Self Drafted Chinelo Inspired Tea Dress

Friday 22 April 2016

Today I'm sharing my first self drafted tea dress inspired by Chinelo Bally's Freehand Fashion book. I wanted to make a Summery dress without a paper pattern! Very new and exciting for my sewing challenge on #craftblogclub, a lovely craft and creative blogging community. I had a very faithful black dress to take the pattern from. It was a classic shift dress with darts on the front and back. I wanted to use the tips on measuring and freehand sewing from Chinelo. I'd watched her on the Sewing Bee and it was a totally new way of cutting for me, no pattern just.straight.on.the.fabric! So this is how I made my very first self drafted, no pattern tea dress.

I used a stretch sateen fabric I had been gifted by Coats Crafts. The design is Lindsey by Westminster Fabrics and it was a thank-you for working on a craft blog meet with them. I really loved the tea rose design on blue, it was vintage and flowery -perfect! I had the 1 metre of fabric at 60" wide which was just enough to make the dress and self coloured bias binding.

I laid the fabric double lengthwise for cutting and put my black dress onto as a pattern. The was all totally new for me. With my tailors chalk I traced around the dress leaving 2.5" as a seam allowance. I then refered to Chino's chapter on measuring and measured me and translated to the 'pattern' changing my chalk markings on the Lindsey fabric. It all took about 30 minutes to do. I cut out the front and back in three pieces. Two for the back as I was adding a zip and one for the front with enough spare to make bias binding.

I didn't add darts to the front or back as I used my body shape instead, I was talking to some other dressmaking friend's about this, why can't you sew a dress to fit your shape with no added darts?
 We think that this is not commercially easy to cut and grade patterns for but for me it's a great fit.

At the back, I put in a concealed zip in and again no darts! The length was slightly above my knee I didn't add a back vent as I could move in it Ok and the fabric had a little stretch in it.

The bodice was cut with a scoop neck which I used a pink cotton bias binding to finish and I spent time making sure my arm holes didn't gape!

The seams were pressed open and zigzagged. I love this technique as it finished the seams really professionally.

Detail of my scoop neckline from the inside.

The dress was made in two nights at the sewing machine and a little bit of time hand hemming -  I love a hand finished hem! I've worn this dress out twice since making it and after road testing I love it! It's really grown-up and stylish. For me, I'm so glad I took the plunge and tried something new.

What would you like to try that crafty new?

Have a great day!

Samantha x

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