raw edge. (For pointed sash, the pointed corner is ‘up’ – i.e. closer to neckline). Pin and sew along the side seams of the bodice and the long seams of the sleeve as shown in the picture. Repeat with the other side of the bodice and sleeve.
7. Finishing the neckline with bias binding.
Making a bias tape: Cut a bias strip from the main fabric measuring 4cm in width and approx 50cm in length. Fold the strip in half width along the long edge with the wrong sides touching. Press well. Fold both the long edges of the strip by 1cm and press. Fold in 0.8cm at one short edge of the bias tape and press.
Beginning with the folded short edge, pin the bias tape right sides together on the neckline, lining up the raw edges. At the other end of the neckline, leave an extra 0.8cm of the bias tape and cut off the excessive part. Fold in the 0.8cm so that the folded short edge of the bias tape is aligned with the bodice back’s edge. Sew along the pinned line.
Fold the bias tape twice so that the raw edge of the neckline is sandwiched in between the bias tape and pin it in place.
Sew close to the long folded edge of the bias tape carefully.
8. Creating and attaching the skirt.
Fold the skirt piece with the right sides touching and raw edges lining up. Sew along the raw edge and finish the seam with an overlocker. Iron the seams flat.
Hem the bottom raw edge of the skirt: turn the raw edge 1cm up and iron. Then turn up another 2cm and iron. Sew closely along the folded edge.
Overlap the two back bodice pieces by 2cm with the left side on the top, and baste stitch to secure.
Sew one or two gathering stitches along the remaining raw edge of the skirt. Gather the skirt to the same length as the waistline of the bodice.
With the right sides touching, pin the bodice and gathered skirt with their raw edges lining up. Sew along the line and finish with an overlocker.
Add three buttons on the left back bodice and three buttonholes on the right. Congratulations – the dress is now finished!