I shared this dress on Instagram few weeks ago and I got a lot of comments asking what pattern I used or how I made it so I thought I would write a blog post about it for anyone who might be interested. I made the dress two years ago and do not have any in progress shots so can not share any pictures of the steps involved, but I did try to describe it with words as much as I could. Just scroll down for the ginghamization goodness.
Gingham is a well positioned fabric in the fashion world. I love it and think it always looks great. Somehow it is chic but casual at the same time. How is that even possible? Gingham superpowers at play. So when I saw the perfect gingham cotton fabric at a local fabric store I bought it straight away without even knowing what to make with it. I knew it would live it’s life as a dress but had not known in what form. I think I bought 2.5 or 3 meters of it, but it is hard to recall now. This is more like a guess based on the amount needed for the final dress plus I have a bit leftover.
With time some ideas started brewing in my mind and I knew what kind of a dress I wanted. I did not have a pattern for it so decided to look for a basic bodice I could use as a base and work around it. I needed a simple bodice with two front and two back darts. What I wanted would not be suitable for princess seams or bust darts as the fabric pattern would look different and possibly strange/unattractive. I went for one I already used before and knew would work. It is bodice pattern from Burda Style dress no #101 from 2/2011 magazine issue. But you can use any bodice pattern with darts that suits you.
I played around on paper first to see how the fabric placement would look. I find this as a good method when I want to play with fabric print and direction to test out the ideas.
And now the construction of the dress.
BODICE. I had the bodice already traced so went straight for the fabric cutting. First step was to sew the darts on both bodice pieces. Then I needed to cut out the triangles. I measured the bottom of the front bodice piece on fold and side of the bodice front from bottom to bust height. That way I had measurements for two sides of a square. Then I cut out two squares of fabric and folded them diagonally to get two triangles.
I pinned the triangles to the front bodice and ‘tried it on’ to see if it lay flat or if there was some gaping or what not. What you want to check at this point is where the waist seam will be so you know how to position the triangles for them to meet in the middle, right where the skirt will be attached to the bodice. When I was happy with it I sewed the triangles to the front bodice within the seam allowance on the side and bottom of the bodice. The top of the triangles on the fold is left unsewn. You can stitch them down by machine or by hand with invisible stitch, but I did not want to have any visible stitching or do any hand sewing so left it like that. Hand sewing can easily be done when the dress is finished if you end up with any gaping, but I did not, so it is free and I can put my hands in if I want to rest them, for example. Then I attached front and back bodice pieces together. My dress has a side zip so I left one side open to insert the zip later.
I opted for a V opening on the back of the bodice (not pictured), this was an easy alteration to do. I cut out the original back bodice and then measured how low I would like the opening to be. I did not want it to be too low so I could securely hide the bra. When I measured it in front of a mirror I simply cut out a triangle opening. I finished the neckline with a bias binding but you can also do it with a facing or a full lining for a cleaner finish, which is my go to option these days. The armholes are also finished with bias binding.
SKIRT. The next step was the skirt and I went for the drama effect and cut out a full circle skirt. When it was ready I attached the skirt to the bodice and inserted the zip. And then all that was left was endless seam finishing on the circle skirt.
And voila, there is my gingham dress of dreams! It is not hard at all but gives a simple dress so much more character. If you go ahead and do it I would be happy to see your version, so please leave me a comment, send me a message or tag me on Instagram 😊
P.S. – I love this photo of ladies in their gingham outfits waiting in line by Nina Leen for Life Magazine. You think I would fit among them with this dress? The caption of the photo is ‘Women wearing checked outfits, waiting to place bets at racetrack’. That kind of line is not where you would find me but if it were a line to buy cinema tickets that could work. Imagine a gingham movie premiere – now that is where I would love to be!
Thank you for reading!