A good chambray dress has been on my wishlist for ages. I wanted one that could be dressed up and dressed down, easily to layer, long enough that I can run and play while staying modest, and wasn’t see-through so I could wear it during the summer without any layers underneath. Was that too much to ask? Apparently, because I have been searching for a long time to no avail. But then this week I remembered a few yards of chambray I had picked up at the LA fabric district last year, and had nothing better to do one night at midnight than to whip it up into a dress. It turned out that starting a dress at midnight wasn’t the best idea, but I got a new favorite dress out of it so I’m saying it’s worth it.
Also, working with chambray has got me itching to work with more chambray. I’ve been playing with AcuDesign’s new embroidery app and it is seriously the coolest thing. You can import embroidery designs you find online, use the ones they provide right on the app, or draw your own and import them. Then you can easily resize, change thread color, reposition parts of your embroidery, etc. It’s so cool, and embroidery is so trendy right now. Check out the app right here — pretty sure I need to get myself an embroidery machine now, because I have designs just begging to be added to a cute summer chambray top.
1. First cut your pattern pieces. You’ll need a BODICE FRONT (cut on the folded edge), 2 BODICE BACK pieces, NECKLINE LINING (cut 2), 2 SLEEVES (cut along the folded edge), and 2 rectangular pieces for your SKIRT. The length will depend on your preference. Find the width by measuring your natural waist, dividing that number in half, and then multiplying it by 1.5. Each of your two SKIRT pieces should be this width, so the TOTAL circumference of your skirt once it’s sewn together is 1.5 times the circumference of your natural waist.
2. Sew darts into your BODICE FRONT piece. I added bust and center waist darts — you can do however many you need for the perfect bodice fit.
3. Sew the BODICE FRONT and two BODICE BACK pieces together at the shoulder seams (with right sides together).
4. Now it’s time to attach the sleeves. Line up the top of the sleeve with the bodice shoulder seam (as shown) with right sides together. Pin in place.
5. Continue pinning the sleeve to the bodice, and then sew along the arm hole with a straight stitch. Repeat for the second sleeve.
6. With right sides together, sew the sides of the bodice up with a straight stitch.
7. Sew the two neckline pieces together to form an “O,” and then attach the NECKLINE LINING to the BODICE neckline with a straight stitch (there’s a more detailed illustration and instruction for this step over here). Then tuck the lining inside the neckline, press flat, and stitch around the neckline with a wide stitch to hold the lining underneath.
8. Take your two SKIRT pieces and sew them together at the side seams, then cut down the middle of the back skirt piece so it’s open like the back of the bodice (This is where your zipper will go).
10. Pin the skirt to the bodice with right sides together, as shown. Sew across the entire waistline, attaching the skirt to the bodice.
11. Insert your zipper following the instructions on the package, and then sew up the remaining opening of the dress. Finally, hem the bottom of the dress, and the sleeves to your desired length, press all your seams, and you’re done!