It is four right angles and four seams sewn with an opening for my head.
No, really. I know it looks like much more, but the fabric and the elasticated waist are doing all the work.
I’ve made this dress twice before (once in a peacock print and once in navy) during my half year of speed sewing for The Sew Weekly blog, but I never wrote about it here. Until now.
This version has an upgrade: A circle of clear elastic sewn to a dropped waistline.
When life (in the shape of a lingering cold, surprise deadlines at work, and family travel plans) started creeping in on my intentions to make something wearable this month, I fought back by resurrecting the simplest, self-drafted shape and applying it to the rayon challis print I acquired during my past addiction to online fabric sales.
My first two iterations of this dress were cut and sewn directly from yardage.
This time, re-realizing how many more dress and top variations this shape could yield, I made a pattern.
I was grateful for the accuracy that one rectangular pattern piece gave me when trying to fit the front and back on the full width of the fabric.
I had to short the seam allowances a bit on one seam, but ended up with an almost zero-waste garment.
The dress in my head got sketched on my croquis to see how the sewn-on elastic would handle the volume and how much blousing I’d like.
I wanted the dress to be permanently bloused at the waist versus just having the extra fabric belted. The elastic would keep things in position and distribute the gathers evenly like it did in the men’s shirt I refashioned last year.
However, a happy accident with the untested marking of my real vs. dropped waistline gave me more blousing than I’d planned.
But, I kinda like it!
Its 1980s material girl meets 1920s flapper.
I constructed the dress over three days.
On day 1, I ironed and cut the fabric.
On day 2, seams were sewn and overlocked.
On day 3, the elastic and hem went in.
To create the blousing, I quarter-marked and zig-zag stitched clear elastic to a waistline marked 1.5 inches below my true waistline (which turned out not to be).
To keep the back hem even, I lowered the back waistline by half an inch at center back.
I canNOT get over the basic beauty of this dress shape. The amount of pattern play to be had is endless. My next one might get kimono sleeves and a rounded hem. A proper neckline might even get drafted on future versions.
My satisfaction meter is off the charts with this make. Not to mention that I may have stumbled upon my fall/winter uniform.
What’s your experience sewing boxy styles? Would you ever try a dresstangle? What other variations do you see are possible with this shape?
10 thoughts on “The Dresstangle”
Wow, that looks great. And what a great, simple idea.
Thanks, Lynn! I think this dress would be perfect for a first-time sewer.
Hi, Heather. Thank you. I really do love it.
Perfect, and easy!
Yes, Mimi! Sooooo easy. As they say in the commercial, ” a cave man could do it”! Well, a cave man with a needle and thread could (heheh). Thanks.
I’ve been swimming in this pool all summer! But just shorter. I have made 3 square tops that are all just like this and I have been shocked at how much I like them. They are in constant rotation and I used 3 different types of fabrics, too. Just love it! I had always thought that because I am busty that this kind of loose style wouldn’t look good on me but it is just so flattering!
The water is nice in this pool, isn’t it, Marnie!? If I hadn’t mucked up the hyperlinks in my original post, you would’ve seen that the dresstangle was born from the “Hip to Be Square” top: (http://www.sewweekly.com/2012/02/the-hip-to-be-square-top/). Boxy but drapey is a lovely silhouette on us fuller busted gals!
Lovely dress! Love the blousing and the color is so cheerful. Happy accidents for the win, the sewn version hits you in alllll the right spots. 🙂
Thanks for encouraging me to write about my dresstangle, Ebi! I am enjoying how comfy and almost pajama like the extra blousing feels.
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