Spotted Sheath Dress DIY

This easy tutorial and free pattern will have you whipping up a cute pullover style sheath dress in no time!

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And my obsession with dresses continues!  Especially when it comes to spring and summer sewing, I just can’t get enough.  They’re cool and cute and flirty and fun; not to mention, they take no time at all to sew!

This spotted sheath dress is no exception…read on for the super easy tutorial!

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1.  First, you’ll need to download and print the free pattern here (be sure to print from Adobe Reader/Acrobat and NOT a browser! Make sure your printer is not scaling the pages).  Then tape all your pages together (just overlap the margins of the pattern pages before cutting- no need to trim them off!).
I drafted it to fit my body pretty loosely, and my measurements are 37-29-38 (about a size 6 or medium).  If you’re bigger or smaller than this, you can grade the pattern out or in, simply by adding or subtracting inches to your bust, waist and/or hips.  Since the pattern piece represents 1/4th of the dress’s measurements, you’ll only need to add or subtract 1/4 of the difference in our measurements.

For example, if your bust is 2 inches larger than mine but your hips are 1 inch smaller, then add 0.5″ to the bust area (2″ divided by 4) and subtract 0.25″ (1″ divided by 4) to the hip area.  I hope that makes sense…it’s really simple once you get started!

I made my dress a little looser than a traditional sheath dress because I wanted to avoid needing an opening (my fabric also had some stretch to it).  If you’d like a closer fit or are using a fabric with no stretch, you’ll need to insert a zipper or other opening.

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2.  Now, cut out out your fabric by laying the straight edge of your pattern pieces on the fold of your fabric (where indicated).  You’ll need to cut one bodice front (along the lower neckline curve) and one bodice back (along the higher neckline curve), as well as 2 sleeve pieces.   Now, cut out a neckband bias strip measuring 27″ (68 cm) x 2″ (5cm).  You can avoid cutting this piece on the bias if your fabric already has stretch to it, as long as you cut with the stretch running lengthwise.

**Remember after sewing each seam, to finish your raw edges and press well!

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3.  Sew your front to back bodice pieces together at the shoulders, and then at the sides, RST, using a 3/8″ (1cm) seam allowance.  Sew your underarm seam by stitching the sleeve to itself along the short, straight edge, RST.  Repeat with 2nd sleeve.  Turn dress inside out and sleeve right side out; insert sleeve into dress at armhole, pin together, keeping raw edges even and matching side seam to underarm seam.  Ease through the shoulder curve to fit.  Baste sleeve to dress and check for puckers or folds.  Stitch sleeve to dress and repeat with opposite sleeve.

4.   Stitch short ends of neckband piece together, then fold loop in half lengthwise (wrong sides together) and press again.  Pin neckband to RIGHT side of dress neckline, raw edges even.  Stitch neckband piece to neckline, using a scant 1/4″ (.6 cm) seam allowance.  Fold neckband to inside of dress and press well.  Topstitch neckband in place, close to fold.

5.  Hem sleeves and dress as desired.

And, you’re done!  A quick, easy project with a big “wow” factor.   Let me know how yours turns out!

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Add Modesty Panel to a V-Neck Top!

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Is there anything worse than finding a dress that’s almost perfect? When I found this fun color-blocked dress at H&M a couple months ago, it was love at first sight…except for that plunging neckline.  Always the challenge to appropriately cover the nursing-mom cleavage, can I get an Amen?  So instead of passing it up, I figured out a DIY solution!

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The neckline was actually low enough that it allowed nursing access, but I wanted to be able to cover up the cleave when I was done!  I created this little panel that snaps open and shut.

Get the tutorial below!

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First, try your dress or top on and measure how high you want your panel to go (i.e. how much cleavage you’ve got exposed! Mine was about 4″ high).  Then, lay your dress or top face down on a flat surface to measure the width.  Be sure you’re not stretching the opening.  Mark how high your panel will go on the dress with a pen (i.e. 4″ above the bottom of the opening).  Then measure across the width of the opening at that point, and add about 1.5″ to overlap underneath (mine was about 5.5″).

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Now you’ll need to cut out your triangle of fabric for the panel.  Since my dress was made of a polyester knit, I used a black cotton knit that looked similar enough to the dress fabric.  I folded my fabric in half, and then cut out a triangle measuring the width you calculated above (5.5″ for me) and the height you measured above plus 1″ (about 5″ for mine), with the fold of the fabric at the top.  I wanted to use the fold as the top edge instead of hemming my fabric there.

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Now just finish the raw edges of your triangle sides…I used a serger but a simple zig-zag stitch would work too.  Then hand-stitch the bottom of your triangle flap to the inside of your dress, just below the neckline opening.  Mark where your panel hits the dress when closed, and hand-stitch snaps to both the top of the panel and inside of dress.  Or, if you’re not nursing and don’t need access, just hand-stitch the top in place as well!

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Voila!  Now go enjoy your new top/dress, in confidence that nobody’s staring at your chest!

Easy Flat-Front Skirt Tutorial

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I’m excited to share today’s tutorial with you all!  If you saw my Spring/Summer capsule wardrobe post last week, then you’ll recognize this peach pencil skirt.  We’re gonna learn to make it today!

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There are already SO many easy skirt patterns and tutorials out there on the Interwebs, but when I started making this one, I needed a couple of special features:
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2.  I wanted a flat-front waistband to eliminate bulk.  I just love the tailored look of this style.
3.  It had to be lightweight for summer but knee-length.

Click Read More below for the full tutorial!

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