June 8, 2015

Tutorial: Periwinkle Swing Dress

One of my favorite bloggers is Jackie Welling of Little J Style. I LOVE her style! A month or so ago she wore a black swing dress that I knew I had to recreate! I hopped on over to my favorite fabric store and found just the right fabric in the LOVELY shade of periwinkle, and I have decided it is my new favorite color.

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On a scale of Beginner-Expert, I’d say this dress is on the lower end of intermediate, only because there are sleeves and you have to draft your own pattern, but if you’ve had some experience sewing and want to get into creating your own patterns, this dress would be a great place to start!

You will need:

2.5 yards cotton jersey-knit fabric (WASH FIRST!)

Measuring tape

Model shirt

Pattern paper (crepe paper works great!)

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*cut and sew with 1/2” seam allowance

Find a shirt that you like the fit of to create your new pattern. Fold it in half and align the fold with the edge of your pattern paper. Trace the shirt with a 1/2” buffer for your seam allowance (trace following the armpit seam, not the entire sleeve). Make a front and a back piece.

Measure from the neckline of the shirt down to your knee and subtract 2”. Draw a line on your pattern paper at that length (away from the folded edge). Measure around your true waist and divide by two. Extend your hem-line out to that measurement (so the hem of your skirt will be double your waist on the front piece and back piece). Connect your hem line to the rest of the pattern, diagonally from the hem up to just below your arm pit.

Now for the sleeves. I gathered my sleeves slightly, but for the purpose of simplicity, I’ll explain how to do a regular sleeve. I’ll post a tutorial for how to make a gathered sleeve eventually.


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So, with your model shirt sleeve folded in half, align the fold with the edge of your pattern paper and trace the sleeve with a 1/2” buffer for seam allowance, but subtract 2” from the sleeve length.


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Pin your pattern paper to your fabric and cut out the front and back of your dress as well as your sleeves.


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Next, cut two pieces of fabric that are the length of your hem (just in the front) and 6” wide. Now cut two pieces of fabric that are as long as bicep of your shirt sleeve and 6” wide. Finally, cut one more piece that is the length of the distance around the neckline and 2” wide. Fold all of these pieces in half, wrong-sides together, hot-dog style (long edges touching) and iron to make a fold.


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Pin the front piece to the back piece, right-sides together at the shoulder seam and sew.


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Pin the sleeve to the front and back piece as shown in the picture with right-sides together, and sew.

Pin the folded sleeve hem (the piece that is as long as the sleeve bicep and 6” wide that you folded and ironed) to the sleeve with right-sides together and sew.

Pin the folded hem piece to the hem of the dress with right-sides together and sew (SUPER SIMPLE HEMS!)


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Pin along the sleeve underarm and sides of the dress (right-sides together) and sew.

Unfold the neckline piece and pin the two shorter ends, right-sides together. Sew.


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Turn neckline piece right-side out and fold again. Pin the neckline piece along the neckline of the dress, right-sides together, with the neckline piece seam in the center of the back, and stretch the neckline piece to fit around the dress neckline. Sew with 1/2” seam allowance, then trim down to 1/4” and clip around curves.

And you’re done!

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Wondering where that green and navy blue fabric in the tutorial photos went? Click here.
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