Looking for a project to enrich your sewing skills? This cute little dress we named Diana has it all: interfaced neckline, button down front, sleeve cuffs, pleats and inseam pockets. In this tutorial we are going to show you how to sew all of it using linen fabric, which is a pure pleasure to wear and to work with. In case you are already a pro at all the listed techniques, Diana is a sweet little dress to make for yourself, as a gift to your friend, or to size down to make for a little girl. Enjoy!
2.5 yards of IL042 904 FS Premier Finish 100% linen
Matching sewing thread, fusible interfacing (medium weight), 10 small buttons
Pattern paper, scissors, fabric marker, pins, ruler, measuring tape, seam ripper, chalk, needle, buttonhole foot, sewing machine
Note: Prewash your fabric and tumble dry it until it is still slightly moist, dry in room temperature. Iron the fabric so it is easier to work with.
Before we can actually start sewing, we need to serge/zigzag some of the raw edges to make our sewing process easier and to prevent the fabric from fraying in the future. Serge or zigzag all the side seams (bodice and skirt), the shoulder seams and the pocket panels and set all these pieces aside for now.
1. Let’s start with the neckline facing. Apply fusible interfacing to the wrong side of your neckline facing pieces. Pin your facing pieces along the shoulders with right sides together and stitch at a 3/8in (1 cm) seam allowance.
2. Press the seams open.
3. Serge or zigzag the bottom edge of your facing to make sure that your fabric doesn’t fray in the future.
Before attaching the facing onto the dress, you need to assemble the front and the back pieces of the bodice together.
4. Start by pinning the shoulder seams right sides together.
5. Sew at a 3/8in (1 cm) seam allowance and remember to backstitch at both ends.
6. Press the seams open.
7. Place the right side of the facing on top of the right side of your garment matching up the shoulder seams and pin. Use plenty of pins to get the facing seated in the neckline as much as possible.
8. Stitch the facing onto the neckline at a 3/8in (1cm) seam allowance. Trim the seams to 1/4″, make a few notches around the curves to release the tension.
9. The next step is to pull the facing to the wrong side of your dress. Pin the fold making sure that the seam isn’t showing on the right side and press it.
10. Topstitch the entire neckline as close to the seam as possible. It will help to prevent the facing from popping back out and lay flat on the inside. Don’t worry about the side raw edges, they will later be enclosed under the button band.
11. Pin the side seams of the bodice right sides together.
12. Sew at a 3/8in (1 cm) seam allowance and press the seams open.
13. It’s time to sew the sleeve cuffs. HERE‘s a step-by-step tutorial which explains how to do it. Note that the cuffs seam allowances are already included in the pattern.
Set your bodice aside for now and let’s concentrate on the skirt and the pockets.
14. Let’s start with the pockets. Pin the pocket panels right sides together.
15. Stitch along the pinned edges but leave 3/8″ (1 cm) on both ends unstitched. It’ll make it easier to pin the pockets onto the skirt.
16. On the serged/zigzagged side seams of the front skirt panels, measure 2″ from the waistline and make a mark. This mark is the beginning of your pockets.
17. With the wrong side of the front skirt panel facing you and the pocket’s wrong sides facing outwards, take the top pocket panel and match it to the mark you’ve made. Pin the top pocket panel to the skirt panel (right sides together) making sure the bottom panel of the pocket is not caught. Repeat for the second pocket. Make sure your pockets are facing the right way: the rounded edge should be looking down towards the bottom of your skirt.
18. Sew the pinned edges together (only the pocket) at a 3/8 in (1cm) seam allowance backstitching at both ends.
19. Pin the side seams of the skirt right sides together. When you come to the pocket, pin the other pocket panel to the other dress panel (right side to right side).
20. Stitch the second pocket panel to the dress.
21. Now sew the side seams together up to the pocket opening and then from the other end of the opening down to the bottom hem of the skirt. Remember to backstitch.
22. Press the seams open and carefully press the pocket seams to create two neat folds.
23. Finish the bottom hem by folding the fabric twice (3/8″ to 1/2″) to the wrong side. Make sure both front panels are aligned. Press and pin.
24. Stitch as close to the inner edge as possible. Give the entire hem a good press.
25. The time has come to attach the skirt to the bodice. Start by aligning and pinning the side seams at the waist.
26. Pleat your skirt to the width of your bodice. Create 3 evenly-sized and evenly-spaced pleats on the front and 6 on the back and pin them directly to the bodice. Right side to right side.
27. Stitch the skirt to the bodice at a 3/8in (1cm) seam allowance.
28. Trim the seam allowance to 1/4″ and serge or zigzag the raw edges together.
29. Working from the right side, press the seam flat folding the serged/zigzagged edge down towards the skirt.
Your dress is finally assembled and the last thing to do is to attach the button band, sew the buttonholes and place the buttons.
30. Take your button band strip and turn two long raw edges 3/8″ (1 cm) towards the wrong side. Then fold it in half lengthwise.
31. Tuck one of the shorter raw edges in and refold again lengthwise.
Repeat for the second strip of fabric.
32. Pin the button bands to the dress. Insert the dress’s raw edge only 1/4″ into the button band, not completely.
33. Set your machine to a longer straight stitch (# 4-5) since you have a lot of layers to stitch through and attach the band to the dress.
34. Since we cut longer strips of fabric than needed (to make sure we have enough fabric in the end), cut any excess of fabric when you come to the other end and close the raw edge as you did in step #32. Stitch over.
Repeat for the other side.
35. The last steps are to sew buttonholes and attach the buttons. Start by making your buttonholes following this tutorial HERE. The number and the spacing are really up to you. If you want your buttons closer, just leave smaller gaps between them. We decided to space our buttons 2,75″ (7 cm) apart.
36. Overlap the button bands and place a pin into the center of each buttonhole. This is where you’ll need to attach the buttons. Here’s a very easy tutorial on how to attach the buttons.
Give it a good press and your new dress-up-or-down, chic, versatile dress is finally done!