Today I’m showing you guys how to make the Lizzie Dress from the New Contemporary Collection by Simple Sew Patterns which is available to buy here.
Our classic Lizzie Dress is a delight to sew with shapely princess seams on the Front Bodice and satisfying to stitch Box Pleats which look amazing on this garment. You certainly won’t tire of this flatteringly feminine summery dress.
Especially when i have used this lovely Printed Cotton Lawn from Whitetree Fabrics. Its just beautiful with a vintage floral print with cute polka dots!! It’s a delight to sew and it’s just perfect for the Lizzie Dress with its lovely drape and print for a Summer Dress! Why else wouldn’t you buy some of this its a steal at £4.50 a metre and its 147cm wide too Win Win!!
Now upon reading the measurements on the back, I decided to cut a Size 10 for the entire pattern as i am lucky enough that the Size 10 fits me perfectly with no grading between sizes but i did have to shorten the Skirt Pieces by 10cm so ill show you how to do that later on the post dam my shortnest!!Hahahaha!
So it’s always best to double check your measurements before you start cutting into the Pattern but don’t panic if you need to grade between sizes and your thinking where on earth do i start ?! Go and click onto my previous Tutorial here, where I’ll show you how to grade in between sizes with ease!
As always make sure you launder your fabric prior to you starting to cut your pattern pieces out as this allows for shrinkage as it would be a complete shame not to do this before hand and to make an awesome staple Top, to wear it and love it and then to put in the wash where it’ll shrink and the Dress would be too small to wear! Noooo all your hardwork unwearable!
First open up the envelope and make yourself a brew and read the instructions and make a list of materials/equipment you need if you don’t have them already so no last minute dash to the local haberdashery store or waiting days for online orders lol!
A tip before starting your sewing on a fabric you haven’t used before use some scraps to make sure you have the right stitch or you could end up ruining some of your lovely fabric.
22″ Concealed Zip which i shorten by 4″ again myself being short an 22″ is too long for my body! hahaha!
0.5m of Medium Weight Iron on Interfacing
Navy Guternmann Thread and Bobbin
Paper Scissors – For cutting Pattern Pieces out as these will blunt and make cutting fabric out quite uneven!
Fabric Scissors/ Rotary Cutter – whatever takes your fancy for cutting your fabric, i use both
French Curve – handy for getting those straight lines whilst cutting out with rotary cutter or to grade in between sizes if your measurements are in between sizes.
Pencil for marking out the pattern of course
Iron and Ironing Board
And last but not least the Trusty Sewing Machine, Normal Sewing Foot and Overlocking Foot. Now I’m using this foot as i use my Overlocking Stitch to finish my Seams. But if you are using a Small Zig Zag Stitch then your normal sewing Foot will be ah-okay. Missing from the Pic my but you do need it to install the Zip!
Make sure you have plenty of thread in your bobbin as there isn’t anything worse than getting halfway through sewing a long stretch of your garment and to find you have only sewn half of it, trust me this has happened many times LOL
Now then, you can go ahead and cut straight into the paper pattern to the size you require and to make sure you add any notches/markings onto the fabric then cut out the pieces 🙂
But i needed to take 4 inches of the length of the skirt so i’ll show you how to do it;
Now on the Skirt Pieces there isn’t a Shorten/Lengthen Line, so i decided to draw a line 38cm from the Top of the Skirt as i felt this was about right to alter the length from then drew a straight line across the width of the Back Skirt and Front Skirt.
Now then all you have to do is fold the pattern up to the cutting line and tap down using some sticky tape.
Then we have to match the pattern again so its all aligned again, i used my french curve and drew a line from the taped bit of the pattern down to the rest of the skirt in a nice line to match the pattern, the chopped off the excess. Remember to do that for both the Back Skirt and Front Skirt and of course to mark any notches they may have escaped from being chopped off 🙂
Now onto the cutting the Pattern Pieces out. Fold the fabric Right Sides Together selvedge to selvedge and places the pattern pieces on the top. Align the straight grain line on the pattern piece to grain of the fabric and pin down the pieces. Also cut out your interfacing pieces too! Remembering to snip any notches on the patterns pieces as you will need these for lining up and sewing later on!
Which then you should have the following pieces:
1 x Front Centre Bodice, 2 x Side Front Bodice, 2 x Back Bodice, 2 x Side Back Bodice, 2 x Back Facing, 2 x Back Facing – Interfacing, 1 x Front Facing, 1 x Front Facing – Interfacing, 2 x Back Skirt and 1 x Front Skirt. Wow that’s a lot of pieces but it is soooo worth the end result!!
Also apply the Interfacing to the Facings.
When ironing Interfacing you have to be careful not to scorch your fabric but also for it to be hot enough to fuse the Interfacing to the Fabric. So what I tend to do is to use a tea towel over my fabric and Interfacing and gently steam on top.
When applying Interfacing you always apply it to the wrong side of your fabric with the shiney side facing down.
Now onto Sewing it all together! Yay! We will be using a 1.5cm Seam Allowance for the Seams except for the Neckline and Armholes but I’ll remind you when to use 1cm Seam Allowance 🙂
With Right Sides Together, Pin and Sew the Front and Back Facings at the Shoulders.
Press and Finish the Seams.
Right Sides Together, Pin and Sew the Front Side Panel to the Front Bodice, matching the notches.
Repeat for the other side, Press and Finish the Seams.
Right Sides Together, Pin and Sew the back Side Panel to the Back Bodice.
Repeat for the other side, Press and Finish the Seams.
Right Sides Together, Pin and Sew the Front and Back Bodices together at the Shoulders.
Press and Finish the Seams.
Now onto attaching the Facings to the Bodice 🙂
With Right Sides Together, Lay the Facing on top of the Front and Back Bodices like I have here. Pin in Place around the Armholes and the Neckline. When sewing these remember to use a 1cm Seam Allowance, starting at the Centre Back.
Also when you get to the V detail at the Centre Front of the Bodice, pivot your needle at the sharp corners to maintain them lovely corners 🙂
Trim the Neckline and Armhole Seam Allowances to 0.5cm and snip into the curves to relive the pressure and to enable the fabric to lie flat. Just don’t chop onto your stitch line but as close as and to snip into the v neckline too.
Turn the Facing through so its lying on the inside of the Bodice. To do this, start by pulling the Left Back Bodice through the Left Shoulder Cavity and then repeat for the Right Side Bodice. Press the Neckline and Armhole Seams.
Now onto a tricky part!
We need to understitch the Neckline! This is optional but it it does give a real neat professional finish to your Dress. I would recommend setting your machine to a smaller straight stitch to catch the snipped Seam Allowance. Lift the Facing from the inside of the Dress so the Right Side of it is facing you. Then start stitching about 1cm away from the existing Seam Allowance from the Centre Back of the Bodice to the Shoulder then starting again at the Centre Front back to the Shoulder, Repeat for other side too. Take your time with sewing this bit, don’t rush as you only need to sew the Seam Allowance to the Facing and not to the actual Dress itself. It really is worth the effort! 🙂
Yay! The Bodice is together! Now to the Skirt.
On the Right Sides of the Front of the Skirt, Fold the Pleats towards the centre notch like I have shown you here. Pin and press in place and the use a Basting Stitch (A Stitch that isn’t secure and its quite a long in length) about 1cm Seam Allowance to secure the Pleats. Repeat for the Back Skirt Pieces also.
With Right Sides Together, Pin and Sew the Front Skirt to the Front Bodice, remembering to match up the seams if you can.
Then repeat for the Back Skirt and Back Bodices. Press and Finish the Seams.
Now they are securely in place you now take out the Basting Stitches 🙂
Turn the Dress inside out so its Right Sides Together and flipping the the Sides of the Facings at the Side Seams. Pin the Front and Back Bodices together at the Side Seams and all the way down to the Hem and Sew in place. Press and Finish the Seams.
Its soooo close to be completed!! Now onto inserting the Concealed Zip!
I like to uncurl the Zip itself with a warm iron as this helps to get the stitches as close as possible for a great looking concealed Zip.
Now Swap your Sewing Foot to Invisible Zipper Foot and flip the Facing up and then Right Sides Together of the Bodice and Zip itself, pin in place on one side of the Back of the Dress so the the zip matches the raw edge of the Dress and that the Top of the Teeth of the Zip just sit below the Facing seam. so when the facing is folded back over its sits beautifully at the top of the Dress.
I like to hand tack my Zip in Place before Stitching in place. Try and get as close as you can to the bottom of the Zip as much as your Sewing Foot will allow and remember to Back Stitch to secure too. Repeat for the Other Side.
Now to finish the Back of the Dress, I changed my foot back to the Normal Sewing Foot and with Right Sides Together, Pin and Sew the Centre back Seam starting from the Hem up to the point you stopped sewing the Zip in. Just be careful not to sew the Zip ends just keep them out the way whilst you sew.
Press and Finish the Seams.
For an extra touch of neatness, i decided to make my Bodice Facings lie neatly by flipping up the Bodice Facing and folding over the Seam Allowance of 1.5cm at the edge. Pin in place with the Facing and Seam Allowance and Sew together just like the understitching for the Neckline. Look how good it looks and plus it keeps the Facings in place too.
Just to hem this Beauty of a Dress! Remember to Finish the Raw Edge of the dress before Sewing the Hem in place.
With myself shorten the Skirt before hand, I didn’t have to take any length off and I like to use a 1cm Hem but that just personal preference but feel free to use the 1.5cm Seam Allowance as stated in the Instructions.
Then give it all a Good Ol’ Iron everywhere and Voila you have one Lizzie Dress!!
Here’s me on my way to see Claire at Simple Sew HQ, I’m off on a choo choo!! Hahaha!
Now then! I’m thinking this is overtaking the Ruby Dress as one of my Favourite Dresses of all time OMG!! It really is well designed and its nice not to be sewing Darts to give the Bodice shape it needs too.
So remember peeps Sewing is meant to be enjoyable and to have that satisfaction of making your own clothes is awesome so if you do get stuck please get in touch and i can help before you abandon it?