6 November 2014

UFO: Stripy Summer Dress

In my blog hop post,I mentioned four projects that I wanted to focus on finishing. Here is the first of them.

My husband started making this dress for me about 7 years ago. Yes, you heard right, my husband was making this for me.

Let's back up a bit. When I was studying fashion design (whilst pregnant with our first child - there's nothing like being a mature age student who's pregnant!), my husband decided that he would try his hand at a bit of sewing. He refused all my offers of help, saying that he wanted to work it all out for himself. He made me a few maternity tops (which was quite helpful, as I was up to my elbows in morning sickness and studying). He's also made himself a few pairs of pants and a shirt. In some ways it backfired on him though, as I frequently turn him away when he requests that I mend something for him. I know he's perfectly capable of doing it himself!

Back to this dress though. He decided that he wanted to make me a dress, and, using a block that we had made together to my measurements, he drafted his own pattern for this dress, to his own design.

He was doing OK til it came to finishing off a V shaped waist panel, and there it has stayed for the last 6 or 7 years. Until now!

Here's how the dress was before I tackled it:

And the issues that needed tackling to finish this dress (apart from needing a good press, I know, how hard is it to pick up an iron before you take photos?)
  • The armholes were too snug
  • Under bust gathers weren't fitting / sitting right
  • Seams unfinished in the waist panel
  • No zipper / back seam
  • No hem
The fit was pretty good, so it was worth finishing, don't you think?

So here's what I did to complete this UFO:

Lots of unpicking, made just that bit more challenging by the tiny stitches that my dear husband used in perfectly colour matched thread. I raised the dress at the sleeves by a couple of centimetres, and lowered the armholes. This then necessitated all new facings, so I had to completely remove the bodice pieces and undo the side seams of these sections.

New facings in place, I adjusted the gathers under the bust before reattaching the bodice to the waist panel.

I unpicked the skirt from the lower edge of the waist panel, and fixed a few pleats that weren't sitting flat before re-measuring the placement of the skirt, trimming off the excess and stitching it all in place, including the V at the centre front.

I made a facing to cover the mid section on the inside, (apparently this had always been the plan, which is why the seams weren't finished off) attached it at the top side by machine, and hand stitched it in place where the skirt joins.

Then I was ready for the zipper, back seam and hem! (And a press). Of course I made the person who started it all help me with the pinning on this part. After all, he should help finish what he started!

Ta da! What do you think?

Finished at last, just in time for the warmer weather.


  1. Wow! Your husband did an amazing job! a really flattering style and quite intricate in style. :)

  2. That is so cool. Major points to your husband for almost finishing this. I also like that he chose fabrics that look like men's shirts, this would be a good style to try for Round 2 of the Sewing Bee!