In my 15+ years of sewing, my ambitions started high (i.e. making a gown with very cheap fabric), steeply dropped (i.e. making many, many tube skirts), and tapered off at easy-medium level projects. I’ve made my fair share of jersey swing dresses, tee shirt dresses, a couple of peplum hem shirts, and generally anything with a forgiving fabric and silhouette. There comes a time, though, when I looked into my closet and found that I really didn’t need any more basic pieces.
In the last year I have branched out quite a bit, adding linings to dresses, creating my first two pairs of pants (leggings and joggers!), and now I’m tackling a personalized bodice, fully fitted, princess seam lace dress! For those who do not know what princess seams are, they entail altering a bodice to rotate the darts from their usual position below or to the side of the bust, and running them along the length of your body from the top of your shoulder through your torso. They make a very flattering shape, and lend themselves well to a fitted bodice.
This pattern took a good bit of time to get right as I started with some pattern pieces and altered them to fit just right. I had never worked with princess seams before, so it took some time to understand the construction. My final dress is built on four pattern pieces on the bodice and then adding ruffles to the hem and the sleeves. The front bodice has two center pieces and two side panels which incorporate the bust curves. The back bodice also has two center back pieces with a zipper in the center and two side panels, but they are much simpler since there aren’t so many curves to deal with.
Obviously, when I made my own pattern I made it based on my body measurements. In order to make it as simple as possible, I’ve broken down those four pattern pieces into simple calculations you can complete using your own bust, waist, and hip measurements. Though the pattern can be made with paper, I suggest using muslin (the cheap off-white fabric sold at the fabric store) to create it so that you can sew them together, try it on, and make adjustments before cutting into your nicer fabric.
This pattern can be used with most any fabric, but I used a gorgeous Guipure French lace from Fabric Wholesale Direct and lined it with a simple white cotton. Make sure if you use a lace like mine that you cut the pattern pieces all lined up with one another. This way you will be able to keep the stripe effect lined up which would otherwise look very messy.
Get the DIY tutorial and pattern over on Fabric Wholesale Direct!
Thank you to Fabric Wholesale Direct for sponsoring this blog post. All designs, photos, and opinions are my own.