Let's get going, shall we?
about 1 yard of fabric
other sewing gear
pattern pieces, if you want 'em! main piece, sleeve and pocket
**Use a 1/2 inch seam allowance throughout.
First, you need to make your pattern. The dress is really a modified simple peasant dress. The nice thing about peasant dress patterns is that they are super forgiving. I'll give you the general idea, so you can easily draft your own. If you want to use my pattern, print off what's above. It also contains notes on how to edit it. :)
I like my chest to measure about 10 inches larger than the wearer. Noelle has a 20-inch chest, so I cut each piece 15 inches wide (7.5 inches out from the fold). You can also see the basic shape for the top of the main piece (below). This is why the peasant dress rocks-- those little curves don't have to be perfect. They should just look roughly like this. You're going to gather in that neckline, so it will seem uber-big. The armhole will also gather in as you gather the neck, so that will appear sizable, too.
From the bottom of your armhole, cut straight down 2.5 inches. From there, cut it out on an angle for an A-line.
Here's what you'll have for your main body piece. Cut two of these.
Your sleeves will actually look similar to your main piece, just smaller. I place the top of my main piece on the fold of the fabric I'm going to cut for the sleeve, but I place the top of the armhole about 3.5 inches from the fold. Then you'll cut the same curve that you did for your armhole but flatten out the top line a little (you can see my faint tracing of this below).
From the bottom of the armhole, cut straight down (parallel to the fold), 1.5 inches.
Anyway, last but not least is the pockets. Again, the shape just has to be close. Mine look like this:
Now we are done with cutting (I hate that part). We get to assemble! This is much more fun!
Measure down 3.5 inches and place your pockets, right sides together, on the front and back main pieces.
Sew the pockets on. Then zig-zag stitch just where you sewed, to finish that edge. I forgot the zig-zag, doggone-it! Learn from my mistakes.
Press the pockets out, so they look like this.
Now we focus on the neckline. Pin one sleeve piece to one main piece. Stitch and zig-zag.
Then attach the other sleeve to the other side of that main piece. Stitch and zig-zag.
Stitch the sleeves to the other main piece and-- from the wrong sides-- you'll have this:
Now you're going to turn your neckline in 1/4 of an inch then 1/2 inch and press. I intentionally took a picture of the part below where it got a little wonky. Again, the peasant dress forgives me. See, this is all going to be gathered in, so you won't even be able to tell. If you're a crazy perfectionist (I'm a recovering one), here's what I want you to say to yourself: "It's not perfect, but that doesn't mean it's crappy. If I think my dress is crappy, I'm also saying that Heather's dress is crappy. That's not very nice; that will hurt Heather's feelings." Then you forgive your imperfections and get on with your life. Whew. Glad that's over. :)
Sew close to the edge, leaving a gap through which to run your elastic. I put my elastic in right away, but you should WAIT! Trust me.
You'll have this, though you're waiting to gather the neckline.
Put right sides together and sew up the sides, around the pockets and under the arms. Finish with a zig-zag.
Now finish the arms but turning in 1/4 inch than another 1/4 inch. You'll see it comes right up to the seam. Stitch close to the edge.
Then hem the bottom.
You have this, but again, your neck isn't gathered (like mine). Man, your life is going to be way easier than mine was at this point.
Using a straight edge and a fabric marker, draw a straight line across the main piece, starting one inch from the armhole. This is easier for you since your neck isn't gathered yet. This is the line you'll follow to cinch your waist.
With the elastic thread in your bobbin and your coordinating thread on top, stitch around that line. Then stitch another line, using your presser foot as a guide. You may have to pull your fabric a little, so it stays flat while you make your second line of stitches. Then do it again for a third line.
If your elastic isn't as cinched as you'd like, place a hot iron on it, and it'll gather in for ya.
Then you have a cute and feminine waist on a lovely spring dress! :)
NOW finish that neck by threading 1/4-inch elastic through it (mine is about 14 inches long). Done and done! Woohoo!
Mmmm... green and pink. Love it. Oh, and feel free to pair it with some sweet shades. Show the world you're ready for the heat!!