Fitted a-line dress – finished at long last

by Stephanie on 16 April 2011

in Finished things,Making clothes,Sewing

Me walking in garden in dress

Oops, I just realised that I never got round to publishing this post – just a few bits and pieces to finish off the A-line dress stuff. I can’t quite believe that it took me three months to make the dress. OK, so I wasn’t exactly sewing continuously for all that time, but even so…

Thinking about it, I did make life quite difficult by choosing a very dark checked fabric, and by deciding that I’d make the dress unlined but without any raw fabric edges showing on the inside. I also ended up doing quite a lot of hand sewing – on the bias facings of the armholes for example and when turning up the hem.

The design itself was more complicated than anything I’ve attempted before. New techniques included fitting a bodice toile, matching checks when cutting out pattern pieces, matching checks at seams, Hong Kong and bound seam finishes, cutting out bias strips to use for seam finishes, making and attaching a neck facing, inserting a concealed zipper in a centre back seam (not sure I’d do that again), finishing armholes using a bias facing, and sewing a hem by hand using slip stitch.

Here’s an example of Hong Kong seam finish:

Close-up of seam finished with bias strip

And the underside of the seam finish:

Close-up of bias strip and stitching

This is the bodice-skirt seam, bound and pressed upwards:

Close-up of seam and darts

Bias facing of armhole:

Close-up of inside of dress to show facing

Neck facing:

Inside of dress showing facing

Underside of neck facing:

Underside of facing showing notched seam and interfacing


Close up of stitching at hem

One thing to remember: there’s a mistake in the pattern. When I matched up bodice-skirt join at the side seams, the front and back pieces were misaligned by 1cm at the armhole and the hem. I fixed this by trimming the front armholes down to match the back. At the hem, I cut off about 8-10cm of excess fabric so the mis-match didn’t really matter that much. Anyway, if I ever use this pattern again, it would be good to check this out on the paper pieces and fix them before cutting out the fabric.

All in all I guess that sewing this dress was a lot to get to grips with it. Some of it was enjoyable but it wasn’t easy, relaxing sewing. I’m not sure I’ll be rushing to make another dress like this for a while but at least the end result is wearable!

See also

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Jeni April 17, 2011 at 9:04 am

The dress looks great on you – I really like the simple but elegant style. And the inside looks lovely. I never have the patience to make the inside of my garments look so good, but you’ve done an outstanding job!


Stephanie April 18, 2011 at 4:00 pm

Thank you! I think I might be going for simpler seam finishes in future as the dress did take ages to sew. Steph


ketrah Avi July 30, 2012 at 1:26 pm

wow i want to make my own dresses too


Melissa March 28, 2014 at 12:39 am

Love this dress. I would love to learn to sew clothes and home decorations. I like your blog.


Stephanie March 28, 2014 at 8:59 am

Thanks Melissa!


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