Crazy Polka Dots Dress – Behind the Seams 2 Construction

Crazy Polka Dots Dress Behind the Seams Part 2Following on from the previous Behind the Seams post for the Crazy Polka Dots Dress, here is a post about all the construction steps. It’s a pretty comprehensive list because I used a pattern I drafted myself, so I want to remember how I sewed it up and I don’t have any existing instructions I can look at in future like I would with a commercial pattern.

For many of you this may be a yawn-fest, but I find it interesting how other people put their garments together, I may pick up a tip or two. Also, I think it’s also important for those who are new to sewing or don’t sew to understand the steps that go into sewing a project.

I know these posts aren’t for everyone so please skip it if it’s not your cup of tea or coffee or cocktail 🙂


Fabric Cutting: A few things of note about cutting out the fabric for this dress.

  • Cut bodice and pocket pieces on lengthwise grain
  • Cut bodice lining with centre back (CB) on selvedge, so I didn’t need to finish seam allowances
  • Cut skirt pieces on crosswise grain because the fabric wasn’t wide enough to cut the skirt front on the fold on the lengthwise grain
  • (After drafting the sleeve) Cut sleeves on the fold with the fabric folded along the crosswise grain

CPDD Sleeve Draft 4Sewing: I’ve included pressing and clipping here because they are important steps to getting a nice finished project.

  • Sewing the bodice
  • Stay stitched bodice and lining neckline. (Forgot to stay stitch the waist of the skirt pieces)
  • Sewed bust/waist darts on bodice and lining; pressed
  • Sewed bodice and lining shoulder seams; didn’t finish seams; pressed seam allowance open
  • Sewed lining to bodice at neckline; didn’t finish seams; pressed seam flat, clipped seam allowance then press seam allowance toward fashion fabric
  • Folded sleeves wrong sides together and basted along sleeve cap raw edges
    Was going to try to sew sleeves in flat, but because they are cut with the hem on the fold it meant that when I sewed up the side seams of the bodice and sleeve the seam allowance wouldn’t be enclosed in the sleeve hem. So inserting sleeves in the round seemed the better option for the nicer finish I wanted.
    I thought about machine sewing the lining and bodice at the neckline and sleeves after inserting sleeves in the round, but realised that I would be able to turn out the lining because the side seams would have to be sewn up before inserting sleeves in the round. Confusing much?
  • Unpicked the ends of the sleeve cap basting a little so I could join sleeve side seams; pressed sleeve side seam flat, then seam allowances open, then pressed sleeve hems flat.
  • Sewed bodice and bodice lining side seams; didn’t finish seam allowance; pressed seam allowance open
  • With wrong sides together, joined bodice and bodice lining together at armholes with basting – to stop shifting when inserting sleeves; pressed
  • Inserted sleeves in the round; pressed.
  • Unpicked the bodice and lining seam at the CB neckline a little so I could overlock the CB seam allowances of the fashion fabric (I didn’t need to do the lining seam allowances and it kind of worked out later anyway)
  • Overlocked the sleeve armhole seam allowances
  • Overlocked the bodice CB seam allowances
  • Sewing the Skirt
  • Overlocked around the pocket pieces (excluding the side that attaches to the skirt side seam
  • Sewed the pocket pieces to the side seams of skirt front and backs; pressed seams flat.
  • Overlocked the skirt side seams (incl the pockets)
  • Sewed the skirt backs to the front at the side seams – basting through the pocket openings; pressed seams and pockets open
  • Sewed around the pocket bags, sewing through the skirt front seam allowances too; pressed stitching and pressing pockets to skirt front.
  • Basted the tops of the pockets to the front at the skirt waist.

Crazy Polka Dots Dress - Front,Side,Back - Make It NiftyJoining Skirt and Bodice and finishing steps

  • Attached skirt to the bodice, overlocked waist seam, pressed
  • Basted the dress (not lining) CB seam together; pressed CB seam flat then open.
  • Pinned and machine basted the invisible zip to the CB seam allowances
  • Unpicked the dress CB seam basting.
  • Sewed close to the teeth of the invisible zip.
  • Sewed the bodice lining at the CB by sewing it to the zip tape (I was able to sandwich the zip top between the lining and bodice because I unpicked it before to overlock the bodice CB seam allowances)
  • Hand sewed the bodice lining waist to the dress waist seam allowance
  • Marked and basted along the skirt hemline; pressed the hem up along the basted line. Pinned the hem up. Tried on the dress and decided that I wanted to take more length off.
  • Marked and overlocked where I wanted the fabric edge to be (I was lazy and used the overlocker to trim the fabric to make the skirt shorter instead of being a normal person and using scissors to trim the fabric).
  • Turned up the hem and pressed along the hem basting, pinned the hem allowance in place.
  • Top stitched the hem allowance in place


Final Comment

Phew that’s a lot of steps. I guess I don’t realise how many steps are involved as I’m doing a sewing project because I get lost in the process.

I find that a lot of the steps go a lot faster because I work out how many seams I can sew before I stop to press. Pinning a few seams at the same time, chain sewing where I can and pressing a few things at a time. Although sometimes pinning a few seams together can become a bit hazardous when maneuvering fabric at the machine. I’ve gotten myself with pins a few times.

One thing I do is work on the bodice and the skirt separately and then join them; instead of working on them both at the same time. I just find that it takes a little less brain power that way.

Do you work in a certain way when you’re sewing a project.
Do you have tips, tricks or techniques you like to use?
Would you have done something differently?
Did you learn anything from this post?
Or, was this all old news to you?
Tell me in a comment. I’d love to hear what you say.

I just had to include this pic 😉

Crazy Polka Dots Dress - Fist Pump - Make It NiftyUntil next time,