Sunday, May 3, 2020

Style 162

This lovely dress was inspired by a 1953 Pierre Balmain design.

For more information and photos, click here. (coming soon)

Click on the photos to make them larger.

Tape the skirt pattern together.

Baste the lower bodice lace pieces right side up to the right side of the lower bodice satin pieces.  With right sides together (WRST) stitch the lower bodice and lower bodice lining side seams.  Press the seam allowances open. 

Cut 1/4" off the right front of the lower bodice and the lower bodice lining.  Be aware that the lower bodice lining is opposite of the lower bodice and should mirror it.  

Stitch 1/4" along the waist of the lower bodice lining to mark the seam allowance.  Press up the seam allowance.

Stitch the skirts' center back seam.


Stitch the top half of the skirt’s left front to the lining.  

Turn the skirt right side out and press the stitched seam.
Stay stitch the top of the skirt pieces together.

Mark and cut 1/4" off the right center fronts of all three skirts.

WRST, pin the lower bodice to the skirt at the waist, ease the skirt to fit the waist if necessary.  The front left side of the lower bodice should extend 1/4” out from the skirt.  The right front of lower bodice and skirt should match up to each other.  Stitch the lower bodice to the skirt.

Right side

Left side

Serge, zig-zag, or Fray-Check one long edge of the front placket.  WRST stitch the unfinished side of the placket to the right side of the dress from the top of the lower bodice to about half way down the skirt.  Use a 3/16” seam allowance, otherwise the finished placket will be a little too wide.  

Press the stitched part of the placket flat with the seam allowances towards the placket.

WRST stitch the center back seam of the upper bodice.  Press the seam allowance open.  

WRST fold the bodice in half along the foldline and stitch the armholes.  If the using chiffon for the upper bodice, I recommend using a short machine stitch.  Trim the armhole seam allowance and carefully Fray-Check the edge of the seam allowance.  Once the Fray-Check has dried, clip the curves.  Turn the upper bodice right side out and press it flat.

Baste the bottom of the back of the upper bodice closed.  Gather-stitch the bottoms of the upper bodice fronts.  WRST pin the upper bodice to the lower bodice, matching the center backs.  The edges of the armholes should butt up to each other at the lower bodice’s side seams.  The front of the upper right bodice should butt up against the front placket and the front of the lower left bodice should extend 1/4" from the front of the upper left bodice, like the skirt.  Pull the gathering threads on the upper bodice fronts and keep the gathers between the markings on the lower bodice only.  Baste the upper bodice to the lower bodice.

WRST, stitch the lower bodice lining to the dress.   

Under-stitch the lining. 

Press down the seam allowance on the left front of the lower bodice and hand stitch the lining to the dress at the waist.

Put the dress on a doll and pin the dress together at the front.  Let the dress hang on the doll for a day or so to allow the skirt to “hang-out”.  Pin up the lace skirt to get it out of the way.  Mark the hem of the dress by measuring up from the table to the desired length of the dress.  I marked the dress 3 1/4” up from the table.  Use a lot of pins to mark the hem.  

Remove the dress from the doll and use a disappearing ink pen to mark where the pins were.   It is especially important to make sure the fronts of the skirts are exactly the same length.

WRST pin the satin skirt to the lining, keeping the lace skirt free.  The satin skirt and the lining fabrics may have “hanged out” differently and may not be the same length any more.  Make sure the skirts are smooth on top of each other with no bubbles.  Stitch the hem along the marked line.  

Trim the seam to 1/4".

 Under-stitch the skirt lining.  

Turn the skirt right side out through one of the front openings and press the hem. 

Put the dress on the doll and pin the dress together.  Pin up the front placket to get it out of the way.  Cut off the bottom of the lace skirt about 3/4"-1” shorter than the satin skirt.  It doesn’t have to be perfect because bottom of the lace skirt will be covered with lace flowers. 

Turn the skirt inside out and finish stitching the left front of the dress.  Trim the corner, and turn the skirt right side out through the right front opening.  Press the seam flat.  Finish stitching the placket to the right front of the skirt.  Remember to sew the 3/16” seam allowance!  Press the placket flat and cut the bottom of the placket off leaving a 3/8” seam allowance.  Press down the seam allowances on the top and bottom of the placket.  Fold the placket along the edge of the seam allowance to the inside of the dress and press.  Stitch in the ditch to sew the placket down to the dress.  The placket should be 1/4” wide.

Finish cutting the bottom of the lace skirt.

Fray-Check the bottom of the lace skirt for stability.

Rough cut lace flowers out of the lace fabric scraps.  Stick a pin in the middle of each flower and Fray-Check the edges of the flowers.  Stick the pins in a pin cushion to allow the Fray-Check to dry.  After the Fray-Check has dried, cut around the flowers.  Cut enough flowers to cover the hem of the lace skirt and the top of the lower bodice fronts. 

Put the dress on the doll and pin the flowers to the bottom of the skirt.  Make sure the flowers at the front of the skirt are level with each other.  

Hand stitch the flowers to the skirt.

Hand gather the top 1 1/4” of the back upper bodice.  

Sew beads, hooks, and thread loops to the front of the dress. The centers of my beads ended up being spaced about 9/16” apart and the hooks on the skirt are sewn under every other bead.  

Don’t sew a bead at the waist, because of the belt.  Hand sew lace flowers to the bodice fronts.

View B
This dress is constructed omitting the lace skirt.  Lace trim was hand stitched to the top of the lower bodice.

I stitched the lace belts by hand.

Straw Hat A
The hat straw has a thread on each side of it that can be pulled to make the straw curve.  Find the thread on one side of the straw and gather up quite a bit of the straw.  Gather more than you think you will need to.  The first few rows of the hat brim will not need the straw to curve very much, so push the gathers up the length of the straw. 

I purchase my hat straw from here and here.

Starting on the outside edge of the lid, press the hat straw into the tape and around the lid.  Tuck the end of the straw under the hat brim and it will be covered as you shape the brim.  Glue along the inside edge of the straw and cover the glue with another layer of the straw.  Keep gluing the rows of straw until you reach the juice lid.  

Overlap the straw a little bit and cut, Fray-Check the end, and glue the end down when the Fray-Check is dry.  If you run out of gathered straw before you finish the brim, just find the thread farther down the length of the straw and pull to make more gathers.  Don’t cut the thread there though!

Using the opposite, un-gathered end of the hat straw, shape the hat crown by wrapping and gluing it around the juice can lid.

Cover the top of the juice lid with double sided tape.  Shape the top of the hat by starting in the center of the juice lid.  Glue the straw into a circle until it is as big as the hat crown.  

Remove the three hat pieces from the hat block.  

Press the hat brim flat between a pressing cloth.

The three hat pieces can be either glued or hand sewn together.  I prefer hand stitching the top to the crown first and then gluing the crown to the brim.

Hot glue a piece of ribbon around the hat crown. 

Make a bow by marking 1 1/4" on the ribbon.  

Fold the ribbon at the marking and glue the end of the ribbon to the ribbon making a loop.  

Keep folding and gluing the ribbon until you make a bow with 6 loops.  

Glue the bow to the left front of the hat.

Straw Hat B
I made my hat block using a yogurt container,

and a racket ball.

 Mark a hole in the center of the yogurt lid,

 and cut it out.

 Stuff the container full of washcloths to support the ball.

 Place the ball on top of the washcloths,

 and place the lid on top of the ball.

Cover the top of the ball with double sided tape.

Cut a 1 1/2" of straw and Fray Check the ends.  Place it on top of the ball.

Prepare your hat straw by pulling on the thread on one side of the straw to get it to curve.

Place pins about 1/4" in on each end of the strip.  Glue the sides and wrap the curved straw around the pins.

 Glue about 3-4 rows of straw.

Cut the end and Fray Check it.  When the Fray Check is dry, glue the end to the hat.

Make a bow out of the straw and stitch it to the side of the hat.

Mark the stitching lines on tissue paper.

Pin down top of gloves and pin pattern onto the fabric.


Use strips of copy paper to keep the sewing machine to eat up the gloves.

Remove tissue paper and trim close to the stitching.  Clip the thumbs.

Turn the gloves right side out.

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