Self Drafted Side Cut-Out Dress

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Here’s something new! My 2015 has not been off to the best start in terms of sewing productivity but I have finished one new item – this dress!

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The Pattern: I drafted it myself based on my bodice block (which looks like I’m going to have to make smaller, this bodice is way too big) with some minor alterations.

I added a narrow waistband and a slightly curved gathered skirt but the cool part is definitely these side cut outs which are fun and summery (it’s oddly warm in Texas today despite the fact that it is supposed to be winter, whatever).

I like the look of a gathered skirt with a little curve at the bottom as opposed to a pure rectangle because I think it give the hem a little more poof but I can still use a border print without it looking wonky. I plan on using a border print in my next version.

It closes with a center back invisible zip.

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Because of the cutouts I had to completely line the bodice. But I didn’t want to have to line the skirt or add any sort of support to the waist line so I went with a waistband, problem solved.

The Fabric: Just some quilting cotton which works fine for this style of dress. My MIL actually got this for me for Christmas so I’m glad it’s getting used.

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The Changes: For this section I’m going to talk about what I plan on changing for my next iteration of this pattern.

– Make the bodice smaller. It’s way too big in the bust and waist and I think it’s because I haven’t altered this block in well over a year and it just doesn’t fit as well anymore.

– Lower the v-neck in the back and change the angle of the shoulders an back seam slightly to compensate for gaping. As it is now the back V is ok but it gapes slightly depending on how I move my arms.

– I want to make the shoulder line narrower at the at the armhole, as in, move the armhole edge closer to the neck and further from my shoulder bone. But in doing so I’m making the armhole bigger and need to make sure I don’t have any gaping, especially in the front armcye. We’ll see how that goes.

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– The cutouts are fine. I like them as is. I didn’t add any interfacing to the waistband but if I use a lighter weight fabric in the future I’ll need to.

– I also want to add pockets. I’m always to lazy to do it (so much extra cutting out and edge finishing and blah, I just want to sew up my side seams fast!).

The Results: Not bad for the first try. I’m trying a new method of drafting the entire thing digitally in Adobe Illustrator. first rather than just on paper. I’m hoping it will save me time in the long run and also make my drafting more precise.

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The only problem I had was the loose fit of the bodice but I couldn’t have known that without making a muslin first anyway. Now I can go back and make alterations to my original plain block and re-draft this dress’ bodice from there.

  • Tegan

    So, I discovered, far too late in my pattern drafting experiments I feel, the easiest way to add in-seam pockets. Cut them out as little tabs WITH the skirt. It’ll look like this:

    …..|
    …..|
    __|
    |
    |__
    …..|
    …..|

    Or something approximately close (ignore the periods as place holders). Then sew the seam along the edge, and turn the pocket inside. Bam! Easiest pockets in the world! I’d just reinforce the corners where the pocket turns.

    • Claire

      Brilliant idea!

    • I know what you’re talking about and I should totally do that yet in my rush to cut out straight lines and sew them quickly I always forget that that’s something I could do. I think those types of pockets are the most invisible side seam pockets you can do, too, which is a plus.

  • Tegan

    So, I discovered, far too late in my pattern drafting experiments I feel, the easiest way to add in-seam pockets. Cut them out as little tabs WITH the skirt. It’ll look like this:

    …..|
    …..|
    __|
    |
    |__
    …..|
    …..|

    Or something approximately close (ignore the periods as place holders). Then sew the seam along the edge, and turn the pocket inside. Bam! Easiest pockets in the world! I’d just reinforce the corners where the pocket turns.

  • Claire

    Brilliant idea!

  • Very cute!! And self-drafted? Wowsers!

  • Very cute!! And self-drafted? Wowsers!

  • I am still cold and i already want to sew cutouts. :o

    • cut outs for everyone all the time!! ;)

  • I am still cold and i already want to sew cutouts. :o

  • Cute, cute dress! I used to make dresses with this silhouette out of quilting cotton quite a bit a few years ago but have totally forgotten about it for some reason. The thought of sewing up something pretty using a sturdy cotton is so appealing right now!

    • Thanks! Quilting cotton is only really good for certain pattern designs but they always have cuter prints than most other types of fabric. :(

  • Cute, cute dress! I used to make dresses with this silhouette out of quilting cotton quite a bit a few years ago but have totally forgotten about it for some reason. The thought of sewing up something pretty using a sturdy cotton is so appealing right now!

  • charlotte

    very cute

  • charlotte

    very cute

  • DDDiane

    I love the fabric, so simple and chic. Now we just have to wait for spring!

  • DDDiane

    I love the fabric, so simple and chic. Now we just have to wait for spring!

  • I love this! It reminds me of a 1940s pattern I own but updated perfectly for causal wear :)

    • Thank you! Oooh, that pattern sounds interesting. I may have to investigate…

  • Julie Mcqueen
  • Thanks! Quilting cotton is only really good for certain pattern designs but they always have cuter prints than most other types of fabric. :(

  • cut outs for everyone all the time!! ;)

  • thanks!!

  • I know what you’re talking about and I should totally do that yet in my rush to cut out straight lines and sew them quickly I always forget that that’s something I could do. I think those types of pockets are the most invisible side seam pockets you can do, too, which is a plus.

  • Thanks!!

  • Thank you! Oooh, that pattern sounds interesting. I may have to investigate…

  • thanks!

  • How cute! The side cutouts add a lovely detail and the look perfect for really warm weather. :)

  • How cute! The side cutouts add a lovely detail and the look perfect for really warm weather. :)