Monday, 9 March 2015

Simplicity 1547 Girls Dress Pattern Hack - Button Back to Elastic

Its been International Day here in our community! I didn't realise until a couple of days before that is quite important. A casual email from my daughters teacher said 'please send your child in national dress or in the colours of their flag'. Well, my kids are half Irish, half British, we don't really have a national dress from either side. We are not sports fans so we don't have any sports kits. I could have pulled together some sort of blue white and pink but that would not have addressed the green white and orange side and that would have upset the apple cart a little so at the last minute I realised I needed to make something. Living in Saudi Arabia means we have much less access to shops so I am planning on making much more for my kids and had even planned this elastic backed pattern hack already, it just wasn't going to look like a flag. I had even made a muslin. I wanted an easy-on easy-off woven dress for light cotton sun dresses and comfy dressing up dresses. I find shirring elastic a bit of a faff and not really resilient enough for my kids and I wanted to be able to embellish the front.

This uninterested scruffy creature is the same child that looks like butter wouldn't melt in her mouth in the picture above, honest!

From the front the pattern is not altered. This alteration would work on any dress with a fitted bodice and gathered skirt.

I chose this pattern as it has lots of pieces to work with for a whole range of looks that I am planning to make, watch this space, using a loose fitting sleeve, a collar  and various ruffles.

This back photo shows the 3 channels of elastic I added.

For the flag dress I used:
1 yard white cotton batiste/voile
1/4 yard green cotton broad cloth
1/4 yard gold quilting cotton
1 yard 3/8" wide flat elastic
1/2 yard red ribbon
1/2 yard navy ric rac or other trim

To alter the pattern I traced off the side, arm hole and shoulder of the back bodice,

Then widened it to match the back skirt. I also lengthened it by 1 1/2". I took 3/8" off the neckline all the way around as well.

I added all of my trim on the front bodice and gold ruffles on the bottom and I sewed the front bodice to front skirt as the pattern instructions, by gathering the green skirt. I didn't need to gather my back green skirt pieces as these are now the same width as the back bodice I just sewed theses as a straight seam. I sewed my shoulder seams as normal and repeated for a lining. The back lining does not have a waist seam, I overlapped the pattern pieces and cut it in one piece to save time.

I laid the lining over the outer shell right sides together and sewed around the neckline, clipped the curves, turned right side out and pressed.

I then sewed through the lining and outer shell to form channels for the elastic. I wanted 3 rows of elastic. Because I was using very sheer white fabric I did not mark my channels but I did switch to my walking foot which has a wider foot so I could use it as a guide to make sure my channels were exactly 1/2" wide so the elastic would fit through them nicely. I measured the elastic from a well fitting dress but the original pattern pieces would also work as a guide. I threaded it through with a safety pin.

After this I turned the dress inside out and sewed the side seams making sure to leave the front lining and back skirt lining free. I then checked the fit. This is really important even if the pattern is familiar as the elastic might need adjusting to get the fit right around the neckline.

I then turned it inside out again and flipped the front lining over to the back. I stitched the side seams together again as far as the waist. I could then pull it back to the front side covering the raw edges of the bodice. All that was left to finish now was the lining skirt side seams and hem, outer skirt hem, and I bound the arm holes. The binding was very fiddly for such a small garment so for my next dress I will add short sleeves.

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