Yesterday, at the fabulous National Art Centre Tokyo, my fave gallery in the Toke, there were some great dresses in the (also great) gift shop. They were selling for 8880 yen each which is a bit out of the old budget. I had a bit of a look at them and realised that they were basically two rectangles sewn together, so I sat down today and gave it a whirl.
I used fabric leftover from a top made for Little Miss O and some striped fabric that I wanted to use to make a pirate costume for her (there's enough left still to do it, I think), that I got at the 100 yen Tomato shop in Nishi Nippori. Fabric cost - about 240 yen. Bias binding about 10 yen.
1) I measured across my shoulders and added five centimetres to make it 53 cm.
2) I cut the first rectangle of cloud fabric as long as the amount of fabric I had left would allow.
3) I measured how long I would want the dress and added 5cm for the hem and joining the fabrics and cut the remaining length from the red and white striped.
4) I folded the cloud fabric in half and cut out a neckline.
5) I folded the neckline over to make a very thin edge and stitched bias binding over it on the inside.
6) I sewed the cloud and the striped fabric together and finished the seams.
7) I made a triangle one inch below the top of the shoulder pointing inwards towards the neckline to give some shape and stitched (like a dart in shape)
8) I measured 13 inches below the shoulder and marked with a pin on each side.
9) I measured 4 inches above the bottom and marked with a pin on each side.
10) I stitched from pin to pin on each side and finished the seams
11) I folded the raw edges around the armholes and the side slits over twice and sewed them
12) I folded the hem over twice and sewed it.
Et voilà! Along the way, I learnt some lessons for next time.
1) To make the skirt slightly wider and put a slight gather on it to give some more moving space - especially as I ride bikes often
2) To make the armholes a bit less open - there's a lot of underarm showing - so I have to wear a singlet underneath, which I would anyway on this one as the cloud fabric is quite see through.
3) To try it in a mix of stretch and regular cotton, once I get to my machine with the twin needle or work out the damn overlocker. This might make it easier to get on!
This is my first attempt, look out for some more later - possibly with more pictures to help you sew along. I think this would work well as a top too.
(Note: It WAS very tricky to cycle in, so watch out for one with a bit more room in the skirt!)