Make a One-Hour Dress

comments (15) September 4th, 2014     

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_nikki_ Nicole Smith, contributor
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This dress is so quick to sew, you’ll find yourself making more than one. It would also look great in a metallic knit for a special occasion.
Inspiration by Oscar de la Renta
This dress is so quick to sew, you’ll find yourself making more than one. It would also look great in a metallic knit for a special occasion.

This dress is so quick to sew, you’ll find yourself making more than one. It would also look great in a metallic knit for a special occasion.

Photo: Jack Deustch
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What says summer more than a chic, lightweight dress? Sew a sophisticated asymmetrical style that can be worn for the office or date night with just a change of accessories. This dress is made from a stable knit fabric and is the perfect addition to your work or nighttime wardrobe. It has a gathered shoulder on one side for an updated silhouette on the classic sheath dress.


dress Get more quick dress projects:

• How to Restyle a T-shirt into a Tiered Tea Dress
• Transform a Men's Shirt to a Cute Summer ShirtDress
How to Embroider a Basic T-shirt Dress

What You'll Need:
French curve
Hand-sewing needle
Interlock knit, 2 yards
Measuring tape
Pattern paper
Sewing machine

Make the Pattern

1. Take your measurements. Measure across your shoulders; this is measurement "A." Measure from your shoulders to your desired length; this is measurement "B."

2. Draw two rectangles. Draw a rectangle that's half measurement A plus 1-inch wide and measurement B long, as shown below (rectangle 1). Flush to the right of rectangle 1, draw a second rectangle that's half measurement A plus 10 inches wide and measurement B long (rectangle 2). The line the rectangles share is center front and back. The two rectangles form one pattern piece.

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posted in: dress, sewstylish feature, sewstylish technique

Comments (15)

Rohit Kumar writes: I love this. This is good.
Posted: 6:47 am on September 5th
Finest Vibes writes: Ok I everyone reading this needs to try this out.. The Description are clear and easy to follow.. Ok it won't be done in a hour but no more than 2 and a half.. Plus it's super fun to do... For more nice dresses checkout or
Posted: 7:21 am on August 18th
ustabahippie writes: Yes, some will get great results in 1 hour, and some won't. We should be realistic about "1 hour" directions! But it's a really cute dress, and I will make it with my own additions and corrections.
My only addition to the directions would be to remember to cut a front and back by flipping the pattern or folding the fabric and cutting two, so you don't end up with one having the wrong side facing out!

Posted: 11:50 am on June 1st
truckiejane writes: I love this. This is good.

Posted: 6:52 pm on May 31st
truckiejane writes: I love this. This is good.

Posted: 6:52 pm on May 31st
ClothingLabelsLover writes: I love the idea of something easy to do and will look great.

I will definitely make it and will comeback to show some pics
Posted: 1:35 pm on July 25th
cgalindo writes: What is the best fabric for this pattern? I'm a newbie getting to know all the different fabrics that work best for certain patterns. Thanks!
Posted: 1:00 am on June 19th
plaidcrazy writes: Another thing that is not mentioned is that top stiching around the neckline with a standard stich will keep it from stretching....and getting it over your head. Remember to use a knit stitch.
I'm going to make this this weekend, but I am going to ruche the shoulder with elastic instead of pleating (I'm all about making it simple) and add some pockets to the side seams. I've been putting pockets in skirts for a while, but here is a quick tutorial...
I'll post a pic!
Posted: 10:40 am on January 28th
discodotty writes: OK, I am an experienced sewer as well and have a few words on the pattern. How about gathering up the shoulder with elastic, instead of the ribbon or cord...which was never a look that I found appealing. I am not a tie or bow girl.
I was searching for a basic shift pattern when I found this article. Being a full figure gal, make sure it will fit your bust and hips, and if you want make both shoulders the same. Be creative go crazy....try it in challis or snazzy stretch prints. As we say in Boston, this pattern is "wicked" enjoy it!
Posted: 1:43 pm on July 30th
gypsytouch writes: I think this is great!
Posted: 4:09 pm on June 29th
GinnyRay writes: I made this dress and love it!

Didn't take more than two hours, I thought the directions were great and thorough.

My only suggestion is to measure from the top of your shoulder to the middle of your armpit, and add a couple of inches - instead of going with a standard 7 inches.
Posted: 8:47 pm on June 27th
ceeshell writes: back in the 70's stretch and sew was big. there was a tee-shirt variation where you extend the shoulders 3-6 inches and added one inch to the shoulder seams so that they are 1 & 5/8th inches. sew the shoulder seam on the original sewing line stopping 5/8th inch from the sleeve end sew up the side seams, clean finish the sleeve including the opened seam however you like. then take the shoulder seem and press 1/4 inch along it. then fold it in half and sew down creating two tunnels beside the seams. take a piece of coordinating ribbon, or a self fabric tube. thread through the tunnels (the ends of the ribbon/tube will be caught when the neckline is finished) when you try it on, push the shoulder up the tubing and tie a bow, this creates a soft ruched effect that is much more flattering. it take less time to do then the direction seem to indicate.

I think that the one hour articles of clothing are not counting in the time altering the pattern, laying out and cutting the pattern. setting up the machine with the right needle, testing a scrap of fabric to see how it handles and looks. yes if you just count sewing 4 seams, setting in the sleeves, facings and hem, without Children, husband pets or phone interruptions, it would be possible, but i can't make any thing except a tea towel bib with ribbing or a simple unlined grocery bag in an hour.

Posted: 3:48 pm on June 5th
liudadovy writes: Yes, all of those things, but you have re-enforced my point that it is no longer a one hour dress; if you look closely at the photo, the shoulder pleats look bulky- your improvements would change that.

There is no substitute in sewing for knowing and practicing, all the classic techniques. Your analysis of my rather hasty reaction were thoughtful, but I am so sick of what passes as sewing these days, because no one was taught while they were young.
Posted: 1:12 pm on June 3rd
zlee writes: Oh, I don't know, Liudadovy. I could make this in an hour and make it look nice, but I'm not sure someone without experienced sewing skills would know to do some of the little things that would allow this to happen in an hour -- or have equipment that would help to do that in a short span of time.

A serger would make quick work of the seams and finish the inside properly, and the overlock would finish the exposed edges equally quickly. The pleats would need to be flattened and possibly trimmed so they weren't too bulky, or a very thin knit would be required. (Probably still need trimming, though.) Using a very drapey double knit fabric would help.

I'd also consider a facing rather than a turn at the neck, which does mean more time on the ironing board and sewing machine. Without a facing, I'd probably put a very soft knit interfacing at the neck and arms to help it lie better, another step that would add to the time spent on the dress.

Without a serger, I'd use either a knit stitch on the machine (to let it drape correctly at the sides) or be very careful to (evenly) slightly stretch the fabric under the foot while sewing. The use of a double needle would help to cover the edges on the armscye and hem in place of the overlock.

I do note that the pattern piece does not show a curve at the shoulders, but there is a curve on the three inch shoulder seam in the picture, including a straight section to allow for smooth turning of the arm opening and a smooth fit over the shoulder cap. Also, note the clipping at the neck and shoulder seam point in the picture -- this allows the neck turn over to happen without pulling.

The picture also shows a slightly flared section at the bottom of the side seams for smooth turning of the hem, and it's possible that someone tuliped the skirt slightly by cutting the bottom of the seamline in slightly. I'd probably do this a bit more obviously; in the picture of the finished dress, I note that the skirt looks a bit awkward even with that slight tulip in the pictures of the side seams. Using the French curve is ideal for that.

Hope that might help someone who wants to make the dress!
Posted: 5:22 pm on June 2nd
liudadovy writes: My experience as a sewer: nothing that claims to take an hour actually ever does, and it always looks like it took an hour, and it shall be worn for exactly an hour.
Posted: 4:22 pm on June 2nd
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