Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Tutorial Tuesday: Dropped Shoulder Dress by Rumana

Today we have the wonderful Rumana Lasker (from The Little Pomegranate) blogging for us, with a tutorial for a Dropped Shoulder Dress which is simple to make and comfy to wear (it looks amazing too!). Over to you Rumana!
Hi everyone!

This is one of the comfiest dresses I’ve made. It’s soft, warm, snuggly and is such an easy outfit to wear. Plus it’s super quick and easy to sew- the only pesky curved lines are the neckline (which is actually pretty simple to do), so you don’t even have to face your fear of curved arm holes!

Again, I’m big on versatility. This one can be made to whatever length you fancy, short top or long dress. You could go maxi or midi, or do what I did and go for that sweet spot in-between the two! It’s a straight-up-and-down, boxy shape so you might need to be careful if you have very wide hips.
I’ve drawn it out on some pattern paper to make it easier for you to understand, but if you’re a seasoned sewer you could just cut right into the fabric.
You’ll need:
  • Stretch fabric- amount depends on the size you want to make it. I used 2m (I’m 5’2” and size S), but it was a little bit tight, especially for pattern matching. So for a maxi-midi length it might be safer to go for 2.5m
  • Paper to trace a pattern onto (don’t forget you can just use some baking paper if you don’t have any to hand) or of course, just cut straight in after pin marking essential points
  • Sewing machine/overlocker
  • Stretch sewing machine needles
  • Fusible stabiliser or ribbon
1.  Draw a line at the top of your paper-this will be our guide for the next few steps. Note: the pattern piece is to be used on the fold.

2.  Draw on a shallow neckline (the back). You could trace around an existing stretch top for this or use a dinner plate to make a curve.

3.  Because it’s a dropped shoulder we need to add some length to the shoulder seam. There’s two ways to plot the next dot- you can just measure along from the neck to where you want your drop shoulder to end (mid-upper arm is a good point or just where you think looks right) or you can measure from your neck to the shoulder and multiply this by 1.5 (a). So my neck-to-shoulder length is 10cm. 10cm x1.5= 15cm. Measure this across from the end of your neckline and mark 2cm down from your guide-line (to accommodate the natural slope in the shoulders). Join these lines up.

4.  Now it's just a straight line down to the length you want! I actually just cut out this template for the top half and choose the length when I’m cutting out my fabric.

5.  You could repeat this for the front piece, making a deeper curve for the front neckline but I tend to use the one and cut it deeper in the fabric itself.

6.  Cut your front and back on the fold, deciding on length by extending the length straight down. If you do have wider hips (like me), just be wary that you might want to make it a slightly more ‘A’ shape giving a bit more room around the hips, and I guess the opposite goes as well: slim hips might want to taper in the length a bit, ‘V’ shape. Don’t forget to add an extra 4cm for the hem.

7.  Now for the sleeve pattern (also to be cut on a fold) - 

A)  First I measured straight down from my tip of my shoulder to my armpit and added 5cm, and then added 1.5cm for my seam allowance. Start at the top corner of your paper and draw this distance down (you’d rather have it bigger rather than smaller as we can always chop it down a bit).

B)  Decide the length of sleeve you want (I went for long sleeve) and draw across. Make sure you add 2cm for the hem. Don’t forget that you’re measuring from the dropped shoulder part of your arm e.g. if you measured from mid-upper arm.

C)  Measure how wide you want the sleeve cuff to be by loosely wrapping the measuring tape around your wrist (remembering to account for stretch in the fabric i.e. keep the tape quite slim around your wrist). Half this number and add 1.5cm. Cuff size/2 then add 1.5.

D)  Now just join up the dots.

8.  Cut two sleeves on a fold, mark the centre of the sleeve cap with a notch.

9.  Lay front and back pieces right sides together. Stitch the shoulder seams, adding fusible tape/ribbon to the seam (sorry I forgot to take a photo!) to stabilize the shoulders. Use a zig-zag stitch if you aren’t using an overlocker. Press seam towards the back.

10.  Spread open the main body. Line up the centre notch of the sleeve with the shoulder seams, right sides together and stitch. Repeat on the other side. Press seams towards the body.

11.  Pin together side seams and sleeve seams and stitch together.

12.  Measure around the neckline, being very careful not to stretch it as you do.Take this number e.g. 54cm and multiply by 0.9. Then add 3cm: this will give you the length of the neckband including seam allowance (L).  L= (neckline circumference x 0.9)+3
The width of your neckband will be 5cm (which gives you a 1cm neckband using a 1.5cm SA). See my peplum top tutorial for more detailed photos.

13.  Cut a rectangle of fabric to create the neckband, fold in half, pin and stitch to make a continuous circle.

14.  Fold in half lengthwise and press. Pin mark into quarters.

15.  Pin to the neckline with the raw edges meeting. Match the quarter pins with the shoulder seams and the centre notches of the front and back neckline.

16.  Stretch and pin evenly all the way around the neckline and stitch into place. Press seam allowances downwards.

17.  Topstitch in place. You can use a twin needle for this if you want.

18.  Fold and hem the sleeves.

19.  Fold and hem the main dress- I did a chunky hem with a twin needle for a more relaxed/sweatshirt look.

That’s it! I’m not lying when I say it’s become one of my favourite dresses (ask my family- literally live in it!) I pair my midi length one with bunched leggings and boots for a casual look.
Hope you love it as much as me!

Thanks Rumana!  I think you'll all agree the dress looks amazing and so easy to make!

Rumana chose a French Terry for her dress (the Tie Dye French Terry has just sold out but we do have a similar cotton jersey (below) and will be getting more of the French Terry back in stock soon so sign up for our email updates HERE to know when it arrives). You could also use a Hacci Sweater Knit, BOLT by Girl Charlee Cotton Lycra or Cotton Lycra, some of our picks from the store below-

For more ideas, patterns and tutorials, follow Girl Charlee's board on Pinterest.
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Happy Sewing!
~ Mark & The Girl Charlee Team

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