Friday, March 4, 2011

Making a red and white striped button-down dress

The past couple days I've been working on the American Pastoral dress. Actually, it only took me an afternoon to make the whole dress and several nights after that to slowly but surely sew on all the buttons. Buttons are a pain, but such a lovely accent detail, don't you think?

The dress is from Built By Wendy Dress (of course) and she calls it American Pastoral and recommends off-shite mattress ticking with navy pinstripes but, since I used fabric with slightly thicker red and white vertical stripes, I'm apt to call it my candy striper dress, or else my popcorn bucket dress.

Anyhow, here's how I made it...

First, I sewed the yoke pieces to the front pieces. It was Wendy's idea to cut out the yoke so that the stripes would be horizontal. Isn't it cute that way? I love the contrast.

Then, I sewed the shoulder seams and the darts

I then sewed the sleeve caps to the shoulders and sewed the sleeve lengths along with the side

Next I hemmed the bottom and the sleeves by first pressed a turn-up allowance and then topstitching it.

To make a Mandarin collar, I stitched a long, thin tube, turned it right-side out (this part took a lot of time and even more patience), and stitched the ends closed.

After sewing the Mandarin collar to the neckline, I pressed it.

I then folded two one-inch allowances down the front of the dress and topstitched them, and then sewed ten evenly-spaced buttonholes. I made two small changing in the pattern here. The first is that I used ten buttons instead of nine. Frankly, ten is almost too few. The second change was sewing the button holes on the left (traditional in menswear) instead of the right (traditional in womenswear). This is just a personal preference thing. I like mens shirts.

I sewed red buttons evenly spaced to line up with the button holes. A ruler is of critical importance in spacing buttons and buttonholes, and I have this great clear one for pattern making.

And finally, here's the finished product:

And here's me wearing it today! . . .

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