Crisscross Back Summer Dress

This dress has the same crisscross back as our last linen dress, but features a different design for the bodice.

Notes:

  • All seam allowances are 1cm unless otherwise stated.
  • Pre-shrink machine washable fabrics: wash, dry and iron fabrics before sewing.

Sewing instructions:

  1. Creating the shoulder/back and waist straps.

Cut one piece of shoulder/back strap according to the measurement chart in the pattern document and one piece of front waist strap, using the contrast fabric (black in the picture).

Take the shoulder/back strap piece, with the wrong side of the fabric facing up, fold in 1cm of one short side to encase the raw edge, and iron flat. Fold the strip in half lengthwise and iron to find the central line. Open the strip, fold both long sides of the piece to meet at the middle and iron flat. Fold the strip in half lengthwise again to form the strap.

The waist strap is created the same way, except that there is no need to create a finished edge on one end. (The back strap will have one raw end and one finished end. The waist strap will have raw ends on both sides.)

For back strap, sew close along the long edge and the finished edge with 0.1cm seam allowance. For waist strap, sew along the long edge with 0.1cm allowance. Iron flat.

2. Creating the bodice.

Cut two bias tapes of 2.5cm wide – they will be used for finishing the side seams of the bodice and therefore should be slightly longer than the seams.

Finish the side seam by placing one bias tape on top of the Bodice Side with the right sides touching and raw edges lining up, and sewing along the seam with 0.8cm seam allowance. Trim off any excess tape. (Note: if your fabric is quite thick, it will be better to trim off the tape 1cm below the neckline raw edge.)

Turn the tape up to cover the seam allowance and fold it in along the raw edge of the seam allowance, fold again along the seam line, pin to secure if preferred, and sew along the folded edge with 0.1cm seam allowance. Finish the other side seam in the same way.

Fold in the neckline by 1cm with the wrong sides touching and iron flat. (If your are handling tricky fabric like mine, you can sew along the raw edge to secure it.) Fold in another 2cm and sew along the folded edge with 0.1cm seam allowance.

Thread the shoulder/back strap through the neckline tube using a bodkin.

3. Creating the skirt.

Finish the short sides of the skirt pieces with an overlocker. Place the two skirt pieces together with the right sides touching and the raw edges lining up. Sew together along both short side seams. Iron the seams open.

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.

Mark the center back of the skirt with a pin or sewing chalk. Sew one or two rows of gathering stitches along the top raw edge of the skirt. Gather up the skirt to approximately 1/2 of the original width. Set aside.

4. Creating the waistband.

Lay one front waistband piece with the right side facing up. Place the front waistband strap on top of it along the centre. Baste to secure on both sides.

Take one back waistband piece with the wrong side facing up, finish one short end of the piece by folding in 1cm, and folding in 1cm again, and sewing with 0.1cm allowance along the folded edge. Repeat with the remaining three back waistband pieces.

Place one of the front and one of the back waistband pieces together with the right sides touching and the raw edges lining up. Pin together along the short side edges. Sew together along the pinned seams. Iron the seams open flat. Repeat the steps to attach another back waistband piece to the same front waistband piece.

5. Attaching the waistband and bodice.

Place the waistband you assembled in step 5 over the gathered skirt with the right sides touching and the raw edges lining up. First match up the side seams of the waistbands and the skirt and pin to secure. Now, match up the marked center of the skirt back with the finished ends of both back waistband pieces and pin to secure. Adjust the gathers between the pins and pin to secure.

Sew together along the pinned seam. Finish the seam with an overlocker.

Flip the waistband up and iron the seam allowance up towards the waistband. Place the bodice on top of the front waistband with the right sides touching and the raw edges lining up. Match up the center of the bodice front with the center of the front waistband and pin to secure. Sew along the pinned line to attach the bodice to the waistband.

(Note: The bodice is wider than the front waistband by design to provide better coverage. Both sides of the bodice will extend to the back waistband. Don’t worry and just keep pinning them to the waistband.)

6. Finishing the dress.

Place the remaining front and back waistband lining pieces together with the right sides touching and the raw edges lining up. Pin together along the short side edges, leaving a gap of approximately 1.5cm in the middle. Sew along the pinned seams. Iron the seams open flat.

Sew a rectangle around the gap on the side seams to secure the seam allowance to the waistband.

Place the waistband lining on top of the waistband. The main and lining waistbands should be right sides facing with the bodice front sandwiched in between. Line up the side seams and pin to secure. Sew around the pinned seam. Finish the seam with an overlocker.

Flip the waistband lining up. Do not flip up the bodice front or back straps at this time. Iron the raw edge of the waistband down 1cm, with the wrong sides touching.

Iron the inside seam allowance down towards the skirt.

Flip the bodice front and back straps up and turn the whole garment inside out.

Fold the waistband lining down over the waistband so that it covers the exposed seam on the inside of the skirt and iron flat. Secure with pins along the waistband. NOTE: Ironing the waistband at the top and bottom will help create a smooth waistband.

Flip the garment right side out. Sew on the right side of the fabric all the way across the waistband directly above the seam. As you sew, remove the pins from underneath as you approach each pin, as this will ensure a neat inside waistband.

Thread one end of the shoulder/back strap from the gap on the opposite side of the side seam of the waistband, and through the casing of the back waistband. Repeat with the other end of the strap. Pull the straps to gather the skirt to the right size and tie a bow to secure.

Congratulations – the dress is now finished!

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