Last Minute Holiday Dress Sew Along!

Dress Tutorial Sewalong Violet Snow Custom Fabric

Kristen Bunch December 12, 2021

Skill Level: Intermediate


Forget about that holiday party and have nothing to wear? We’ve got you covered! This Sew Along is set up to be completed over the course of 4 days – just in time for holiday celebrations! We break down the project into small tasks to make it easier for busy people to find time to complete. At the end of 4 days, you will have a complete holiday dress, perfect for all those festive celebrations!


DAY 1: PREPARATION

This will be the longest day as it includes choosing fabrics and supplies, printing and assembling the pattern, and cutting out your fabric.

Gather Supplies:

  • Pattern
    • For this Sew Along, I will be using the Ella Dress from Simple Life Pattern Company; however, this 4 day tutorial can be used with any dress pattern that features a lined bodice and circle skirt. Other similar patterns include the Aria and Hampton from Simple Life Pattern Company, Breezy Dress from Ellie and Mac, and the Sahara Dress from Bella Sunshine Designs. There are many others, these are just a few examples. 

Author’s Note: While I used the pattern pieces for this Sew Along, I did not directly follow the instructions; therefore, this Sew Along will not follow the same order as the instructions included with the pattern. Additionally, the dress shown throughout the tutorial is a child’s dress; however, the tutorial would also work for adult designs and sizes.

  • Fabric - This sew along is designed for use with knit fabrics  
    • Cotton Spandex or Athletic Knit are great for a little more structure or Bamboo Spandex for a more draped, flowy look
    • Refer to your individual pattern instruction for fabric requirements as it will vary based on size and design
    • Fabrics used for this tutorial
      • Cotton Spandex for main bodice, sleeves, and top skirt tier in Violet Snow’s Christmas Wishes on Evergreen
      • Athletic Knit for bodice lining, bow ties, and bottom tier skirt in Violet Snow’s Oh So Pretty Gold Faux Glitter
  • Cutting Mat & Rotary Cutter
  • If you don’t have these, that’s okay – you can use fabric scissors. A Cutting Mat and Rotary Cutter just make measuring and cutting a little faster and easier
  • Straight Pins and Quilting Clips
    • Used to hold your pieces together while sewing
  • Iron and Ironing Board/Mat
    • For pressing (as desired) 
  • Sewing Machine / Serger 
    • Used to assemble your pattern
    • A Serger will be used throughout this tutorial; however, a zig zag or triple stitch can be used on a sewing machine. These stitches are great for knit fabrics as they allow the fabrics to stretch without popping seams

Cut:

  • Print and assemble your pattern 
  • Cut fabrics – at a minimum, you should have a bodice front main, bodice front lining, bodice back main, bodice back lining, sleeves, and a circle skirt. For the Ella dress, additional pieces include bodice ties (2) and a top tier asymmetrical skirt

DAY 2: BODICE

Sew

  • Attach the shoulder seams of the front and back bodice pieces, matching the main to main and lining to lining and right sides together. Sew using your preferred stretch stitch

  • Sew the seams of the bodice ties with right sides together, turn right side out, and topstitch if desired. (Note: for topstitching using a sewing machine with knit fabrics, if you do not want to use a triple stitch or zigzag stitch, I would recommend using a double needle. This uses the straight stitch on your sewing machine and provides the necessary stretch to reduce the chance of popped stitches. 

  • Attach raw ends of bodice ties to back bodice pieces. These will be sandwiched between the bodice main and bodice lining pieces. Bodice main and bodice lining pieces should be right sides together. Stitch the entire front and back neckline together. Turn bodice right side out and understitch lining if desired. 

  • Not sure what understitching is? Understitching for a lined bodice prevents the bodice lining from showing while the garment is being worn by holding the lining in place with a row of stitches that are not seen on the bodice main. To understitch the bodice lining, separate the bodice main from the bodice lining at the neckline seams. Fold the seam allowance towards the lining and stitch the seam allowance to the lining only using your preferred stretch stitch. This technique will keep the bodice main in place while hiding your stitches on the inside of your garment. 
 

DAY 3: SLEEVES, FINISH BODICE, ATTACH SKIRT

Sew

  • Attach the sleeves to the bodice with right sides together

  • Sew the sleeve together by bringing the edges right sides together


  • Align the bodice sides by matching up the bodice main front and back with each other and the bodice lining front and back with each other. Sew straight down. Repeat for the other side and turn right side out. 
  • Turn your skirt inside out and attach to the bodice with right sides together. 

Note: For the Ella Dress, there are two skirts. In order to prevent shifting, I serged the two layers together with wrong sides together at top where the skirt attaches to the bodice. Then I attached the sewn skirts to the bodice, making sure to evenly space the skirt along the bodice to prevent creases or buckling.

DAY 4: HEMMING

Sew:

  • The last step is to hem your skirt and sleeves! If you do not have access to a coverstitch machine, you can finish your edges by serging them using a serger or a zigzag stitch on your sewing machine. This helps prevent your fabric from curling and helps it lay flat for hemming.
  • Fold the finished edge under with wrong sides together. Press with iron if desired. Hem using your preferred stretch stitch. Press finished hem as desired.
  •  Note: For my Sleeves, I was a little too short on fabric to create a long sleeve; therefore, I cut the bottom part of my sleeve out of my coord. This is easy to do – when cutting, determine where you want to add the coord and add 1/4 inch to the top of your coord and the bottom of your main where you are combining them. 

     

    All done! Congratulations on your new dress completed just in time for all the holiday festivities! We would love it if you would share it in or Facebook group; https://www.facebook.com/groups/VSCFGroup/ 
     


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