Thursday 15 September 2016

Wardrobe Staples: Minimal Belted Shirt Dress

photo DIYShirtDress2_zpsvrgxgz3x.jpg
Got to be one of my favourite DIYs of all time. This post was getting completely out of control in terms of length so I broke it up into 3 separate ones - the steps for sewing the collar are here, and for the flat felled shoulder seams head here. The wrinkly status of the ready dress courtesy of a day of roaming around Hong Kong.

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photo 0 Tools_zpshza8i7up.jpg
Fabric, 3-3.5 m depending on your size and length of dress  |  Small piece of interfacing for the collar  |  Scissors  |  Fabric marker  |  Pins  |  Thread & sewing machine, needle  |  8 buttons

I. Here are the measurements of my cut pieces (I'm a EU36/US4 however this loose fit would be good for a EU40 as well). The two front pieces are essentially copies of each other, the only difference being that the left side is about 2 cm less wide than the right side - this is for the button band business to work. Note that there's a bit of a V-neck in the front pieces - the front center edges are cut at a slight angle for about 30 cm from the top, thereafter they go down straight.
photo 1 Cut pieces_zpsa9ngzsjd.jpg
II. Started with the button band of the left side front piece (the more narrow one, where the actual buttons will be attached). First press a 0.5 cm fold along the full distance of the front center raw edge.
photo 2 Press fold_zpspljgkisq.jpg
Then fold again, so the second fold ends up being 2 cm wide. Pin down and sew right next the the edge.
photo 3 Fold and press again_zpsvt52215f.jpg
.. And you'll have this. That's it for the left front piece.
photo 4 Sewn_zpscdbnwdlp.jpg
III. For the right front piece, we'll make the concealed button band that will eventually have the button holes in it. First take the long strip of fabric about 11 cm wide, and pin right sides facing onto the main front part, along the front center line (as you can see I'm always paranoid when cutting my button bands because I once cut one too short, and was out of fabric to fix it. So I rather go long and then trim..)
photo 5 Pin button band_zpskgvlbl3e.jpg
After stitching those two together at 0.5 cm from the edge, press the seam allowance towards the button band, away from the shirt.
photo 6 Pressed seam_zpsmh20netr.jpg
Then make your first fold so the forming band from the front is 2 cm wide.
photo 7 First fold_zpsijd5do7c.jpg
Make a second fold so the fold line matches the first stitch you did..
photo 8 Second fold_zpsw1jrji0a.jpg
.. Which will leave you with this type of situation.
photo 9 Folds open_zps5r3j8ygh.jpg
Then press a third fold, so the third fold line is just a couple mm from the first one. This way it will be fully concealed looking from the right side.
photo 10 Third fold_zpsxrowqjqb.jpg
And finally, press the last fold so once again, it aligns with the stitching. Opened up it should now looks like this.
photo 11 Folds open_zpsi7nzvgad.jpg
IV. Then take the layers not attached to the shirt, and pin them together..
photo 12 Pinned_zps25wlsjpd.jpg
.. To sew a straight stitch right at the edge. Note that I stopped stitching about 10 cm before the hem, cause I didn't yet know what I wanted to do there/the exact length of the dress.
photo 13 Stop stitch before bottom_zpsdyxs1iz9.jpg
V. Finally, blind stitch the button band folds in place on the reverse side, in the ditch indicated by the arrow below. Button bands done!
photo 14 Slip stitched_zpsluiha9oe.jpg
VI. Next I did the shoulder seams, which is detailed in this post.

VII. I also added pockets to the dress (obviously) but won't go through all that in detail here (another post with the specific steps is here). But here are the measurements for where I placed them; started the first part of the side seam 20 cm down from the shoulder seam, and started the pocket 21 cm down from that spot. After the pocket I continued the side seam another 21 cm, ending there to start the side slit.
photo 20 Side seam and pocket_zpskdv6muth.jpg
VIII. Then finished the sides of the slits with a double fold and a stitch on the right side:
photo 20.1 Slit finished_zpsawqepclu.jpg
Same deal for the arm holes.
photo 21 Arm hole_zps8uue44ra.jpg
IX. Next up was the collar prep! I wanted a little box pleat detail at the back of the neck, so I first marked the center point there.
photo 22 Mark center back_zpsyijd9oos.jpg
Then with the help of my iron, pressed my box pleat in place and stitched over it to secure.
photo 23 Box pleat_zps6tegyl3q.jpg
X. Next up was the collar construction. For that part head over here.

XI. The light at the end of the tunnel is showing! At this point I tried on the dress to confirm the length and chopped of a few cm. Then finished the concealed side of the button band..
photo 34 Bottom button band_zpsiiptzqi0.jpg
.. By first taking the folds stitched together and folding them around, to align that edge with the first stitch done in the button band process, on the right side.
photo 35 folded over_zpswyzelequ.jpg
Sewed a straight stitch across, and trimmed off the excess:
photo 36 Sewn and trimmed_zpscyfbjfsw.jpg
.. To turn back right side out, pushing to get a sharp corner.
photo 37 Done_zpszvk62nke.jpg
XII. The hems I just finished with a double-fold which I hand-stitched.
photo 38 Hemming_zpsks75jdhd.jpg
XIII. Last bit! The belt. I cut out a long piece (180 cm long, 20 cm wide, which I actually had to make out of two pieces 90 cm long each). Folded in half width-wise and pinned to sew along the edges.
photo 39 Belt piece_zpssygmr9ts.jpg
I did an triangular finish at the ends, and left a few cm gap in the stitch. Them trimmed the excess around the corners, and used the gap in the stitch to pull the belt right side out.
photo 40 Gap in stitch_zps5kifbrha.jpg
Pressed, and closed the gap in the stitch by hand-stitching.
photo 41 Done belt_zpsy2bee8ar.jpg
Then, I added a basting stitch to the center of the belt, and gathered it like this.
photo 42 Gathered center_zpsn22axklr.jpg
Pinned to the center of the back (after confirming where it should comfortably be wrapped). Sewed in place right on top of the basting stitch.
photo 43 Pinned to back_zpsm1znalfl.jpg
XIV. Longest. Project. Ever. Lastly just marked the button hole spots on the concealed part of the button band (do NOT get this confused. I have once happily sewn my button holes on the layer that sits on top. No one had fun that day.) Won't go into button hole instructions, youtube and sewing machine manuals are out there!
photo 44 Mark button holes_zps85dg0ko9.jpg
Here's a couple final shots of the finishes.. I did do one more thing, which was to blind stitch the two layers of the button band together from the collar down to a couple cm from the first button hole.
photo 46 Button hole_zpsroolegka.jpg
And finally, with buttons attached!
photo 47 Buttons_zpsy9c6pdhz.jpg
A bit of work, but I'm so happy with the result! This one will be a long-time favourite for sure.
photo DIYShirtDress3_zpsr9eegknr.jpg photo DIYShirtDress5_zpsrw4cm2bk.jpg photo DIYShirtDress_zps9jmsfy0u.jpg photo DIYShirtDress6_zpsp44vrkvp.jpg



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