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Gator Glam: I Tried Making a Dress & This is What Happened

While Florida has only two seasons (hot and less hot), I decided that I wanted to look forward to the springtime weather and make myself a dress. My last article on how I tried making a skirt came out pretty successful, so I figured that I could do a series of stories on my sewing adventures. Of course, before I actually started making my dress, I needed to gather a good amount of fabric first.

For my springtime dress, I decided to go with this beautiful mint-colored, matte satin from Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Store. I ordered about two-and-a-half yards. I also bought a Simplicity #4070 pattern package so I could have some reference on how to construct the bodice. I wanted the dress to be relatively simple, but very classy and ladylike with a gathered skirt.

Next, I pattern out my bodice and lay it out on a piece of the folded fabric. I pinned everything down so nothing would budge when I was cutting it out.

After pinning everything down, I cut out the fabric and then pinned the appropriate pieces together.

I realized midway through the process that the fabric I chose was a little too sheer for my liking, so I decided to use some basic white broadcloth as lining. I roughly traced out the size of my sewn bodice and then cut a piece of white broadcloth to match it. After pinning the lining and sewing it onto the bodice, I only hemmed the top of it; the bottom hem would not be seen, as it would be sewn with my skirt.

To create the skirt, I used what was leftover of the fabric from the bodice. I chose to create a rectangle skirt because I find it easier to make and attach. After measuring out the amount I needed, I double-hemmed the bottom of the fabric. I sewed a straight stitch across the entirety of the fabric and then painstakingly hand-gathered the folds.

After I had the folds like I wanted them, I sewed a straight stitch across them to keep the fabric in place. I then lined up the skirt with the bodice and pinned the “right” sides of the material together. Finally, I sewed a straight stitch across the two pieces and trimmed off the excess fabric.

I measured how much I needed to insert my zipper, and then I sewed it in using this tutorial video I found on Youtube.

My last step was to add a green ribbon to accentuate my waist and give the dress a cute springtime vibe. I was actually pretty pleased with how my dress turned out, though there is always room for improvement.

Overall, I feel like my attempt was a success. In the future, I could perhaps add straps to the dress so the top won’t budge and so that it fits me better in general. Practice always makes perfect with sewing, and now that I have some experience with making a dress, I’m excited to start creating more of my own garments.


Photo credits:

Elena Kallergis

Elena Kallergis is currently a 4th year Advertising major at the University of Florida. Her passions include ballet dancing, drawing, reading, traveling, and rock climbing. She loves flowers, cats, fashion, chocolate chip cookies, cheeseburgers, and anything to do with the color peach. Outside of class, you can either catch her eating while attempting to study or just eating in general. Follow her on Instagram @elenamika.
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