Dresses

Chambray Dress from The Tunic Bible

Tunic bible chambray dress cording trim sewing Megan Francine
The pattern for this dress came from the book The Tunic Bible by authors Sarah Gunn and Julie Starr. I purchased the book shortly after it was released, but I had such a hard time deciding what tunic to make. I was really stumped as to which neckline to pick as there are 12! That being said, there are an infinite number of tunics that can be made with this pattern as the authors included different bodices, sleeves, lengths, and necklines. The possibilities are endless with this pattern, and not all combinations look like a variation of a tunic, so it is a real wardrobe builder. And there is only one bodice to fit! You should checkout @julie_starr on instagram to see her “Tunic a Day” posts to see all the different tunics that have been made with this pattern. You can use a wide variety of fashion fabrics with this pattern, even knits with some modifications as shown in the book. I also love how Julie and Sarah reference popular designers such as Tory Burch in the book for inspiration as it shows how to make such a classic sillouette trendy at the same time. 

The Tunic bible review chambray dress cording trim sewing Megan Francine
The Tunic bible review chambray dress cording trim sewing Megan Francine
I made an extra small, and made zero pattern adjustments! I can’t believe I didn’t need an FBA or swayback adjustment! There are some drag lines around the bust, which occurred after adding the back darts. I might do some minor tweaking to darts before my next tunic, or I might leave it because they aren’t too bad. And just ignore the edge stitching on the inside of the neckline! It was a result of changing my mind about the neckline placket at the last minute. 

The Tunic bible review chambray dress cording trim sewing Megan Francine
The Tunic bible review chambray dress cording trim sewing Megan Francine
I used a gray, 100% cotton chambray from fabric.com that wrinkles almost as bad as linen. The trim was inspired by this tutorial about surface cording by the Colette Patterns blog. I basically covered cotton cord with a long tube of white broadcloth then slip stitched it onto my dress in a decorative shape.

A few weeks ago, I attended an event at Five Eighth Seams, a local fabric store in Charleston, where I got to meet Sarah and Julie when they hosted a sip-and-see of all of their favorite makes. It was so cool to see the clothes from their instagram and blog posts IRL, and I learned some new sewing tips too! Sarah and Julie were both so warm and inviting, and I hope our sewing paths cross again soon. Julie even let me try on her Chanel-style French jacket she made to feel just how luxe the silk charmeuse lining feels! I can’t deny I thought about making everything out of silk charmeuse for the next couple of days.

Tunic bible Sarah gunn Julie Starr Megan Francine Five eighth seams

I am already thinking of sewing my next tunic in linen to help me beat the heat this summer! This is such a great pattern, I can see myself using it again and again!

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Bridgetown Backless Dress

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I’m a little late posting my #sewmystyle April creation. Earlier this month, I went to Las Vegas with nine other girls for a bachelorette weekend celebrating my friend and the bride-to-be, Brittney. I think it is safe to say we all had the time of our lives! I managed to take some pictures of my dress while lounging at one of the pools at the Venetian.

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This month, the #sewmystyle pattern is the Bridgetown Backless Dress by Sew House Seven. The pattern is easy to sew, and I made this dress in only one full day. This would be a great dress for a beginner as there are no set-in sleeves, zippers or difficult closures on this dress.
I made a size 2. Looking at the photo on the pattern envelope, the dress appears to have plenty of wearing ease. However, I didn’t look at the finished hip circumference before cutting. While the bust is loose and drapey, the hip area is pretty fitted, and I would be more comfortable if I had graded the hip area to a size 4.

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I made this Bridgetown Backless Dress by Sew House Seven out of a polyester crepe de chine fabric I was hoarding with the intention of making a wearable muslin I could use as a swim cover-up. Crepe de chine is very thin, and works well for lining garments or light blouses. It works fine for a swim cover-up as the fabric is lightweight and not too hot in 90 degree weather, but I have to be careful to not sit on any rough surfaces that could pick the fabric. So, I would suggest picking a more substantial fabric if you make this pattern.

On a side note, I recently bought a coverstitch machine, and I’ve been learning how to use it. I bought a Bernina L220!! I hope to write a post about it soon, but I want to use it a little more before I write a full review.

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Self-Drafted Formal Dress

I originally planned for this dress to be my “night dress” entry for the Day and Night Dress Challenge hosted by Elizabeth of Elizabeth Made This back in January. The rules were pretty straightforward- make a casual day dress and a black evening dress.

Self drafted formal  evening dress

When I go to a formal event, I usually have a months notice if I’m lucky. I feel like I have to make my outfit to those events because evening wear is my favorite thing to make, and I don’t get the opportunity very often. Then, since I’m an overly ambitious sewist, I concoct some elaborate design that requires a few all-nighters to complete. Last time I went to a black-tie affair, I *literally* finished sewing a dress just in time to not be late to the event. That was miserable, and I made a promise to myself I would never let my hobby put me under pressure like that again. The Day and Night Dress Challenge gave me a chance to create an evening dress so I would have a dress to wear to a future occasion, and we technically had about 6 weeks to complete the dresses. Unfortunately, fate had other plans during the month of January. I got sick. My grandmother passed away. I ended up not sewing for a couple of weeks.

Fast forward a couple of months and I finally finished it!!

Drafted evening formal dress knit
I’ve been teaching myself pattern drafting, but this is my first project that involved drafting for knit fabric. The dress fits wonderfully, but I still have a lot to learn. I stared at that white drafting paper for many hours waiting for the bust darts to draw themselves in the right location! The bust area has negative six percent ease, and the bust darts had to be positioned to account for the fabric stretching across the body when worn. It is hard to see in the photos, but there is a French dart that extends to the lace inset.

I was inspired by a dress I saw on Pinterest, a bridal gown by Lela Rose called the Lounge, if you are wondering which one specifically. It had beautiful hourglass-shaped seams vertically along the bodice that caught my eye. I didn’t do an exact copy because I wanted to create something more modest and bra-friendly, but the front view is very similar to this dress.


All of the seams except the center back seam were sewn with french seams. I serged the center back seam since I was using an invisible zipper, and there were no sheer details on this seam. I hemmed the bottom of the dress with a blind hem stitch, and the sleeves were cut along the scalloped selvage edge of the lace instead of hemming them. The lace insets at the waist were underlined with two layers of beige light-weight powermesh. The extra support from the powermesh gives a little more compression in the waist area than the lace by itself.

Self drafted evening dress

Self drafted evening formal dress drafting lace
I used Telio Jockey ponte knit fabric, and it is a rayon/nylon/Lycra blend. It is very soft, has great recovery, and the fabric provides a little smoothing. So, no spanx needed. YAY! The lace fabric was from an Etsy shop called LaceFabric, and this specific one is the Black Beauty Colleen Lace. It is a 4-way stretch lace with 3D embroidery to mimic alençon lace. One of the selvages has a scalloped edge.
Just one more look…

Drafted dress evening formal
Have you tried drafting patterns for knit fabrics? How did it go? If you used a book, can you tell me which one you used?

Fabulous photography courtesy of Rheney Dearstyne.

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