1.5 yards + 1.5 hours = One New Dress.

Scarlet and I met the prudent dad for dinner shortly after the completion of this number, and he complimented my new dress! I excitedly exclaimed “Thanks! I made it!” to which he responded: “It’s cute!” Then, bubbling over, I effused: “I’m so glad you like it!” To which he replied: “It’s not the sexiest thing ever.” Oh. Okay.

So, if your goal in life is to be as sexy as possible at all times, then I guess this isn’t the dress for you. But if you just want a dress that is quick, cheap, and comfy, this one should do.

Not even a little sexy? Hrmph. Get the full 1.5 Dress Tutorial after the jump…

The 1.5 Dress Tutorial

1.  Pre-wash and iron your fabric. I used this older Alexander Henry cotton which is luxe and very similar to the new Fulham Road Martine Cerulean Blue.  Now you want to cut two pieces, one front and one back.  Use my drawing as a guide.  If you cheat the back slightly wider (about 3/4″ on each side, it’ll fit even better).

You’ll see the front neckline is lower then the back.  So here you are:

2.  Pin the front to the back, right sides facing, along the shoulder seams:

Sew in place.

3.  Now your two pieces are right sides facing.  Note the back being slightly wider than the front:

Align the edges and pin together:

Sew together and finish the edges by serging, sewing with a zig zag stitch, or cutting with pinking shears:

4.  Now to finish the sleeves.  Fold to the wrong side 1/4″ and iron, then another 1/4″ and iron:

Sew in place with a straight stitch:

You can leave the sleeve like this, but it will be a bit pointy as in this pic:

So i made a little tweak. Lay the dress flat:

Fold the tip of the sleeve down about 1″:

Secure it in place at both sides of the fold with a few stitches perpendicular to the sleeve:

5. Decide how long you want your dress.  Hem by folding 1/2″ and ironing, then folding and ironing again (I like a thicker hem so i went 1.5″), then sewing in place with a straight stitch or a blind hem stitch.

6.  OK, now you can get a little customizey with your dress.  Try it on.  Look at that, looks a bit like a hospital gown at this stage, no?

So you need to finish the neckline.  You can fold and iron, use single fold bias tape (like we did for the Most Flattering Shirt Dress), or make matching bias tape.  You can cut a v-neck, leave it a boat neck or get creative.  I cut a 2″ slit right in the middle of the front and finished the whole neckline with skinny store-bought double fold bias tape:

Then I folded one side over the other, and sewed it in place along the previous stitch line:

7.  Now try it on again.

Cuter, and would make a nice shift dress, but it’s still a little baggy around the waist for my taste.  There are many options for making a waist, just remember you want to be able to fit the dress over your head without adding a zipper or button.  The easiest option is to throw on a belt:

But i decided I’d like to have a little bit more fitted around the waist.  I decided to sew a piece of elastic just to the back to get a fit like this (which can now be worn with or without a belt).  You could do this or you could use elastic thread to get the same effect.  So determine where you want the gathering to fall on the back of your dress and mark it on the wrong side. Cut a piece of elastic half the length between your marks (so my marks were 8 inches apart and my elastic 4″ long):

Pin your elastic to one side of the marking. Stretch it out and pin it to the other side. Pin in the middle as well. There will be a gaps in between the pins like this:

Put one end in the machine and turn the knob a few stitches, ending with the needle down, so it is securely in the elastic. It will look like this:
Stretch the elastic while you sew with a straight stitch.  Do as many rows as you like (I did three).

It will look like this from the inside:

And like this from the outside:


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