Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Peep hem dress: free pattern and tutorial

Remember my knock off of the peep hem dress? (see the knock off here) Well today I am going to show you how I made it!

I have a pattern available for download in size 5 from Google docs here, or if you prefer, PDF Archive here.
*Please note that the previews do not always format correctly. To view correctly you will need to download the pattern.*

This pattern is intended for knit fabrics. It will work best with light to medium weight knits. If using a serger press all seams to the back unless otherwise indicated. If using a sewing machine press all seams open unless otherwise indicated. The stretch of the fabric should be across the width on all pieces.
All seam allowances are 3/8" unless otherwise indicated.


2/3 (58 inch wide fabric) to 3/4 (44 inch wide fabric) yard your main fabric
1/4 yard coordinating fabric
1/3 yard lightweight fabric for underskirt
coordinating thread
sewing machine and/or serger
fabric marker or chalk
cutting mat
rotary cutter
sewing pins

Helpful terms:

Baste - temporary stitching, using a longer stitch, used to hold pieces in place and is removed after permanent stitches are in place.
Staystitch - a line of stitching just inside the seam on curved edges intended to stabilize the fabric and keep it from distorting.
Stitch in the ditch - sewing technique that involves sewing in the seam line. This technique works great to hide your top stitching while securing your fabric underneath. 

First, download the pattern, print at 100% (scaling off), make sure your squares measure 1", and tape together.
Cut out your pattern and trace bodice pieces on to your knit fabric making sure to cut on the fold. The skirt pieces are cut according to measurements listed at the bottom of the pattern.

Use the measurements provided at the bottom of the pattern to cut out your neckband and armband pieces.

Sew the front bodice to the back bodice at one shoulder with right sides together (RST). Press seam to back. Staystitch the neck opening.

I am going to show you one way of attaching the arm and neck bands. There are many different ways to accomplish this and the technique you use should depend on fabric type, fabric weight, and pattern style.
Serge, or sew using a narrow zig-zag stitch, the neckband to the neck opening (RST). Press seam toward neckband.

Now sew together (RST) the shoulder and neckband at opening. Press seam to back.

Fold the neckband over the seam and to the wrong side of the fabric. Press and pin in place.

I chose not to sew my neckband down at this point because I used a twin needle and wanted to minimize the how many times I had to rethread my machine. If you are not using a twin needle to topstitch you can sew the neckband down with a zig-zag or stretch stitch at this time.
Repeat the same process to attach the armbands - staystitch, attach to arm opening with RST, sew armbands and bodice side seams RST, press seams to back (or if using sewing machine then press seams open).

Fold armbands over seams and to the wrong side of the fabric. Press and pin in place. Do this for both arms. Topstitch your armbands (and neckbands if you waited like me) closed by stitching in the ditch. Trim excess fabric close to the stitch line.

 For the top skirt layer, sew the sides (short ends) RST. Press seams to back.

Fold the bottom hem up 1", wrong sides together, and press. Fold the hem up another 1", press, and topstitch.

Mark the center of your front and back pieces at the top raw edge. Baste around the top raw edge of your skirt piece but do not overlap your stitches. Pull on your loose bobbin thread ends to gather until your width matches that of the bodice waistline. Alternatively, you can use your serger to gather.

To cut your underskirt pieces start by drawing a line 16" long (horizontal). Mark the center at 8". Draw a vertical line, perpendicular to the first,  at the center mark 11" high. Now draw a 12" line centered on the vertical line and parallel to the first. Then draw a line from the right end of your 12" down to the right end of your 16" line. Repeat this for the left side. Your pieces should be trapezoids like in the image below.
Sew the sides of the underskirt with RST. Press seams to back.

Sew the sides of your peep hem with RST. Press seams to back. You will have a tube of fabric now. Fold the tube in half with wrong sides together and press.

Place your peep hem over the bottom edge of your underskirt, aligning the raw ends, and matching side seams and center marks. Stitch peep hem to underskirt and press seam up toward the underskirt. Topstitch the seam in place.

Now flip your gathered top skirt inside out. Place your underskirt piece over your top skirt piece. The right side of your underskirt will be against the wrong side of your top skirt. Align side seams and center marks. Baste together.
Next, place your skirt pieces over your bodice, aligning raw waistline edges. Match up your side seams and center marks. Pin like crazy. 

Sew your skirt and bodice pieces together at the waistline and you are done. Yahoo! Do a dance!

Oh, and by the way, in case you were wondering, that is a stamp on her forehead...that she put there herself. She wanted it in the pictures and did not want to wash it off. Kids...sheez.