Friday, December 18, 2015

Fabulous Free Pattern Friday/The One Seam Evening Gown and Shrug

Last Saturday was my birthday, and it just so happened to be the date of the American Opera Society of Chicago's Holiday Gala. I always enjoy having something special to wear, and since it was my birthday, I especially wanted a new dress. 
I have been doing my best to use fabric that I have rather than purchase more. I had this beautiful piece of very glittery knit fabric and the companion fabric, but I didn't have a lot of either piece. In fact, I only had 1/2 yard of the solid gold, and a little over a yard of the patterned fabric. The fabric sat on my dress form for a week while I tried to decide what I wanted to do. Sadly, what I really wanted to do just couldn't be done with what I had, so it was make it work time. The result, a 1-seam dress and a 1-seam shrug.  
As you can see, the dress is a basic strapless tube dress. It has elastic at the top to hold it up.
The back. 
Below you can see the shape of the dress. The 1 and only seam is in the center back. 
The dress is approximately 10" wider than my hips at the hem.
Putting this dress together is so very simple. Just start with a piece of fabric that is approximately 10" wider than your hip measurement. Sew up a seam and create a tube. Slip the tube on and pin it in to fit your body. Rather than try and pin it from the back, I did my initial pinning from the side. After I did the initial pinning, I sewed it up, tried it on again, and then made adjustments to get the right fit. Once I was happy with the fit, I used the dress to cut a matching lining. Remember, this is a knit dress, so you need a knit lining as well.   
As I said, the top is held up with a band of elastic. But you don't see the elastic band. Very important.
Here you can see the inside of the dress. The elastic is sewn to the lining and not to the outside fashion fabric. Once the elastic was attached to the lining, the lining was then sewn to the fashion fabric.
Bra cups were sewn to the lining. You can see how was done HERE. I also attached a piece of elastic to the lining just under the bra cups for extra support.
From the outside, the top of the dress is smooth and seamless.  
A stitched in hem would make the dress look a little cheap. So rather than a machine stitched hem, or a hand stitched hem, I left an opening in the lining and then reached through the lining and sewed the lining to the hem. The dress is hemmed and no signs of stitching! Prior to hemming the dress, I tried it on and determined the length and decided that a 1 1/2" hem would be best. I then cut 1" away from the lining. I left the extra 1/2" for the seam allowance.  
Below you see the shrug laid out flat and folded in half. I actually used the entire width of the fabric for the shrug. An opening was left in the middle and then what became the sleeves was tapered to the wrists. You can see too that I added cuffs, which are just 2 small rectangles.  
Below you see the shrug before I cut away the selvedge edge. I thought that the cuffs were much more appropriate than leaving the selvedge edge :)
The dress was a hit. Believe it or not, I was asked, "who are you wearing?" I proudly said, "Rhonda Buss." I always get a kick out of that question!! Throughout the evening, I smiled to myself while thinking, it's just 2 seams!!!! Yes there is a little more to the construction with the addition of the bra cups, but it is really so very easy to do.
Sadly, I didn't get a picture of me wearing the dress. It was a very busy evening. But, I will be wearing it again soon, so I promise to get pictures the next time.
So in the future, if you need a dress and you are short on time, or fabric, or both, remember my 1 seam dress. Trust me, it'll be a hit!

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  1. I need a dress, and short on time, but no knits. I have heaps of silk pieces. I'm thinking a simple shift dress with swing. Maybe a hi lo hem. We'll see. Love your outfit. You are so clever!

  2. The fabric makes that dress. I'm sure you were beautiful in it.
    Hugs, Joy

  3. How inspiring your dress and shrug are! They appear to be the best use of that gorgeous fabric.

  4. What a terrific way to wear your birthday! Very well done, and happy birthday!

  5. Happy birthday, Rhonda, it's really a fabulous dress! :)

  6. Sometimes simple works best. Your outfit looks lovely, and I hope you had a wonderful birthday.

  7. Happy belated birthday. Love your dress and how you get to celebrate your creativity in such a beautiful way.

  8. A belated happy birthday to you! What a wonderful outfit, and what a lovely way to celebrate!

  9. Happy belated birthday. Your dress is beautiful! Can't wait to see a picture of you in it. I know it felt great when they asked who you were wearing. :-)

  10. Much to easy to be so beautiful! ;-) and let me join in the with belated Birthday wishes!!

  11. What a beautiful outfit. It really does look very high-end designer. Happy belated birthday. Xx

    1. To me it just looks like a dress :) I was actually asked if it was Valentino!!!! Poor man, he would probably be horrified, but I enjoyed the compliment.

  12. It's a beautiful combo, am sure you looked fab in it. Looking forward to seeing the pictures of you in it and Happy belated birthday☺

  13. Beautiful, as always! I love that you just go-for-it! Happy Birthday!

  14. I had the pleasure of seeing this gorgeous outfit in person. You would never think it was so easy to make. Rhonda looked absolutely beautiful in it.

  15. Gorgeous! Sadly, I could never wear the gown; at 36DDD, strapless is not the most comfortable or flattering option. (Built-in bra cups are insufficient, and large-cup strapless bras are for the birds!) But you've inspired me to hunt up a pattern for a good halter neck gown pattern.

    I admire your innovation on this one! :)