Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Lots of Layers Garden Party Dress Tutorial (Kind Of)

I'm sorry I took so long to get this tutorial to you, but I wanted to be sure that it was perfect.

I want to start by saying that this dress requires a little bit more work than most dresses, but that little bit of extra effort is so worth it for the amazing results you will get in return. Of all of the dresses I have ever made, this is by far the one that I am the most proud of.


  • One Shoulder bodice Pattern - I used the Peek a Boo Pattern Shop Jasmine Dress
  • Woven Lining Fabric - (not shear) I used about a yard for the equivalent of a size 6 ready to wear.
  • Main Fabric - My fabric was purchased from but be warned it took 3 weeks to arrive.  I used every inch of a yard and a half for a size 6.
  • elastic 1/2 inch elastic
  • matching thread
  • basic sewing supplies - tape measure, needles, cutting tools, iron

Step 1: Preparing the lining
  • Cut the bodice and skirt out of the lining fabric as instructed by the pattern. If you are using the  Jasmine Pattern add one inch extra to the sleeve top. Do not cut out the petal tie. 
  • Hem sleeve edges. 
  • Sew elastic casing along the neckline. 
  • Sew one of the side seams. Do not sew the seam on the side where the neckline is lower. 
  • Sew the waistline elastic casing as instructed.
  • Do not insert the elastic into the casings yet.
  • Hem the bottom of the dress. 

At this point the dress should look like this.

Step 2: Determine the size and ruffle of your main fabric.

  • Cut a few test strips of fabric.
  • Measure the fabric before ruffling
  • Sew a line of basting stitches and then pull your basting thread until you reach the desired level of ruffle
  • Measure the strip of fabric afterwords. 
  • Finished Ruffled Measurement / Starting Ruffle * 100 = ruffle
  • My ruffle was 70% of the original fabric length for a barely ruffled look.
  • Decide how wide each ruffle will be. You will need a few wider strips to fill in blank spots.
  • My ruffles were 4 inches wide and 5 inches wide.
Step 3: Prepare your First Ruffle

  • If you are using the same amount of ruffle as me cut your first ruffle length using the following formula. 
  • Hem length * 1.3 + 2 inches
  • Narrow Hem the ruffle.
  • Sew a row of gathering stitches.
  • Distribute the fabric evenly as you gather the ruffle to fit the hem of the dress.
  • One inch on each end should remain unruffled and hang over the edge of the dress.
  • Once the gathers are distributed turn under the gathered edge at the ruffle stitch and zigzag stitch it under so that it won't be exposed once the ruffle is attached.
This tutorial is meant to get you started on making your ruffle dress. At this point in the process of creating the tutorial my computer crashed and had to be reset to factory settings. I lost all of my pictures (and learned an important lesson about backing up my computer) so I will try my best to explain the rest of the process without photos.
  • The rest of the ruffles were prepared and placed one at a time in an slightly asymmetrical pattern. 
  • Do not sew over the elastic casing when attaching ruffles. 
  • Once all of the ruffles are attached insert elastic into waistline and neckline casing and sew ends in placed.
  • Before sewing up the side seam baste the 1 inch over hang of each ruffles out of the way. 
  • After the side seam is sewn hem the ends of the overhang ruffles, then overlap with the other end of the same ruffle and hand sew in place to the dress.
  • Sew the shoulder seam together.  
  • Create a tube of fabric and insert a piece of elastic into it for the shoulder strap. 
  • Try the dress on for fitting and pin the shoulder strap in place.
  • Sew to dress after fitting
  • Hand sew any disobedient ruffles down.

That's it. I really wish I had the pictures to finish this tutorial correctly, but hopefully you can use the information to take this dress and make one with your own unique spin on it!

Let me know if you have any questions and I will answer them as best I can.

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