Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Free halter dress pattern and tutorial



Last year my cousin was getting married and had asked if my daughter could be the flower girl in her wedding. My daughter loved the idea of getting to throw flowers about. They offered to buy a flower girl dress, but they are a young couple and were paying for the wedding themselves so there was no way I was going to let them do that. I had never sewn anything formal before, but I love a challenge.  I wanted a dress similar to the bridesmaids dresses but was surprised that I could not find a pattern quite like I wanted. So, I drafted one! 


 With Easter approaching quickly I figured it would be a good time to share this pattern with all of you. Lucky you ;)


This pattern has gentle gathering on the front bodice, a rounded "V" neckline, and gathered skirt. The halter strap closes with snaps and the back closes with a zipper. 
For the flower girl dress I used satin taffeta with a lace overlay. I am pleased with how it all worked out. But this pattern can be used for everyday dresses too. For my muslin I used quilting weight cotton and it made a pretty summer dress. 


Oh, I almost forgot to mention that the pattern is size 7. Maybe someday I will grade it out to more sizes.

Okay now, let's get on with the tutorial!

For this pattern you will need:
2 yards of fabric
1/4 yard lining
2 size 20 snaps
1 seven inch all purpose zipper
small scraps of fusible interfacing 2" x 3"

And, of course, you will need the pattern. Download it HERE!

There is a 3/8 inch seam allowance included on all pattern pieces.


 First, we start by basting two lines along the bottom edge of the bodice front.


Pull bobbin threads to gather until the bottom of the upper bodice is the same width as the top edge of the lower bodice.


Sew the lower bodice piece to the upper bodice with right sides together.


Press seam allowance up.


Fuse interfacing to 2 of the four back strap pieces.


Sew the interfaced back strap pieces to the straps and sew the back bodice pieces to the front bodice.


Press seam allowances open.


Repeat for the lining, except this time you are using un-interfaced back strap pieces.


Press seam allowances open.


Sew the lining to the bodice along the upper edge as indicated above. Leave 1 inch unsewn on both ends. 


Clip corners and curves. Fold bottom edge of lining only up 3/8 inch and press. Turn right side out.


I had to zoom way out here so we could see all of the skirt. 
Baste two lines along the upper edge of the skirt.
Fold bottom edge up 1/2 inch, press, then fold up another 1 inch and press again.
DO NOT stitch the hem just yet. We will come back to it.


Pull bobbin threads to gather skirt until it is the same width as the waistline of the bodice.


Flip the lining out of the way and sew the outer bodice to the skirt. Press seam allowance up.


Place a mark on your skirt where the bottom of the zipper stop is.


Flip the hem down and sew skirt with right sides together up to the mark you just made.
Press seam open. Flip hem back up and stitch it 1/8 inch from the upper fold. (not pictured)


Turn bodice wrong side out again. You don't need to push the straps back through to the wrong side; only the body of the bodice. Pull the lining back where it was left unsewn. Place zipper face down along back edge of bodice. (Please ignore that the zipper pull is showing on the wrong side. I used a pattern brush and couldn't remove the zipper pull to make it look like it was flipped face down. I could have manually drawn it all out, but it would have taken FOREVER, and, eh, it's a free pattern. LOL)


Line up the edge of the lining with the back bodice with the zipper sandwiched in between. Using a zipper foot, sew close to the zipper teeth all the way down the zipper. Careful not to catch the other side of your dress in the stitches. Sew across the top edge of the bodice where we had left it unsewn.
Clip corner.
Flip this half of the lining right side out to reveal the zipper.
Repeat for the other side.


Stitch in the ditch along the waistline catching the lining in your stitches to secure the lower edge.
Alternatively, you can hand sew your lining. For the flower girl dress I chose to hand sew.


Topstitch around outer edges of bodice.
Apply your snaps to the strap and you are done! 

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. I would love to see the dresses made with this pattern! Please join me on my Facebook page HERE and share any dress you make with it.