Saturday, October 1, 2011

Sewing mini dresses to go with my bloomers

I love bloomers, short pants (or shorts) with ruffled hems.  In the last couple of years, I have sewn myself several pairs of bloomers (including my black corduroy pair below), and I have noticed that I like to wear them mostly with my longest shirts or my shortest dresses so that the ruffles peak out the bottom.  Unfortunately, I own very few mini dresses, so I decided to make some.  I started with my oldest, dearest mini-dress, and since it fits me so well, I used it to draft myself a set of pattern pieces.  I updated the design by making it a both longer and fuller in the back than in the front.  I also updated the fabric choice from a tiny flower print to pre-ruffled fabric on top and slinky rayon on the bottom.  Both fabrics are 5% spandex to make them nice and stretchy. 

The first one I made turned out a wee bit too small for me, so I enlarged the pattern by a couple inches here and there, and made two more in just my size.  Why two?  So I could sell one and keep one for myself.  I planned to keep the crappy one and sell the other, but I am happy to report that they both came out equally well.  Here you can see me in the purple one.  It's so comfy and I'm thrilled with the fit.
The purple on is a size medium, and the green one is a size small.  Notice the extra seaming in the back to add shaping around the waist and fullness in the hem.

The hard part about sewing these dresses was working with the ruffled fabric.  If you're not really careful, you'll get wonky ruffles caught in the seams when you sew them.  From previous projects (bloomers!) I learned that the best way to control the ruffles is to baste them down so they don't move before you get the seams sewn properly.  I did a ton of basting on these, every seam with ruffles was basted before I pinned it (or basted it) to be serged.  In the past, I used my sewing machine to do the basting, but on these I did them all by hand.  It takes a bit more time, but I got MUCH better results.  In three dresses, I didn't get a single flipped ruffle, which is nice.

These two tops are also different in the hem treatments.  The purple has a ruffled lettuce edge, and the green one has a folded hem with cover stitch.  I'm really not sure which one I like better.  What do you think?

Clicking on the photos will take you to their Etsy listings.


  1. I saw this coat:

    On Etsy and immediately thought of you.

  2. Awe... you're sweet. That coat is a real eyeful! Beautiful. I'm touched that you thought of me. xoxox.


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