Hi! Melly Sew’s 30 Days of Sundresses series is up and running again and I’m sharing again this year. Melissa’s series was such a great catalyst for getting me to sew for myself. I still love the strapless dress I made last year and was so excited to get started on this year’s dress.
I’ve been eyeing the beautiful watercolor dresses I’ve seen on Pinterest and thought it would be great to make one for my upcoming anniversary trip to California.
Many of the dresses I’ve seen had a halter type bodice so I used the Gathered Sundress pattern from Pattern Runway as my jumping off point, lengthened the skirt, and drafted a halter bodice. I’ve had the Gathered Sundress pattern in my stash for over a year now and I’m so glad I finally got a chance to use it. Now that I’ve finally gotten it all printed and taped, I’ll be using this one time and time again.
The dress was made using Robert Kaufman cotton voile which I painted using fabric spray paints after cutting my skirt piece. Since the voile itself was WAY more sheer than I had anticipated, the lining fabric was a must. I was expecting to use an additional layer of the voile but once I saw how sheer it was, I knew an extra layer of this fabric was not going to cut it. Not with any modesty, that is. Note to self, stock up on silky lining fabrics for emergencies just like this.
If you’re looking to alter a pattern to add a halter bodice, here’s what you’ll need to do.
First, draft your halter bodice. I used this tutorial as my starting guide, using my measurements, and extending the length of the straps. You’re welcome to print and use my free front halter bodice for size M. You’ll need to draft your back bodice piece by creating a rectangle that measures 1/2 of your chest measurement + 1 inch.
Once all of your pattern pieces are cut, you’re ready to get sewing!
Pin and sew, right sides together around the outside edge of your bodice pieces, leaving the bottom open about 4 inches for turning.
Clip corners and the curved seams. Then turn right side out. Repeat for the other side of the bodice.
Pin and sew a small pleat, using a basting stitch, in order to add a wee bit of curve to your bodice. Sew your back bodice, right sides together, at the side seams. Press the seams to the back and topstitch.
To create longer ties, cut four 2″ X desired length (I added another 10 inches) strips. Pin, right sides together and sew around all four sides, leaving 4 to 5 inches for turning. Turn right side out. Repeat for second set of ties.
Pin the strap to the “strap” end of the bodice, right sides together, and sew using a 1/2 ” seam allowance. Press under and topstitch the seam. Repeat for the second strap. Then topstitch around each bodice and strap, making sure to press the open seams inward.
If you are using a sheer top layer, your skirt will need a lining. To attach the bodice to the skirt, sandwich the outer layer, bodice and lining, making sure the right sides of the outer layer and lining are right sides together and the bodice is right side together with the outer layer and facing toward the hem. To make this easier, baste the halter bodice to the outer layer firs, making sure to overlap the pointed parts of the triangle, before pinning the lining on top. Then sew around the entire raw edge of the skirt, making sure to catch all three layers.
Now I have the perfect wine touring and sipping dress to celebrate 10 years with my fabulous husband. Be sure to stop over to Melly Sews to enter to win a bundle with EVERY single one of her darling, dress patterns and to follow along with the rest of the series.