Tag Archive | the Under the Sea dress

The Under The Sea Dress

I’ve had this post ready in draft form since the beginning of June, but it’s been too awful to go out and do some photographing. But at last there is a proper set of pics to choose from, so here goes.


I thought I’d try the classic Looking Out Into The Wide Blue Yonder blog photo pose

This dress is the first thing I made in my sewing classes. We had started off by drafting a tunic top, but actually, I didn’t find that the top we were likely to produce was a thing I would actually wear, and I was blowed if I was going to expend a lot more time, trouble and fabric over a thing I wouldn’t actually be wearing. It was enough that I did two toiles. So I suggested to my tutor that rather than making the top, I’d prefer to make the top a bit shorter, add a skirt to it, and have a dress instead.

I’d bought this fabric a couple of years ago, and it looked perfect for a summer sundress. I made the bodice first, being as frugal with my cutting as I possibly could, so as to keep plenty of yardage for the skirt. The neckline is a bit higher than I’d probably normally go for, but that’s ok, it’s work appropriate. It was very easy to put together – making two toiles will ensure one is quite familiar with the construction order of a piece!

I was able to use the overlocker in class to neaten edges, which was my first time using one. I do love the finish you get from it, and one day I will treat myself to my own. But I still find it hella scary, because of the blade cutting fabric away. I can see how horribly easy it would be to slice through the wrong bit of fabric by mistake! So I had to go super-carefully, to keep my nerve.

When it was time to think about the skirt, I knew I wanted fullness, and the easiest thing seemed to be to cut the remaining length of fabric into four quarters, stitch them together into a big tube, and gather the top into the base of the bodice. The thought of gathering nearly 5 metres by hand definitely swayed me in favour of doing the gathering by machine. I was initially a bit wary about it, because I didn’t think that the machine stitch would gather well, but it was fine.

The next interesting thing was the zip. I was all geared up for a straightforward lapped zip. But then my tutor gave me the instruction sheet on how to add a back placket to protect my delicate skin. I’d never have thought to do that, but it was actually quite easy and I’ll use that idea again some time.


There’s a lovely lapped zip, with a placket underneath

And then the dress sat in my UFO pile for three weeks, because I couldn’t face the thought of hemming 5m by hand…

… Until Me Made May gave me the impetus to actually finish the thing. One evening’s work (a long late evening) and I was able to wear it on Day 30.

Day 30

It’s comfortable and easy to wear, for the summer, because it’s loose and it’s cotton. I can feel it’s going to be a Summer Holiday favourite. I don’t know whether I’ll be using this tunic/bodice pattern again, but I’ll hang onto it, just in case. If I do use it, I’ll tweak the neckline because a sundress needs a bit more skin on show. And I won’t worry about a zip.

What’s my favourite thing about this dress? The print is just adorable!

One last pic