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The Makers Dress: Pretty Little Dress for Real Girls

Following two discussions recently, one with my hairdressers and one with a shop assistant. Why don't I wear dresses or bye them very often?

Well, I work in maker space and am often dirty. Also, they seldom have pockets. Secondly, I'm 1.7cm Tall. So to even find something to fit, with broad shoulders is always a bit of a frustrating battle (I hate shopping).

So I've taken some inspiration from the Japanese. To design what I've called the 'Makers Dress'. A dress designed for real girls, that is wearable in multiple ways. Has an option to be designed with 2 different types of pockets. one for fists. one for storing stuff. Enjoy.

Skill level: Easy

You should be able to make this, with a little skill.

If you've never sewn before. I suggest selecting a cotton fabric, as it is the easiest to work with.


This took me 3 Hours from start to finish. So It should not take more than an afternoon to complete.

You Will Need

3m of 170mm wide or 5m of 90mm Wide Fabric. (will see the extra steps needed for narrower fabric I used in this design)

Cotton, Linen, any soft fabric will work.

Matching or contrasting cotton thread.

A good pair of sewing scissor

access to a basic sewing machine.

Paper to cut the pattern out of. ( I used old drawings, as I'm an architect) Newspaper or wrapping paper will also work well.

A measuring tape or long ruler.

An iron board and Iron.

Optional: Spray bottle for water.

Step 1: Measuring and Cutting the Pattern

This pattern is based on a classic Japanese pattern design.

See the measurements for this dress above.

This dress is wearable either way round, without the front pocket, for real girl emergency speed dressing. I've made one with the pocket and on without.

You will need the following pattern pieces.

  • 1. The main bodice cut on the fold.
  • 1. Neck Line cut to fold
  • 1. Pocket side or a front pocket pouch, cut off the main bodice to match.
  • 1. Sleeve piece.

Start with the main dress, draw the measurements in a rectangle. Then add the curves, it the easiest way to mark out the pattern.

Keep one of your dresses handy, to check the length is appropriate. Remember to add extra 10cm for The hem. If you are making the dress without the front pocket.

If you need a little help: I used THIS blog post for my original inspiration.

I used a combination of this idea and this idea in my original design. If you need more Inspiration.

Step 2. Cutting the Patern

Lay your fabric out, Pattern side to pattern side. So that the back side of the fabric faces out.

If you have wide fabric fold the fabric in half. If not, double the fabric up.

*With a patterned fabric it important to align the pattern. I've found the easiest way to do this is to use the very edge of the fabric. I also means you don't have to zig zag or over lock the edge.

Pin the pattern piece down, before you cut. Cut to the edge. ( This pattern allows for a maximum of above 1cm edge stitches if you require more adjust accordingly.)

You will need to cut out, on the fold.

  • 2 Bodice pieces.
  • 2 Neck lines.
  • 2 pocket pieces.
  • 2 sleeve cuffs.

Step 3. (Optional) Sew Half Pieces Together

Skip this step if you have wide fabric and cut on the fold.

1. Sew all matching fold pieces together.

2. Spray with water on the crease and iron flat on the seam.

*I always keep a spray bottel of water hand when ironing seems, Wet the seem thorough then fold flat. It much easier to fold seems down that way you get the neatest, iron crease.

Step 4. Sew the Pocket on

*With Fist pockets, you will sew each piece. onto the bodice of the dress. to match.

1. Sew the two ends peices of the pocket, Fold, and iron.

2. Pin to the bottom hem of the dress. and sew. Fold and iron.

* Fold so that the pocket fold up onto the right side of the front of the dress.

3.Fold the top of the hem over by about 6cm. Or leave flat. Which ever you prefer. Pin in position.

Step 5. Zig Zag the Neck Line Backing

1. Zig Zag the edge of the neck line backing.

2. Pin and Tack, to that the outside piece face each other. see above.

3. Stich along the edge, fold to the inside and iron in position.

* If you struggle to stitch the corner, a good trick is to turn the needle into the fabric, lift the foot and turn the fabric to the new angle. That way you don't get off set in your stitching lines.

4. Repeat for the back bodice.

Step 6. Sew the Top Edge and Sleeve Cuffs

1. Iron the two sleeve cuffs in half.

2. Cut the sleeve length down by 5cm. This length comes to my elbow. It will vary depending on one's height.

4. Sew and zig zag the top edge of the dress. Fold both faces outward, so that you have one long piece of fabric.

3. Pin sleeves folded to the outside face of the fabric and sew. Iron flat.

4. Fold the dress back along the shoulder line and alight the bodices.

Step 7. Hem the Back Bodice

*If you forgot a hem for some reason, don't panic. just cut an extra hem piece pin and sew, outside faces facing and iron flat and hem as normal. the length.

Keep an existing dress handy to check t

Fold you, 10m Hem, over twice.

Pin, Tack and sew.

* I happen to like a heavy hem. If that doesn't suit you adjust accordingly.

Step 8: Finish the Bodice

1. Pin, tack and Sew along the two remaining edges of the bodice, Zig zag to finish.

2. Make sure your pocket, is sewn into the hem.

3. Reinforce stitch, the arms and skirt edges. Go forward, by 2cm and reverse, or turn the fabric around if your machine does not have that function. This is the best way to stop your edges from unraveling. Particularly if you're a little hard on your clothing.

4. Leave a bit of thread length at each end. I usually stop the line short of the edge so that there is no thread showing if it does start to unravel later on.

5. Using a standard needle, thread one piece of cotton through the fabric. And knot a few times over. Snip the not short.

6. Snip off any loose threads.

7. Iron and wash.

* I usually find it best to wash before wearing as it allows the seems to sit comfortably and doesn't look just made.

Additional Options

I've also made one without the front pocket.

And included some fist pockets and

I Pinned in some ribbons when I sewed the side seams.

Which gives you a few options of tying the dress in the back, front or around the waist. Which give one a good few options, of how to wear it.


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