We have recently started selling three dress patterns from the Lisa Comfort range so I thought we should try making one.
The Ultimate Shift Dress would make an ideal first project for beginners and takes you through the basics of dressmaking.
The Betty is a 1950’s inspired dress, it has a few more techniques to learn and help you move on with your sewing skills
The final pattern is the Doris dress and the one we decided to make first. Louise really liked this pattern so I offered to make it for her family holiday!
It's a vintage 1950’s fashion semi-fitted with a flattering scooped neck bodice, bust pleats for delicate shaping and floaty grown-on sleeves.
The waist can be cinched in at the back with the attached ties, a fixed back belt or left loose.
The skirt has two length variations – short and cute above the knee, or elegant just below the knee. It has a concealed zip in the side seam and an optional buttonhole closure at the centre front.
We chose to use the Lisa Comfort Fabric - Wild Flower (Burgundy) - 150cm Wide Crepe.
The instructions for the dress are very clear and if you take your time and follow them carefully you shouldn't have any problems.
There are only 10 pieces to cut out. Just decide which length skirt you are going for and which belt style.
Here are a few tips to hopefully help with your project.....
Tip 1 Wash the fabric
As usual wash your fabric first to allow for any shrinkage - neaten the cut edge with your over locker or a zigzag stitch to prevent fraying before popping it into the wash.
Tip 2 Trace your pattern
I like to trace the pattern on to grease proof/freezer paper so I can keep the original as a master copy.
Tip 3 What size to make
Below are the measurements for the patterns.
Always measure yourself and be honest! Don't make the ready to wear size you buy as it will be very different to the pattern sizing go by your measurements.
Louise and I are about the same size (handy!) and measured to the size 10 measurements so that's what I made and it fits us both perfectly.
The only alterations I made to the pattern was in the length as both Louise and I reasonably tall (5'9 and 5'8) so I added 2.5cm to the length of the bodice and 4cm to the skirt length version 1.
Tip 4 Cutting out the Lisa Comfort crepe or any other drapey slippery fabric!
You need a nice soft slightly floaty fabric for this dress so we decided on the Wild flower crepe in the Burgundy.
Don't be put off by people saying its hard to use this type of fabric you just need to take a bit of time and care.
1. Cut out on a hard surface - the biggest table in your house!
2. Don't allow excess fabric to hang over the end of the table as it will 'drag the fabric down' and you will not be cutting out on the true straight of grain.
3. Fold your fabric in half making sure the selvedges meet evenly all the way along - pin them together if they keep moving.
4. Have a straight edge marked on the table - a piece of tape stuck down or I have a plastic 'oilcloth' to protect my table that just happens to have straight lines marked on it - and keep the folded edge of the fabric against this line.
5. Make sure your pattern piece is lying evenly on the fabric and not pulling in any one direction before pinning to the fabric.
6. Use lots of pins - more than you would normally and make sure they are nice fine sharp ones!
7. Make sure you have nice sharp scissors and try not to lift the fabric off the table too much when cutting out.
Tip 5 Marking the pattern pieces
Once cut out and removed from the pattern pieces the skirt pieces are all quite similar in shape.
To avoid sewing the wrong pieces together I suggest marking them in some way denoting which piece they are and which is the side seam.
I pinned small labelled pieces of paper to each piece. Saves lots of unpicking if you get it wrong!
Also it won't hang correctly if you do sew the wrong pieces together and you might not notice till its too late.
Tip 6 Making up
1. Use more pins than usual to hold pieces together before sewing or if you are a bit nervous about the fabric moving around you could tack or baste seams before sewing them for real.
2.Try not to push or pull your fabric while sewing as it may stretch out of shape and not lie nicely if you do. Stop your machine and adjust your fabric if you need to.
3. Take your time and enjoy the process. Its not a race!
I really liked the finished dress so am planning to make one for myself in Lisa Comfort Fabric - Wild Flower (Navy) - 150cm Wide Crepe
Enjoy making the 'Doris' Dress and please share pictures with us - we love to see your makes!