One Perfect Summer Dress; Copy, Paste; Two Perfect Summer Dresses

Two months ago, while Honorable Son #2 was doing some school testing, I had the opportunity to do some shopping in an area that is out of my usual “stomping” grounds. It was a great chance to look in a few shops that aren’t in my area.

It was during this shopping trip that I found and purchased this simple T-shirt dress.

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I fell in love with this dress the moment I tried it on. The knit fabric is light-weight and soft and the dress style is cut with just the right amount of fullness and flow to flatter a lot of different body shapes. I knew immediately that copying this dress was in my sewing future.

It wasn’t long after this dress purchase that I found myself in JoAnn Fabrics looking for the right piece of fabric to duplicate this perfect summer dress. I left JoAnn’s with this piece of fabric.

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With this dress being made of just three simply shaped pieces; dress front, dress back, & sleeve, cutting and sewing up a copy is fairly simple.

After folding your fabric so that selvage edges are together, carefully fold your purchased dress along the center front so that the side edges, armhole seams and shoulder seams are all matching. To do this, I make sure to fold the back of the dress inside of this dress “sandwich” so that it is out of the way. Once your dress front edges are lined up lay the dress center front onto the fabric yardage along the fold and carefully cut along the sides, bottom, armhole and neckline, make sure to add seam and hem allowances. Repeat this entire process for the dress back.

Finally, to copy the sleeve shape, fold the sleeve so that the under-arm seams and armhole edges are together. This step is a little more difficult because the dress body is hard to get out of the way. Again once the sleeve is folded lay the sleeve onto the fold of your knit fabric and very carefullyΒ Β cut the sleeve piece adding seam allowances and hems. Remember to cut two sleeves!

When these steps are complete, the hard stuff is done and the fun of putting your new dress together will be a snap. Sew the front and back together at shoulder seams; sew the sleeves onto the arm-hole; sew the side seams from the sleeve to the hem. To finish the neckline, I cut a strip of fabric across the stretch to create a binding. I folded the strip in half, matched strip to right side of dress with raw edges matching neckline edges, sewed using 1/4 inch seam allowance, turned and pressed the strip to the inside of the dress folding the binding over the seam allowance, then top-stitched the binding down for a finished neckline.
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The final step before being able to wear you new dress is sleeve and bottom hems. This step gave me the opportunity to practice a little more on my new cover-stitch machine. I love using this machine but still have some learning to understand the best stitch settings for different fabric applications.  photo DSC02511_zpsc8aodzyv.jpg

The only thing left to do now is put on your new dress and enjoy a fun summer event. This dress looks great dressed up or down, with tennis shoes or sandals. I took both of these dresses with me on a recent mission trip with our church youth group. This was the perfect choice for the several hour bus trip, staying free of wrinkles and super comfortable with no waistbands or shirts to come un-tucked. And then, it was a great choice to “dress up” for the church service we attended with our new mission church friends. After a three hour church service in a very warm upstairs worship space the comfort of this dress was much appreciated! The trip was exciting, and inspirational. Having a couple of Β perfect simple summer dresses to pack in my suitcase helped to make the packing process easier and made for a lighter suitcase load.

 photo DSC02510_zpsg4lbkcqh.jpgWhat’s your favorite summer garment?