One of my favourite things about sewing is being able to sew things in styles I already know I like without looking in stores forever to find something. This dress was copied off a similar shift dress I already own. My checked ‘schoolgirl’ dress is one of my favourite winter dresses as really like the shape. I also love denim dresses and wanted to do something with this denim I had. Hence, It made sense to me to copy the dress I owned instead of buy a pattern or a new dress. This wasn’t too hard as the dress I copied is actually a children’s size dress, so it’s made simply with little shaping.
To do this I traced the main pattern pieces of the dress directly onto this fabric from Spotlight. (This fabric is super useful for tracing double sided patterns, making toiles and copying clothes so is a good fabric to always have a stash of. I usually buy a few metres of it when Spotlight has a sale so I’m always well stocked!) It’s a little tricky to trace the sleeves but possible if you flip them up so that you can follow the curve of the seam allowance when tracing and then cut the pattern piece you traced on the fold.
After tracing I added seam allowance as it’s a little easier when the dress isn’t in the way and I can lay the fabric completely flat. My little ‘sewing hack’ for this is to use a ~2cm wide strip of paper with the desired seam allowance marked and place this along the no seam allowance pattern pieces at intervals and mark. Then just connect the dots and cut out. This just speeds up the process a little more than if a ruler was used. I then cut my pattern pieces from the fabric.
I followed a standard dress construction method finishing the seams using a zig zag stitch, hemming the sleeves and bottom of the dress and using bias binding to finish the neckline. I added a keyhole opening at the back as I didn’t want to insert a zipper. The button is one I bought in Japan a few years ago and has a deer on it. The shop I got it from was a super cute florist that also sold buttons. It’s nice to remember it when I wear this dress. I also decided to add some patch pockets on the front to add some interest as the dress is quite simple on it’s own. As always, when I’m sewing something I haven’t done before, I referred back to ‘Love at First Stitch’ by Tilly Walnes for instructions to do this. I could not speak highly enough of this book. She uses patch pockets in the Margot Pj Pants that I adapted to use for this dress.
Being able to make new clothes using existing RTW items is a really useful skill to know and makes it easy to make clothes you know are in your style and fit well without a whole load of guesswork, especially for simpler items like this dress. I know I’ll be making lots of copies of my existing clothes in the future.
Fabric- about 2 meters of a heavy weight denim from Spotlight
Pattern- Traced off a RTW dress I own