DR309 Sewalong

Last Friday, we published our newest pattern - the color block dress. Its simple yet elegant design can be done using three knits of different colors since it is composed of several asymmetrical panels. Its V-shape is very wide at the bust, but tapered at the hip and will be easy to adjust according to your silhouette. Its minimal look will allow you to create different looks by playing with accessories and colors.

For the occasion of the pattern release
, we propose a detailed and illustrated sewalong to walk you through making this style. In addition, we will show you a variant without the style lines.

Now let's begin...

The silhouette being adjusted to the hip, it is important to choose your size according to your hip girth. If your measurements are between two sizes, choose the larger one as it will be much easier to remove any excess of fabric when the side seams are stitched.

The sleeves are also very adjusted so be sure that the sleeve width is to your liking. If you prefer to have more ease or your arms are fuller, refer to the diagram below to adjust the arm width.

Print and assemble your pattern. Then you can cut directly into the pattern board or trace the pattern in the desired size. If your height is less than 1m63 or more than 1m74, we recommend adjusting the pattern length to preserve the proportions of the garment. The approximate length of the dress is 83 cm.

Choose a soft knit, but avoid those that are too thin or too thick. The knit should have a nice drape while being opaque. We recommend a blend of viscose or cotton with elastane (spandex). As mentioned above, you will need three different colors. The yardage of each fabric is provided with the pattern.
It is very important to also check the elasticity of your knit! To do this, stretch the fabric lengthwise and then widthwise over a 10 cm (4 ") section to at least 15 cm (5 ½"). If you can't reach this length or feel the slightest resistance, use a larger size or use a more stretchy knit.

The list of supplies required for this style is quite simple - have a stretch needle and an all-purpose thread to hand. The use of textured thread is strongly recommended to get elastic seams. Finally, to stitch down the hem at the sleeves and the bottom of the dress, use the double stretch needle. On the other hand, if you do not want to use this type of needle, a zigzag point will work out well.

If you want to make the dress without the style lines, you will need a single knit of 150 cm wide and a length of about 1m50. Then, adapt the pattern by folding the pieces no. 1 and 3 on the center lines, as shown below. Then, join the two pieces at the seam no. 2 and overlap them by 25 mm. Tape or pin the pieces in place.

Use the cutting layouts provided with the pattern to lay the pieces on the fabric. To make the dress without the stye lines, use the plan below to arrange the pieces. Be sure to add a 12 mm seam allowance to the centre edge of the BACK piece. The FRONT piece will be cut on the fold of the fabric, same for the neckline band. ** Note that the darker pieces indicate the wrong side of the pattern. In this layout, you will not need piece no. 2.

Before cutting out the fabrics, be sure to machine clean and dry them according to your liking. Then, set your iron at medium temperature press the fabrics to remove any creases.

Before removing the pattern, transfer the markings (namely on pieces 3 & 4) to the WRONG SIDE of the fabric and notch the edge of the fabric as indicated. ** TIP: mark the wrong side of each piece with a chalk to make the sewing part easier! Knits very often have a wrong and right side looking rather similar.

Unless stated otherwise, be sure to stitch at 12 mm (½") from the edge and match notches and markings with the same numbers.

Assemble RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER, namely by placing the right side of a piece against the right side of another one – the right side being the side showing when the garment is worn.

Use a straight stretch stitch or a narrow and short zigzag stitch.
** TIP: Start your seams at approximately 3 mm from the edge of the fabric to prevent the fabric from sinking into the needle throat plate.

For stretch-proof seams, use all-purpose thread for the needle and textured thread for the bobbin.

EDGE-FINISH: with an overlocker (serger) machine, serge cutting away the excess of seam allowances. With a standard machine, stitch next to the first stitching with a zigzag and cut away the excess of seam allowances close to the second stitching OR use an overcasting foot.

Begin by stitch the BACK pieces to the center, ie where you added the seam allowance. EDGE-FINISH the seam allowances and press to one side. Then, follow the steps mentioned below as is from STEP 04.

Stitch together the right and left upper panels at the seam no. 1, matching up ➊ and ➋. EDGE-FINISH the seam allowances and press to one side. ** Remember, do not iron your knits at high temperatures!

Stitch the lower panel to the upper panels at the seam no. 2, matching up ➌ and ➍. EDGE-FINISH the seam allowances and press to the bottom.

Stitch the upper panels together at the shoulders, EDGE-FINISH the seam allowances and press to the back.

Hem the bottom of the sleeves by folding the edges to WRONG SIDE at 20 mm (¾"). Stitch down with a double needle or a zigzag stitch. Press. ** Here, I recommend to baste the folded edge at about 15 mm from the fold before stitching it down. The knit being rather soft, the folded part was more difficult to keep in place. Also, be sure to stitch down the hems on the right side of the garment.

Stitch the top of the sleeves to the garment, EDGE-FINISH the seam allowances and press to the neckline.

Stitch the front and back of the garment at the underarm and side seams. EDGE-FINISH the seam allowances and press to the back. ** While doing so, be sure to match the stitches on the sleeve hems to create a continuous line on each side of the under armseam. I also strongly advise you to first baste these seams to check the fit of the dress. If necessary, sew with a larger seam allowance where you want to take off any excess.

To strengthen the underarm seams add a bar tack in the sleeve hem. To do so, choose a zigzag triple stitch, set to maximum width, and lower the feed dogs on your machine (or cover them with a darning plate). Then, place the sleeve to align the presser foot
opening over the underarm seam allowances, near the edge of the hem. Pull down the presser foot and press the pedal slowly to produce three horizontal stitches. Release the pedal once the movement is repeated at least twice.

Stitch the short sides of the neckline band together, trim the seam allowances to half and press open. Fold the band lengthwise, WRONG SIDES TOGETHER, to align the raw edges. Press.

Stitch the band to RIGHT SIDE on the neckline edge by matching up the centres and shoulders. To do so, be sure to stretch the band. EDGE-FINISH the seam
allowances and press the neckline..
** Note that my neckline is very wavy because my neck band was too short. I corrected this problem by lengthening the pattern. Then I stitched over the neck seam allowances using a regular straight stitch. I find this stitch practical, however, I do not advise you to do so if using only the all-purpose because because it won't  provide enough elasticity.

Hem the bottom of the garment by folding in the edge to WRONG SIDE at 20 mm (¾"). Stitch down with a double needle or a zigzag stitch. Press. ** Here I basted the folded edge at about 15 mm from the fold before stitching with the double needle. I found this step easier that way. Note that it is also very easy to unravel a point made with the double needle so to prevent points from unraveling when stretched, be sure to overlap the hem stitches by at least 3 cm at the beginning and the end of it.

I hope you like this sewalong! Do not hesitate to ask any questions in the comment section below. Show us your work on social media using the hashtag #DR309!