Tag Archives: bodycon dress

Red Bodycon Dress

Hello and welcome to my sewing blog

How about a bit of scuba diving?

I get very excited by innovation in fabric technology. It is moving very rapidly, especially in the field of sports wear and practical outerwear clothing manufacture. One of these relatively new fabrics which has made its way through the production process and is now both available to the home sewist and cheap enough to be affordable is Scuba.

Red Bodycon Dress- Sewing Avenue Blog
Red Bodycon Dress – Valentine’s Red

A couple of weeks ago I took myself out on the first fabric shopping spree of 2015, and one of the fabrics I was very excited to find and bring back home was a brilliantly vibrant red scuba knit. I’ve seen scuba fabric before, of course, both in fabric shops but also made up in designer’s RTW collections.

So what is scuba fabric?

Scuba is a fine gauge double-knit fabric made from polyester and lycra. It is quite a dense, thick fabric with a definite stretch in the horizontal direction and a slighter stretch in the vertical. It has a very smooth surface and a squishy, bouncy feel when squashed between the fingers. A bit like Neoprene, wet suiting (that’s the connection to the scuba diving!). Unlike some jersey fabrics which can stretch out of shape quickly, scuba has a good “memory”, meaning that it returns well to it’s original shape. As with all stretch fabrics though it is important to determine which direction has the most stretch and ensure that this is the direction which will go around the form of the body. I know this sounds obvious but it is easy to forget to look at this.
Scuba is now readily available in a wide range of bright, bold colours and many prints. It seems to wash well, holding its shape but it doesn’t hang or flow like regular dress fabric. Scuba tends to be used to make figure hugging clothing with only basic construction seems, no fancy darts for shaping, and for making leggings.

It is very easy to sew and also easy to wear.

Making my bodycon dress

Even though I don’t have the hour glass figure of someone like Kim Kardashian, who has made the body con dress so iconically famous, I thought I would have a go at making myself one anyway and as it was Valentines day only yesterday, why not make it in red?

I’ve used the same pattern for this red dress as I did for my Purple BodyCon dress a few months ago. I sketched out a few ideas on paper and played about with fabric before making my final pattern decision of staying with the bodycon style.

Red Bodycon Dress- Sewing Avenue Blog
Red Bodycon Dress Sketch

The sewing pattern for this stretch fabric had to be very basic with a minimum of construction and detail, therefore the bodycon pattern would be perfect.

Before starting with cutting out the fabric, I remeasured myself, especially my waist measurement and hip measurement. I wanted the bodycon dress to be just that, to follow the contours of my body rather than hang from the body like a shift dress would do. I made a few modifications to the pattern length as well, adding four inches at the hem and made the sleeves a little longer as it is still winter here! I have also tapered the shape of the bottom of the dress in towards the body at the hem to again accentuate the natural curves of my body.

How to sew scuba fabric

Red Bodycon Dress- Sewing Avenue Blog
Sewing Scuba Fabric with Sewing Machine

This is the very first time I have ever had the opportunity to sew with scuba knit fabric, both me and the machine were up for the challenge! (A new needle and a bit of an oiling). I used a stretch stitch setting on the sewing machine with the tension set to heavy jersey and it stitched together remarkably easily.
I tried the basic body of the dress on to check for size, before the sleeves were set in. When I was satisfied with the finished fit I serged/overlocked the seams together which also cut off the excess fabric from the seam allowance. Then the sleeves were attached and the remaining seams around the armholes serged to cut off the bulk of the seam allowance. I made a neckband by cutting a length of the scuba out on the fabric bias. I was unsure about this because the bias stretch of the fabric was not as great as the horizontal stretch. It seems to work well as a neckband though and I have top stitched around it to make the finish look neat.

The scuba fabric feels nice to wear against the skin and moves with me when I move, its not at all restrictive, even though the dress is quite tight!

Red Bodycon Dress - Sewing Avenue Blog
Red Bodycon Dress – Valentine’s Red

How to determine the stretchability of a knit fabric

Knit fabrics vary greatly in their amount of stretchability, so whether you are going to use a thin t-shirt jersey, a Poni Roma or a Scuba fabric, it is good to know if your fabric will have the required amount of stretch for the pattern you are using. If you are using a commercial packet pattern it will probably detail whether the pattern is suitable for slight, moderate or super stretch fabric. Knowing what this means and how to assess it is important.

To test the stretchability of your knit fabric you will need a 4 inch/10cm long section of the fabric and a piece of paper or card at 6 inches long. Mark 4 inches out on the card. Hold one edge of your fabric length at the edge of your 4 inch measurement on the card and pull it to stretch the fabric comfortably. Mark the point on the card where the fabric has stretched to. If it stretched out to about 4 ½-4 ¾ inches then it is a slight stretch knit, 4¾-5½ is moderate stretch and up to 6 inches is super stretch.
Notice as well after stretching, whether the fabric returns to it’s original dimensions or not. A knit which does not recover it’s shape well may have a tendency to sag with washing or wear. No one wants saggy bits!

Red Bodycon Dress- Sewing Avenue Blog
Red Bodycon Dress – Finished Dress

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Happy Sewing

Valentines fun

“Love, Love, Love. All you need is love. Love is all you need.”
― John Lennon


It’s Valentines week and time to have some fun! Creative sewing fun of course!

I am excited that this Valentines week is the perfect opportunity to enjoy making something a little bit different. Something frivolous and full of joy and amusement with a sprinkling of laughter.

Each season I watch the runway shows with keen interest and there are always a few designers who stand out for me. Diane Von Furstenberg is one of those. When I saw her resort collection for 2015 it all appeared to be very smart and of her distinctive style. However, Diane seems to have managed to sneak this Heart sweater and black trouser/pants look in! I Love it. It made me smile when I first saw it and with a reaction like that I knew I had to make something inspired by this look.

It is full of pure fun and playfulness with almost a touch of the fancy dress costume about it. It looks very young and energised.

As you can see, the original inspiration design is not a dress! However I knew that it was a dress that I wanted to make so I reinterpreted the Diane Von Furstenberg trouser/pants and top into a one piece look.

Once the design had been defined I wanted this sewing make to be about creativity rather than a challenge on the dressmaking and construction front. Therefore I chose to use a pattern which I use often and know fits me well because I have fine tuned it over time. The fitting would not become the focus of this make.

Sewing Avenue - Fashion Patterns Sewing Inspiration
Valentines fun – Heart Dress Construction

The dress pattern was cut into the separate skirt and bodice sections a few inches above the line of my natural waist to achieve a slightly high waisted look. I also cut the sleeve pattern at the wrist so that a mock cuff look could be created with the black fabric.

When I started sewing I had to keep switching the thread colour in both the sewing machine and the serger/overlocker, between the black and the white, which became a bit tedious at times.

Sewing Avenue - Fashion Patterns Sewing Inspiration
Valentines fun – Heart Dress

The zip in the back of the dress is sewn in as an exposed zip.I think that this adds a stripe of black detail which gives interest to the back of the dress which would otherwise be plain. I am extremely pleased with the way the back of the dress has turned out. I knew what to do to achieve a successful finish on the front but the back of an outfit sometimes doesn’t get the consideration that it deserves and in this case just a simple stripe of black from a functional fasting has turned out to look quite designed.

Sewing Avenue - Fashion Patterns Sewing Inspiration
Valentines fun – Heart Dress Ironing

The most fun and creative part of the project, was of course attaching the red Valentine heart to the front of thee bodice. I did this at the very last stage after my final fitting, hemming and pressing. It could all have gone so wrong here.

The brilliant red heart was cut from a piece of fabric I had in the scrap bag. Do you keep all your scraps and fabric leftovers too? Just in case?

Symmetry and precise placement was key to getting the final look perfect. I attached the heart to the bodice with a double sided fusible webbing which held it precisely in place while I stitched around the perimeter of the shape using a medium satin stitch setting on my sewing machine.
I’m not a big fan of Applique on adult clothing as a rule, however this was the only way I could think of to achieve the design with this motif. As it is intended to be fun and not taken too seriously it works well on this occasion.

Sewing Avenue - Fashion Patterns Sewing Inspiration
Valentines fun – Heart Dress

What do you think ?
Please let me know in the comments below. Also subscribe to the newsletter and follow me on google+facebook, twitter and bloglovin to keep in touch.

Happy sewing

Here are a few feel good, inspirational quotes from me to you this Valentine’s week.

“You can be gorgeous at thirty, charming at forty, and irresistible for the rest of your life.”
― Coco Chanel

“True friends are like diamonds – bright, beautiful, valuable, and always in style.”
― Nicole Richie

“The most important thing to wear is a smile.”
―Ann Taylor