Don’t let the words challenge throw you off, that became the name of the dress Betty did for a challenge given on Everything sewing. We have monthly challenges and this challenge was what would you do with fabric, not picked by you. So we exchanged names and sent each other fabric. Betty always seems to come up with something extra special and this was one of those special designs. Many wanted to know how she did it, so she is sharing that with us.
You will need a light weight fabric that ravels some, I think this fabric Sylvia sent me had some rayon in it…a cotton/poly blend will not work, maybe a flimsy cotton? Buy extra for the tons of ruffles and the three tier skirt. Plain gathered skirt will do well also.
Pattern: Any basic dress pattern, will use bodice front and back pattern pieces only. A ruffler attachment makes ruffling easier but gather any way that works for you.
1. Cut front and back bodice, also the lining. I used the same fabric for both. Lay one front out flat and mark the two lines as shown for the ruffle placement. You will sew a ruffle over the lines so don’t worry about markings.
2. Be sure to allow enough fabric for your choice of skirt now, either a simple gathered or a three tier skirt. For a three tier skirt decide how long you want it finished, then divide by three and add one inch for half inch seam allowance. I added 1 1/2 times for gathering of each tier, using a hemming foot for the bottom for the bottom hem. Hint: before using the foot, trim each seam allowance for about 3/8”, this allows the hemmer foot to go right over seams and hems nicely.
2a. Cut bias strips from remaining fabric 1'” wide for the bodice, join bias strips and finish before gathering.
3. I used a gathering attachment to gather down the middle of the joined bias strips, what a breeze but any way you want to gather down the middle will work just fine.
4. On the bottom half of the bodice lay a gathered strip over the marked line, start at the other line for placement, top stitch over gathering stitching to the bottom, cut off. Start the second gathered row next to the first one with just the edges touching. Do this on both sides until the bottom half is covered. Sew the next gathered strip over the marked crosswise line, this will cover the top edges of the first strips. Continue covering the top half with the edges touching until it is completely covered. Sample is sewn with black thread both gathering and stitched down, as you can clearly see, it does not have to be perfect, matching thread does not show at all. Neater is better of coarse, this is to show a beginner sewer can do this with success.
5. Last but not least, spend an evening in front of the television and use a thumb nail scratching each edge to make it ravel. Some bias ravels more going different direction, so try both ways at each new joined pieces for the best results. A good washing should do the same thing. I didn’t want to wash mine before pictures.