Making a statement seems to be one of the biggest dress trends for 2020. Whether it makes its way into sleeves, ruffles, or tiers, volume is the answer everyone is looking for. Our Ainsley Dress free sewing pattern hits this trend in the most unique way, with a gathered petal-like bodice and a voluminous skirt overlay. This pattern works best with a stiff drape, so try your own version in a faille like ours, or opt for a brocade or mikado!
All seam allowances are 1/2″ unless otherwise stated. See chart below for sizing specifications. Note, this specific pattern is available up to a size 30.
First, fold your skirt loop in half along the length. Sew with fabric faces together, turn right side out and press.
About 2″ down from the waistline, pin the skirt loop in between your main underskirt and side underskirt at the side front seam like you see below. I recommend pleating or gathering the loop at the ends to create a bit more volume.
Set your skirt aside for the time being and get started on your bodice.
To add some extra structure, I chose to line the bodice with the same faille as the dress, but this isn’t totally necessary. Add the side front panels to either side of your center front pieces and follow suit with the center back and side back. Attach your front and back portions at the side seams.
Lightly press all of your seam allowances open.
Form each of your bodice cups next. Keep each piece folded in half, and gather it between the center front and just past the side seam. This is best done on a dress form (or even your knee!). Once you’re happy with the shape, stay-stitch the cups into place like you see below.
With the cups folded down, lay your lining face to face with your main bodice and sew along the top edge, sandwiching the cups in between. Turn right side out and lightly press your lining toward the inside along the seam.
Insert some rigilene along each seam of your bodice lining using a simple zig-zag stitch. Be sure to leave a 1/2″ beneath each one for seam allowance. I also recommend adding some horizontally along the top edge of the bodice under the cups.
Attach your underskirt to the main bodice layer at the waist.
Hem two long edges and one short edge of your skirt overlay with a 1/4″ rolled hem and fold it in half along the length. Pin and stay-stitch the raw edge to the center back skirt seam. There should be enough room to later hem your underskirt.
Insert your invisible zipper at the center back seam, shortening it if necessary.
Tuck the raw edges of your bodice lining inward and slip-stitch along the zipper and waistline.
Sew down the remainder of your center back skirt seam.
Lastly, finish off your underskirt with a 1/4″ rolled hem and your dress is ready to wear!