Welcome to another sew-with-me post! Once again, this is not a tutorial, just showing you my steps and thought process as I work on a dress from the Otome no Sewing mook. I finished the majority of the dress over a 2 day weekend, but made a mistake and took another day and half to fix the skirt and finish the hair accessories.
This is a simple one-piece dress from Otome no Sewing volume 14. The example dress was a sweet pastel print dress, and as it had the entire tutorial outlined in color photographs, I decided to give it a go with some fabric from my stash that also happened to be a cutesy print. Actually, I started with the donut fabric first and tried to find a simple full tutorial that would fit within 2 yards of fabric, and this was the best match. It actually required 2.5 meters, but as previously mentioned in my other sew-along posts, I did not cut out facings or extra stuff from the main fabric and used scrap fabric for lining, and thus was able to save the remaining main fabric to make hair accessories. Here are the starting materials minus lining fabric, with the main dress pieces already cut.
This donut print fabric was from Joann’s precut novelty cotton selection which comes in 2 yard bundles, I bought one bundle and got the second bundle for free during a sale (otherwise it was too expensive lol). The fabric is cotton, but it’s a thick and sturdy texture, almost like canvas but not canvas. It was obviously not intended for a dress, but on the other hand, what else could I make from sturdy fabric like this? Quilt? A purse? Shorts? None of those options would look great with this print, so I just used it as practice dress that ummm… you can wear while cleaning and cooking I guess. Included in the photo is a long zipper, 1/4 inch elastic, double fold bias binding, not pictured is lining fabric from an old cotton bedsheet with like 600 threadcount, only the best for my family.
Here I am working on the bodice. I had already attached the gathered rectangle skirt to the outer bodice, now I have sewn the lining made of bedsheets instead of facing with the main fabric. The main fabric was too scratchy but bedsheet is soft and also the lining will also cover the raw edges of the waist seam. A superior method to making a flimsy facing that you have to overlock the edges, in my opinion. I did adjust the pattern slightly – I used the medium size bodice pattern instead of large, but decreased the bust darts and side seam allowance to give me an inch of ease since I didn’t know how the zipper attachment would go (no zipper foot). The zipper attachment was not fun, but it didn’t take up that much fabric so actually the bodice is a little too loose on me now lol. But better loose than tight since there is no shirring in the bodice.
Notice I attached a ruffle cotton eyelet trim to the bottom hem of the skirt before gathering the top edge and attaching to the bodice. Also notice, the front panel is sewn upside down! I cut the rectangle skirt as 2 panels from the width of the fabric (4 cm shorter than the pattern guide to save space on the fabric) and just sewed the same selvedge edges together, not realizing I needed to flip the panels with different selvedge edges together. In my defense, the orientation of the print is barely noticeable, you can only tell by the direction of the tiny background hearts all going in one direction down the fabric’s length.
Oh, I forgot to mention that while I was angrily seam-ripping the skirt apart, I consoled myself by adding a second pocket made of bedsheets to the other side. Because yes even though high waist dresses look silly with side pockets, I was not going to let that opportunity slide. And now I have 2 big pockets in my dress!
Now, the reason why I only sew jumperskirts. Sleeves are the devil. I decided to zigzag stitch the hem edges and fold under once instead of folding under twice or roll hem as in the tutorial, this fabric was too thick for rolled hems. I also used single fold bias binding for the elastic channel. The double fold binding I had was extra wide and too wide for the thin elastic, but single fold seemed to be holding together, for now anyway. For some reason, I always cut elastic too long even though I measure it around my bicep as indicated, so I had to cut almost an inch off that length for it to puff nicely. I used a french seam on each sleeve, but the final attachment seam is just a plain seam and still needs some type of finishing before I throw it in the laundry.
The dress has sleeves now, just needs collar trim if we are going by the tutorial. It’s wearable, but looks plain, especially since I attached white lace on the bottom already but have no more of it left. Ooops. I went through my stash because I was not going to buy anything new for this heavy duty lolita dress. I had various ribbons but none really matched and were not in the right width or material. I had beautiful wedding style Venice laces that do not go with the everyday lace I already used and also not in the right colors, and I don’t have any type of mesh/tulle ribbon that was recommended in the tutorial. So I finally decided on a cotton butterfly trim that was very cutesy, sewn on top of strips of veil tulle that had a daisy dot pattern plus a dark pink ribbon bow that seemed to go with the strawberry frosted donut colors. I also added the tulle to the bottom edge under the cotton lace. Was this the best decision? It was with the stuff I already had, but as I searched on Etsy, there isn’t a huge selection of lace and trims that would be better quality than the bargain bin at Joann’s but not so fancy as to work only on wedding gowns and lingerie, so maybe this was the best combination out there, who knows?
The finished donut dress, along with a fabric covered headband (I have like 30 headband bases left to use) and a detachable bow made of the donut fabric and tulle, which I just pinned it to the headband. I only had a tiny handful of donut fabric scraps left, not enough to make anything else except a keychain or button maybe. The model in the mook was wearing a round headdress with more tulle ruffles, and I’m like… I’m short and stubby, I’m not wearing a round headdress, not even one made of donuts.
Do I like this dress? The fabric choice was a choice. I don’t really wear sweet lolita, even if I like the bright colors and subject of donuts here, and of course the thick heavy cotton doesn’t feel great on the skin like a lighter, airier cotton would. I do think it was easy to sew and mostly well-constructed and definitely a comfortable high waist cut. The dress hem hits right at my knees, fairly short length even if I had made the skirt 4 cm longer as it was supposed to be for a size medium/large. Overall, I consider this a good simple dress pattern, no complaints except for my own decisions on fabric and lace and sewing the skirt upside down. I’m not sure what to do with this dress personally, especially now that I know this type of cotton is not meant for clothing other than aprons or hiking hats. Any ideas?
Thanks for reading these long ass fashion blog posts as always. Take care!