A Breezy, Gathered Sorrel Dress Tutorial...

Monday, November 26, 2018

We're now in the final week of the Sorrel Dress paper pattern campaign!

There's still time to pledge towards the paper Sorrel (and now Pippi & Juniper) patterns - the campaign finishes on the 1st December NZDT, so if you'd like to be the first to access paper patterns at a great discount AND get your patterns before anyone else, now's the time to do it :)

Today, as promised, I wanted to share a little tutorial on how to turn your Sorrel Dress into a beautiful, breezy dress. I know that many of you are currently in the depths of winter, but come March/April, when your paper patterns start to arrive, you may be starting to think about all things spring. And of course, for those of us who are meant to be in the depths of sunny, warm weather, when you receive your digital Sorrel's at the start of December, you'll be able to hop right to it!

In this tutorial, we don't sew the front bodice darts in, just the back ones. This leaves you with a lightly fitted dress that is perfect for the beach or for layering with long sleeves underneath (teamed with boots and a little cropped cardi of course!).

You'll need:

All pattern alterations assume seam allowance has been removed, unless noted.

Bodice Construction Steps:

1. Sew up bodice as per the instructions, leaving the front bodice darts free (i.e don't sew them in!).

Gathered skirt pattern alteration:

I added an additional 7cm to my half patterns (so 14cm total to the back & 14cm to the front) on the sample pictured for a lightly gathered look. You may choose to have more or less, it's totally up to you, just replace my 7cm (X) with your desired number.

Back Skirt:

1. Place some spare paper underneath your back skirt pattern piece at the fold. Add Xcm additional width to the centre fold for your skirt gathers. True up your pattern where needed.

Front Skirt:

Depending on which cup size you fall into, will make a difference to the amount of extra width you want to add to your front skirt - we want your gathers to be proportionate all the way around - this is because the front darts are different widths depending on the cup size compared to the back (which stays the same across all cup sizes).

I've provided the math for you below for each cup size, replace the X with the same amount you added to your back skirt. Y equals the total amount of additional width you will need to add to your front skirt for propionate gathers all the way around your dress

Original Pattern:

A Cup skirt:  2cm + Xcm = Ycm

B Cup skirt:  2.4cm + Xcm = Ycm

C Cup skirt:  4.8cm + Xcm = Ycm

D Cup skirt:  7cm + Xcm = Ycm

Curve Pattern:

C Cup skirt:  4.6cm + Xcm = Ycm

D Cup skirt:  7.2cm + Xcm = Ycm

E Cup skirt:  8.8cm + Xcm = Ycm

F Cup skirt:  12.5cm + Xcm = Ycm

If you're making View 2 with the grown-on button band, you can add your additional Ycm width from the 'band' inwards, so that the button overlap remains flat. Use the diagrams below to cut and spread your pattern.

If you're making View 1, you can add your additional skirt gather width right from the centre front of the skirt piece, since the button band is added after the bodice and skirt are joined.

1. Cut down the View 1 cut-line on your front skirt pattern piece.

2. Place your spare paper underneath the cut pattern spread Ycm. Tape in place and true up your pattern where needed.

Gathered Skirt Construction Steps:

1. Attach pockets and stitch up side seams as per the original instructions.

2. Place 2 lines of basting stitch along your skirt waistline, stopping 5mm (1/4") before you hit a side seam and starting again 5mm (1/4") after you've passed a side seam.  Use a 1cm (3/8") seam allowance for the first line and a 2cm (3/4") seam allowance for the second line (this will help you achieve an evenly gathered skirt) and make sure you leave long thread tails.

3. Right sides together, pin your skirt to your bodice at the waistline, matching front and side seams. Gently pull your basting stitches to gather your skirt so that it fits neatly into your bodice. Tie threads in a knot and spread gathers evenly along the waist line, then pin in place.

4. Attach skirt to bodice using the 1.5cm (5/8") seam allowance, back-tacking at each end.

5. Remove basting stitches from the skirt and finish waistline raw edge. Continue to make up dress as per original instructions.

Another variation on this is to leave your front bodice darts in and take your back bodice darts out instead. You could even add some waist-ties to the side seams for a relaxed, cinched in look. In fact, I might try that next!

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