Floral prints are the epitome of spring and summer fashion, and with so many different styles and colors to choose from, there’s a print to add a touch of whimsy to any outfit. With spring being in the air, we’ve had floral dresses on our minds. I wanted to sew an easy midi dress, using our circle skirt calculator and the bralette from the Ilana Lingerie Set Free Sewing Pattern. With a few easy adjustments, I created a subtle keyhole dress that would look fabulous in any floral print! This dress is also perfect for wedding season, vacation, and everything in between.
Before cutting your bralette pattern out, you’ll need to make some adjustments to the pieces. As always, whenever making adjustments to patterns, I strongly recommend making a muslin first.
Note: I wanted this dress to fit Sam like a glove, and it does! I didn’t want much extra ease, so I made this exactly to her measurements. If you prefer more ease, remember to add that as you go along!
How to adjust the Center Cup:
1. On the center cup, find the outermost point on the CF, and measure in ⅜” (the seam allowance). Draw a straight line down. This is going to be the fold line.
2. We want to round out the neckline a bit, so take about an inch off the highest point on the front cup. Ease that line downwards, towards the new CF line you drew, and level out that line so that, when cut on the fold, it creates a U line instead of a V.
3. From the CF line, remove about an inch from the bottom. Ease it downwards gradually until you reach the SA. Merge into the SA.
Pictured above is the finished Center Cup.
How to adjust the Outer Cup:
1. Place the adjusted Center Cup against the Outer Cup. Fold down the seam allowances, and take off the appropriate amount of the uppermost point. Ease that line downwards towards the side.
2. Place the Outer Cup onto you or a dress form, and mark where the side seam goes.
3. Add ⅜” SA to that mark, and draw your side seam at an angle. I angled it in at ½”.
Pictured above is the finished Outer Cup.
How to draft the Back Band:
1. Your back band needs to match up with the new side seam you drew on the Outer Cup. Use the Outer Cup as a guide, and draw the side seam + SA of the back band. The illustration above shows where the seam line will be. This helps me determine the correct width of the back strip.
2. Take a measurement of your back, from side seam to side seam. Divide that by half, and add ⅜”. That will be the length of your back strap piece.
Note: If you don’t have a dress form that shows the side seam, designate the side seams on a bra while it’s on you or the form, mark with tailor’s chalk, and measure.
3. Cut the fabric on the fold.
How to draft a circle skirt using our circle skirt calculator:
1. Input the bodice’s UB measurement into our circle skirt calculator. If you want to create a gathered skirt (which I think would look great with this dress), double that measurement before using the calculator.
2. For this skirt, input the UB measurement for a FULL circle skirt. Because the midi length prevented me from being able to cut everything out in one piece, I split it into 2 pieces and cut my fabric into two half circles. If you do the same, be sure to add seam allowance to account for that extra seam. I added ⅜” to each side. If you aren’t feeling confident and want to add more, go ahead! You can always get rid of it later.
3. For the waistband, I cut two of the Back Band pieces. I didn’t need to adjust it for Sam, but you might find that you need to.
How to sew the bodice:
Note: I lined the bodice and waistband with muslin, as this needed some extra structure. If you’re sewing with a quilting cotton or sateen, you can self line!
1. Sew the front cups to the outer cups, easing into the curves. Trim SA, clip curves, and press.
2. Sew the back band onto the wearer’s right, leaving the left side open for a zipper.
3. Repeat with the lining.
4. Determine the length of your straps and cut the Ilana Strap piece to the proper length, including seam allowances.
5. Fold a shoulder strap lengthwise, right sides together, and sew. Trim SA and turn right side out. Press. Repeat with the other strap.
6. Place your bodice self and lining right sides together. Sandwich the straps in-between the layers on the front and back bodice. I placed the straps at the front seams, and then put the bodice on the form to figure out the back strap placement.
7. Sew the layers together along the entire top edge. Trim SA and clip curves. Turn right side out and press.
8. Sew two rows of topstitching along the top edge.
9. Sew two rows of topstitching on each side of the bust seams.
10. Fold the two layers of the keyhole inwards, and topstitch two rows to close it up. All of this topstitching will give the bodice more structure, eliminating the need for cups.
Note: the bottom edge should be unsewn at this point except for the keyhole.
How to sew the skirt:
1. Cut 1 self and 1 lining for the waistband.
2. Sandwich the bodice inside the waistband, with the self pieces facing together. Sew, making some extra reinforcement stitches where the keyhole meets the waistband.
3. Trim SA and press the waistband down.
4. Sew the skirt, right sides together, leaving a generous opening on the wearer’s left side for an invisible zipper.
5. Sew the skirt waist to the waistband, right sides together. Press the seam up towards the waistband.
6. Press the lining under, using some fusible tape to keep the lining in place.
7. Topstitch the waistband lining to the waistband self. Add another row of topstitching to match the bodice. Repeat with the top of the waistband.
8. Sew the invisible zipper into the left side of the dress. Use pinking shears to trim any excess SA.
9. Hem the skirt with a double fold ¼” hem. Press.