HOW TO SEW AN A-SHAPED GOWN

Hi Sew lover
Eid-Muburak in arrears to all my Muslim friends and followers.
How were the holidays? Did you have fun? Did you make anything beautiful during the hols? If you did, don’t forget to upload a photo of it HERE to take part in our September Sewing Competition that is coming up Saturday, 24th September 2016.

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Now to the main event.

In our previous tutorial-HOW TO MAKE A CAPE DRESS PATTERN, we mentioned an A-shaped gown and how to make a pattern for it. So if you missed it, kindly click here. However, today, I’ll be showing us how to sew one using the patterns made from the pattern making tutorial(See here to download the pattern-making tutorial for free).

Requirements

1. A-shaped gown pattern: Download how to make one for yourself here.
2. Fabric of choice: You will need only 2.5 yards of your fabric of choice depending on your body hip width.
3. Body statistics: The following body statistics are required:
(i) Length of shoulder:

(ii) Bust

(iii) Upper Bust

(iv) Under Bust

(v) Body/Waist

(vi) Hip

(vii) Half length (i.e from shoulder to ‘Above knee’).

(viii) Sleeve length

(ix) Round curve of Sleeves

4. Interface/Gumstain: you will need only ¾ of light gumstain/interface
5. Matching zip: You will need 24 inches matching zip.
6. Matching thread
7. Scissors, ruler and tracing wheel
8. Sewing machine
9. Pressing iron
10. Electricity

Procedures:

1. Cutting the A-shape pattern on fabric: Place the pattern for your a-shape gown on your fabric, trace and cut.(Download how to make an A—shape pattern for free here). When done, your cut out fabric folded in equal halves will look like these:

Your sleeves will look like these:

When you open them up, they will look like these.

2. Cutting out the lining fabric: If your fabric of choice is transparent, it is important to include a lining fabric. Thus, place your lining fabric on your cutting table and trace both the front and back pieces of your a-shaped gown and cut. When done your lining fabrics will look like these:

Front Piece Lining Fabric
Back pieces Lining fabric


3. Adjusting the neckline: You can choose any neckline you prefer. (see here to check out the various neckline for bodice and also see here to learn how to cut out perfect necklines. I wanted my neckline to look like that of a keyhole, that is, a round neck with a “V” cut at the bottom.

So to get this neckline, I folded the front piece back into equal halves and from the folded area, I measured 3.5 inches downwards and curved my neckline, like this.

Next, from the end of my neck line curve at the folded area, I measured 2 inches downwards and marked and then, created a v shape, like this.

When done, I cut out what I had traced.

Because of how complicated my neckline is, (that is, not the regular “scoop” or high-neck neckline) it was thus important to use a neck fly.

A neck fly is a piece of fabric identical to the neckline of the front or back piece that is used to turn the neckline outside in. This will not only ensure a perfect neckline finish, it will ensure that the neckline maintains the same shape and curve.

So to make a neck fly, cut out a piece of scrap fabric left, and place your front piece on it. Trace the neckline and then cut, preferably in the same shape as the neckline. When done, the neck fly will look like this.

Place it (folded back into equal halves) on the neckline for your front piece lining, trace and cut, as it is meant to replace the neckline for the lining fabric.

Next, place the fly on the neckline of your front lining fabric and stitch.

Snip the seam and match the seam to the lining fabric.

Your new lining for your front piece will look like this:
Next, take to pressing table and press your interface/gumstain on it. It will ensure that the fly stays properly at the wrong side of the front piece when attached to the neckline.

4. Turning the necklines: This section will be divided into turning the neckline for both (a) Front piece (b) Back pieces.

(a) Front piece: Unlike previous tutorials where all that was required to ‘turn’ the necklines of both the front and back pieces were the lining fabric (See here to check out previous tutorials) this tutorial requires the use of a neck fly. And as earlier explained in the previous step, this is because the neckline for the front piece is more complex and different from the usual scoop or high neck type of neckline. So to ensure that the neckline is turned neatly and accurately, it is important to use a fly.

So to turn the neckline of your front piece correctly, place your front piece-right side up-on your sewing table and then, place your lining fabric wrong side up on top of it.

 Ensure that the necklines of both pieces tally, pin and then take to sewing machine.
Stitch around the neckline.

Snip the seam edges

And then match the seams to the lining fabric as shown on the photo below.

Take to pressing table, turn your front piece right side up making sure that all the edges of neckline are pointing out and press iron.

When done, the neckline for your front piece will look like this:

(b)Back piece: Unlike the front piece where the neckline was a little complex, the neckline for back piece is not, thus it is easy to simply use the lining fabric to turn the neckline. So to do this, place your back piece right side up on your measuring table and then the corresponding fabric on it. Pin the necklines together and then stitch around.

Snip the seam edges

And then match the seams to the lining fabric as shown below:

Turn right side up and then take to pressing table.

Press iron the neckline properly.

When done, the neckline for your back piece will look like this.

Repeat the process for the other back piece.

5. Inserting darts: In an A-shaped gown, you can choose to insert regular darts for both the front and back pieces. However, I chose to use breast darts for the front piece and regular darts for the back pieces(read more about darts here). Thus, this section will be divided into inserting darts for both the (a) Front piece and (b) Back pieces

(a) Front piece: As earlier mentioned, I chose to insert breast darts rather than regular darts to the front piece. So to insert breast darts, fold your front piece back into equal halves. Measure 3 inches down from the bust level as shown in the photo below and mark.

This is your under bust level.
Measure an inch above the under bust level and mark.

From the mark made, measure 4.25 inches towards the folded area (see how this value is gotten here) and mark.

From the new mark made, draw a slant line from the mark towards the under bust level, like this.

This will guide how your under bust dart will look like.
Hold this line like a regular dart and stitch.Repeat the process for the other side of the front piece and both bust darts will look like these:

(b) Back pieces: Also, as earlier mentioned, I chose to make a regular dart for the back pieces( See how to make regular darts here). When done, my back pieces with darts looked like these.

6. Attaching zipper: To attach zipper, place your two back pieces together with both right sides facing each other. Like this

Mark out your zip allowance and then measure the length of your zipper on it. Leave this part unstitched, and stitch what is left to the bottom of the back pieces. Like this

Open up your seams. Take to pressing table and press iron the seams apart including the unstitched portion.

Place your zipper underneath each seam that was unstitched and stitch each side of the zipper to each side of the seams. (see more on how to attach zipper here)
When done, your zipper now attached to the back pieces will look like this:

7. Joining the front and back pieces together: With both your front and back pieces completed, place the back piece-right side up-on your sewing table and then, your front piece, wrong side up on it.

Measure out your body statistics on your front piece.(See here to see how it is done) and pin the sides as well as the shoulders to the back piece.

Take to sewing machine and stitch.

When done, your A-shaped gown wrong side up will look like this:
Cut out any extra seam.

8. Attaching sleeves: Fold the end of your sleeves half an inch first and then an inch. Like this:

And then stitch on the folding. When done, the end of your sleeves will look like this:
Fold your sleeve back into equal halves wrong side up.

Measure out from the folded area and folding, half of your round curve. So if your round curve is 14 inches, divide by 2 and you’ll have 7 inches. Measure from the folded area of the end of your sleeves 7 inches and mark.

From the end of the Armscye(armhole) draw a straight line to meet the round curve mark. Like this

Take to sewing machine and stitch along that line. Cut off any extra seam

Repeat this process for the other sleeve
When done, your sleeves turned right side up will look like these:

Snip the mid-section of your sleeves to help indicate where the shoulder of the sleeve will be.
Then place your dress right side up and your sleeve right side up.

Put your sleeve through the armscye of the dress and turn wrong side up making sure the armsyce of both the dress and the sleeve tally.

Stitch around starting from the armpit.

When done your sleeve now attached to the dress will look like this:

Repeat the process for the other sleeve.

9. Folding the bottom of the dress: With both your sleeves now attached to your A-shaped gown, measure starting from the shoulder, your half-length measurement plus 1.5 inches and mark. Mine is 35 inches. Thus 35 inches plus 1.5inches for folding.

When done, cut off any extra fabric and fold the bottom of your dress half inch at first and then an inch if you do not have an over-lock machine. My dress already had a border so there was no need to fold twice.

Stitch round.
Take to pressing table and press iron.
And you are done.

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