I finally sewed my first dress! I decided to sew a slip dress as it is not only one of the most simple dress styles but also quite versatile, I can wear it on its own in summer and over leggings in winter.
Since it was my first time sewing a slip dress or a dress of any kind for that matter, I stayed away from silk and used polyester satin instead. Polyester is definitely the beginner friendly option compared to silk. I can tell you a million reasons why starting with polyester is the way to go but mainly it is a lot cheaper, less slippery, easier to press and less likely to show pin marks.
I did not use a ready made pattern but instead learnt how to draft a basic dress pattern from my sewing teacher. The pattern itself is quite simple and comprised of only 6 pieces: front, back, bust front facing, bust back facing and two thin spaghetti straps. After adding bust darts to the front piece, I sewed the front and back pieces together and added a side zipper. Then I sew the two bust facing pieces together, attached the straps and sew the bust facings to the dress. Finally, I just had to hem the dress to my liking.
Even though slip dresses are traditionally cut on the bias, if you decide to use a zipper, its completely fine to cut it on straight grain. For this dress, I decided to use a side zipper so I cut it on straight grain.
Interfacing for the bust facings and an invisible zipper for the side.
Sewing the bust line is tricky when you don’t have a reliable pattern. My sewing teacher gave me several useful tips to help mold the bust line to my body and prevent gaping. She advised me to first try steaming and pressing the bust line on an ironing ham. The steam and heat from the iron will help shrink the area that is too large. If that didn’t work or you need to tighten the bust line a bit more, do small hand stitches on the bust facing, without grabbing the outer fabric. Hand stitch about 4 cm long along the bust line and pull the thread at one end to create a slight ruching. It is a quick fix to tighten gaping bust hem and won’t show from the outside.
Till next time! Hope I can sew more complicated dresses from now on!
outfit photos: Singapore, by Yvonne
flatlay photos: by me