Tag Archives: Craft

Purple Bodycon Dress

Do you wear your dresses in the winter months?

Do you need more winter dresses so that you can be warm and comfortable?

Finished purple body con dress with piping
Finished purple body con dress with piping

I’ve decided to make a series of warm winter dresses over the next two months of this New Year. And I’m starting with a simple bodycon style made from purple Ponte di Roma.
The pattern that I have chosen to use consists only of four pieces, the back, and the front and the two sleeves. Because it is such a simple design I felt that I wanted to break up the body of the front of the dress to create a bit more interest. I looked around for ideas and inspiration from a few of my favourite recent fashion shows and came across the Christopher Kane Spring RTW 2015 collection. I’ve pinned two of the pictures from that show here and here

It was both the colour of the fabric and the directional lines, which dissect the body at differing intervals, which appealed as a starting, point for my own ideas.

Sketch of purple dress ideas
Sketch of purple dress ideas

So maybe my sketch doesn’t look as dramatic as the designer’s, but I am making a new winter dress and it has to be a practical day wear outfit too.

I’ve used a basic sewing pattern, which I have used before so I know that it fits me. I drew it out onto paper and played around with it, drawing the piping lines onto the front until I was happy with the placement, then I cut it up!!

purple dress pattern
Purple dress pattern

I numbered the paper pattern pieces and marked them with the straight grain line so that it would be easier to keep them in the correct order. It was important that I remembered to add the seam allowances onto these new pattern pieces as well. I used an allowance of 15mm / 5/8 inch.

I’ve selected to use a Ponte di Roma fabric for this make. It is a warm double knit with a directional stretch. It is very easy to sew with and comfortable to wear. It is also simple to wash and press.

Inside front of dress
Inside front of dress

When I was cutting out the fabric it was important to get the straight grain of the fabric on the vertical but also to check that the stretch was going to be going around the body and for the sleeves, around the arms. I numbered all of the fabric pieces as I cut them out to save confusion when it came to sewing them together.

Front of dress with piping detail
Front of dress with piping detail

I handmade my own piping from a darker shade of purple, to add an accent. I wasn’t sure about it at first so played around with a few options on a small scrap of the fabric. As well as piping with the accent colour, I tried piping with the main fabric, it would have worked well, but I was after a bit more punch.

Piping samples
Piping samples

I was pleased with how easy it was to put the main front section of the dress together. The seams were overclocked/serged before sewing the back and front together with the sewing machine, it gives a neat finish.
I decided to sew a single line of piping on to the sleeves as well. By simply measuring my arm length and cutting the sewing pattern where I wanted the placement of the piping to be and not forgetting to allow an extra seam allowance so that the tapered sleeve would still fit my arm.

Was this a successful first winter dress of the New Year? (@sewingavenue)

Finished purple body con dress with piping
Finished purple body con dress with piping

I think so. I am happy with the result; it will be fun to wear inside and with the addition of boots and a cardigan under a coat it will be great for outdoors too.

Ten New Year resolutions for better sewing results

Whatever your level of sewing ability here are ten helpful hints for the New Year to take your sewing and dressmaking forward into 2015.

1. Keep your workspace clean and tidy

If it’s been a while since you cleaned up your work surface, picked up all of the pins and dusted under the sewing machine, then maybe its time for an early spring-clean. Get into the habit of putting everything away after each project and then starting a fresh with each new one.

Sewing Avenue
Sewing Avenue

[pinit]

2. Get your sewing machine and serger/over locker serviced regularly

Find your local machine service shop and book in for an annual overhaul, just like you do with your car, this way things should run smoother making sewing on your machine much more enjoyable.

3. Make sure you have the right tools for the job

Get kitted out. If your equipment is old and damaged then it might be time to upgrade. Get nice sharp scissors and a tape measure with both metric and imperial numbers. You could also treat yourself to a new machine foot or two so you can tackle new and more advanced techniques like a concealed zipper foot or one for piping.

Sewing Avenue
Sewing Machine Feet

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4. Finish off all those unfinished projects

Make a considered effort to complete any sewing you haven’t got around to finishing off. Maybe you just need to get a hem stitched up or the buttonholes put into a shirt. Use this New Year and a new start to get it all done and start afresh.

Sewing Avenue
Sewing Avenue

[pinit]

5. Don’t buy any more fabric

Well not for a while anyway. Sort out what you have in your fabric collection, l bet you have some gorgeous gems hidden away that have been forgotten about. Make the decision to be kind to your wallet and use what you have before adding to the pile. I know that this will be hard because I can’t walk past a fabric shop without going in.

6. Know your measurements

When sewing clothing it is important to know your measurements, or those of the person you are making the garment for, it ensure a good fit. Make sure you have the correct size pattern and don’t be afraid to make alterations to it to make it fit your body size and shape. Take your measurements regularly; don’t assume you are always the same size.

Body Measurements - Sewing Avenue
Body Measurements – Sewing Avenue

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7. Improve your skills or learn a new one

No one knows it all. It can be fun to educate your self a little. There are plenty of resources out there on the Internet blog sites and you tube. Bookshops are full of guides and instructional manuals and if you can stretch to it you could sign up to a sewing course, many community centres and colleges offer day and evening classes at reasonable rates. You may also meet like-minded people to share your sewing exploits with.

8. Don’t cut sewing corners

Give your projects the proper time and attention they deserve. After all you have paid out good money for the pattern and the fabric and thread etc. Plan before you start, if you know time is an issue then come back to it when you can between your other commitments, don’t spoil your efforts by working when tired or making do with the wrong colour lining.

9. Wear what you make

If you have a wardrobe/closet full of garments you have made but they never see the light of day, then its time to change that. 2015 is the year you can start wearing your creations. You have invested your time, money and effort into these clothes; this leads on to the last of our New Year resolutions

10. Be proud of your efforts

Wear your hand made couture with pride. You will never walk into a room and have that embarrassing situation where two of you are in the same dress. You will be unique and individual. Boast about your efforts and enjoy the compliments.

 

Happy sewing year.