New Year's Sewing Resolution: July Dress

  • Difficulty Rating: Beginner
New Years Sewing Resolution July Dress

For my July New Year’s Resolution project I wanted to make myself a new dress that could be worn during the daytime, but that could also be dressed up with heals for evening wear.

I found the Kimono Sleeve dress pattern by Salme, and with its simple lines and easy fit, I knew it was the style I was looking for and would be quick to sew up.

This pattern is a digital download that you print on your home computer. I am drawn to independent patterns and designers who offer this kind of accessibility to their patterns – being quite impatient, I find it hard to wait for a pattern to arrive in the mail, so I love the immediacy of being able to purchase a pattern and instantly print it out at home. If you are like me, I recommend investing in a good paper cutter which will save you a lot of time, when it comes to trimming your printed sheets.

I decided to use satin for the main fabric of this dress and in order to prevent it slipping around my mat when cutting out, I placed it on top of some cotton yardage which helped anchor it down and allowed me to cut out the pattern neatly and with straight lines.

anchoring the fabric for cutting

The dress was very simple to sew and I started to feel like the dark navy blue I had chosen needed to be brightened up, so I decided to appliqué a large anchor design on the skirt of the dress.

I began by hand drawing an anchor onto freezer paper. I used my ruler and a Fiskars circle template (to help me get accurate curved lines) and by placing the freezer paper on top of my front skirt piece, I was able to judge the size and position of my appliqué.

hand draw an anchor

When I was happy enough with my sketching, I took a piece of lightweight fusible interfacing and traced the anchor design onto the back. I then ironed the interfacing to the back of a large piece of scrap fabric.

iron onto interfacing

I trimmed the scrap fabric slightly, then used a thin layer of spray-on fabric adhesive to hold the right side of the fabric scrap to the wrong side of the skirt piece. Putting it in my sewing machine, I stitched the interfacing to the skirt following along my traced pen lines. I used a zig zag stitch. You may need to experiment to find the best stitch for your fabric. Satin frays easily so I found a zig zag stitch (or a twin needle) to be most effective.

sew interfacing to fabric

Depending on your design, make sure to sew over all the marked lines, including the interior ones (like the inner circle of my anchor design).

With the stitching complete, turn the skirt the right way and using a small, sharp pair of scissors (my Fiskars Stitcher scissors are the BEST for this job) snip away at the main fabric inside the stitching, taking care not to cut into the contrast fabric. Because I lightly sprayed the fabric with adhesive, I had to run the closed blades of my scissors up between the satin and contrast fabric to pull them apart from each other for more accurate cutting.

snip away at the main fabric

Having followed the pattern directions and sewn together the top and the skirt of the dress, I pinned the bodice to the skirt with right sides facing and side seams matching.To make the comfortable elastic waist, I pulled the elastic around my waist and subtracted 3” (because elastic tends to stretch when sewn in this manner). I sewed the two ends of my elastic together to form a loop and by marking the loop into 4 equal parts, I was able to pin it evenly around the waist seam of the dress. When sewing the elastic to the seam allowance, I pulled the elastic flat in between the pins.

pinning elastic

To finish my dress I sewed a rolled hem on my machine with a newly acquired rolled hem foot.

roll foot to create a neat hem

The foot rolls the fabric over to create a neat and beautiful hem. I did have to practice the technique a few times on a piece of scrap fabric, but I was happy with the final result.

completed roll hem

Now that I have learnt this appliqué technique I’m thinking that there endless ways I can personalize the clothing items I have been making.

July dress close

Supply List

Salme Kimono sleeve dress pattern

Enough fabric according to pattern requirements

Elastic

Sewing machine

Pins and pattern weights

Thread

For appliqué – small piece of freezer paper, small piece of lightweight fusible interfacing, contrast fabric, pen, pencil, spray-on fabric adhesive

Iron and ironing board