Monday, January 7, 2013

Woven-Ribbon Bodice Party Dress

Here's my first "sew along" entry to  Project Run and Play Season 6, the remix of the "The Party Dress."

The first week's challenge was a pattern remix of The Cottage Home Mama's Party Dress. Though we live in the cold Chicago area, I decided to think Spring and created an Easter Dress for C.

The first change that I made to the pattern was to shorten the front bodice yoke a bit and create a woven ribbon pattern at a 45 degree angle. (Can you tell that I teach teachers how to teach Math to their students?)

First, I drew 45 degree lines across the bodice using a purple marking pen that disappears after a certain amount of time. I used the grid on my cutting board to easily make those angled lines. These lines will help me line up the ribbons.    
I placed the longest ribbon across the full bodice from shoulder to bottom seam. Then, I continued until I filled the entire shoulder area, all in the same direction. Then I sewed across the shoulder seam to hold all the ribbons in place.
See how I began to weave the next set of ribbons across the first set. 
Do you remember doing this in school near Thanksgiving time to make placemats....I do.
Now we do it in Math to work on repeating patterns  :)
I did use a repeating pattern as I wove the ribbons.
 I thought it would be distracting to have a random pattern.

The pattern continued across the bodice.  I started to sew along both edges of one particular ribbon, the purple ribbon with the large white daisies.  I did that to prevent problems when this dress is cleaned at a later date and to stabilize the ribbon pattern.

It is getting easier to weave the ribbons and the process will begin to make you smile... 
I continued to sew down the edges of the purple flowered ribbon ONLY.

Look how easy it is to add ribbons at this point. The really hard part was at the beginning while establishing the angle and pattern.  Over..under...over..under..over...under..

This is how it looks from the back at this point.

Isn't it gorgeous!!!!
Don't you agree with me that a repeating pattern was a better choice than a random pattern?

When I began creating gathers, I learned to sew 2 rows of basting stitches. One row at 4/8 inch and the second row is at 6/8.  This creates small,l smooth, vertical gathers when you finally sew your seam at 5/8 inch.  I know there are easier ways, but I like the finished look.

On the back of the bodice, I shortened the button loops and added buttons without shanks.
Since there was no space for the button loops, I created my own shank with thread.
See how I placed a toothpick over the top of the button while sewing my stitches under and over.
When you remove the toothpick this will create an extra length of thread.

I came up from the underside of the bodice, but exited under the button. Then use your thread to circle around and around the extra thread "shank."
Lastly, knot the thread in the normal way, but under the button top.
This shows you how nicely the button loops lay down next to the fabric.
  I also did not add the sash.
No sash... but I added three fabric daisies, with handstitched bias tape stems and leaves.

Yep, that's it... almost.. as I made a matching headband.

C loves it.  She told me that she feels like a magical princess.

And what more joy can sewing bring to you than to create that special feeling for someone you love.


  1. Wow, I am amazed at how you wove the top for the dress! It turned out so cute, and I can see that your daughter loves it. Great job!

  2. I LOVE THIS! Totally pinning it right now. I really want to recreate this for Edison! It is so pretty. You're amazing!

  3. This dress is so imaginative and unique! I love how the bodice turned out. I think it is the perfect Easter dress!

  4. What a beautiful touch on the bodice. So excited to see what you did with my pattern.......absolutely beautiful! I am in Chicago too......where are you? Maybe we are neighbors :). Again, wonderful job!!

  5. What a beautiful dress! Thanks for sharing all the steps!

  6. This woven bodice is lovely! I love taking a blank slate and covering it like you did. I agree that once you got it started I'm sure it made you smile weaving in that pattern. Great job!

  7. Wow! That's a lot of work. Turned out really pretty.

  8. I love it!!! I had thought about some sort of braiding or weaving but tossed the idea out of my head right away because of the time involved! haha!!! You did great! I'm a new follower - I can't find your e-mail address so I'll put the link in the comment:
    I nominated you for the Liebster on my blog!

  9. Gorgeous! I love the woven ribbon, it's absolutely beautiful:)

    1. Thanks. It was fun to see the pattern grow, and know that the time I invested in planning out my design was well spent.

  10. I love the woven ribbons! That's a great idea- good luck!

  11. I am your new follower.

    1. Welcome Olga. It's delightful to have you as a follower. Be sure to leave comments when you visit as I enjoy the contact with other bloggers that love to sew like I do.

  12. Wow, that is so fun! I want to try this. The flowers on the front turned out really cute. Also it's good to be reminded how to sew on buttons and make your own shank. My mother-in-law taught me, but I seem to always forget about the toothpick step. Good job on sewing along. I look forward to the next few weeks.

    1. Al,
      Be sure to draw your first few lines on the white base bodice. Thank you for your kind comments.


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