Empire Waist Dress.. - The wide eyed world of beautiful Blythe — LiveJournal
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Empire Waist Dress..

it seems I'm not the only one that's had troubles trying to figure out how to put this pattern together!?
This is a tutorial on how I put it together. Not neccesarily how it's supposed to go together!

Dress is sewn from this pattern: http://www.puchicollective.com/sewing-patterns/blythe-empire-dress/
I'm not saying the directions are bad! I'm just saying that I don't entirely understand them! =P

please try to look past the bad light! It's the camera! It's new and I've yet to figure out the tricks of all of the settings! And they're going to be BIG as lj is pixelating them! =E

First I cut out my pattern. Skirt on fold and TWO tops (1 for lining) on fold, reversing one
Both tops shown here are cut from the same fabric but I will often use satin if I have it in a coordinating color.

I then turn over bottom hem (about 1/2") on skirt and stitch in an 1/8" from the edge. 
I sew right over those pins!

I sew gathering stitch on the widest stitch my machine will allow (next photo) and in an 1/8" from the edge.
Making sure to leave long gathering 'tails' on both sides to pull later.

I sew gathering stitches on 5 (widest stitch) and all other stitches on 3.

I place the 2 tops right sides together and pin neck and under arms.

I sew around the back, neck and underarms only. Then I clip all curves and turn right side out.

This next step is the most important step in sewing and it doesn't involve a stitch! I press the skirt hem and the top! This gives it the nice finished look. I know, it's a pain to get out the iron but it really makes a HUGE difference!

turn over shoulders and pin at waist. In this case inside/outside does not matter but if I use a different colored lining I would want it on the outside!

So what you're looking at here is the front of the dress but for now it is on the inside. 
The pins here are only for *control. I will be removing them and re-positioning them later!

this is the side I see during sewing. Pin this to gathered edge...

I pull in the skirt gathers making sure to not cut the tails yet!

I line the top up along the gathers with front on the inside for now.

I pin the ends first! leaving about 1/4" of skirt at each end. Adjust gathers so they are the same length as the top.. making sure to pull some gathers over to the side pieces. I ususally have to adjust again.. pulling some more in.

Here is the tricky part! I very carefully remove that 'control' pin and stick it back in after laying down the inner back side of dress at the waist.. place another pin in the other side right next to it! Quick!

So you're NOT left with the two pices pinned to each other but the two pieces pinned to the skirt right side-by-side. The gathers always come loose here (between the pins) and this is why it is important to keep the tails! in case I have to pull in the gathers again! It is also helpful to hold these pins tight when adjusting again for front of skirt/top. 

Do this ^^^ on the other side before you adjust gathers for the front of the skirt (the long part of the top that gets pinned to the skirt). Adjust gather again to make sure there are NO GAPS (between the pins) in the underarms. AND that there are gathers along front and side pieces of top!

Pin, pin, pin! and now it's ok to cut the tails off.

I sew the two pieces together with the skirt side up! This way I can see the gathering stitch and sew *just* below (toward skirt) it! Again, I sew over the pins! Sure some get bent but I've lots more! This is how I keep the pin companies in business!

Sometimes I have to pull on the skirt or use my seam ripper as a tool to get the gather under the foot just right (always make sure your needle is THROUGH the fabric or you might pull it out from under the foot) but don't ever sew over the seam ripper! it's too wide! You could splinter your machine needle and that's dangerous!

The top seam here is the old gathering stitch. 
the bottom seam is the one I just made. 
I remove the pins and trim (close, but not cutting either stitch!) from this side
Some people remove the gathering stitch but it is not neccesary as you will not see it if you sew *just below as described above! 
If you DO want to remove it (it's difficult!) do so before cutting your tails but AFTER pinning the two pieces together!

here is the front so far! Looks like octopus eyes! =E

pin skirt back right sides together. I stitch up from the bottom stopping about 1/2" before I reach the bodice. Back stitch to tack.

Yours should look like this.. I sew on one snap in the back..

and then there is this! =)
Maybe add some coordinating buttons! or a ribbon!

Here is Welsley in the new Empire Waist Dress! It's actually a nice sea foam green but I have to figure out the white balance in my new cam! =P


Current Mood: relieved relieved

taniadelrio From: taniadelrio Date: May 20th, 2007 07:19 pm (UTC) ()
Thanks for the wonderful photos! I too had difficulty with this pattern but your technique looks great and the photos are a HUGE help. I'm definitely going to try this one again!
ardentcurse From: ardentcurse Date: May 20th, 2007 10:50 pm (UTC) ()
DO! do! it's really easy! I made this dress from cutting to uploading all of the pics I took in between in an hr! It's super cute too! esp if you add those itty bitty buttons! =)
You can also shorten the skirt for a baby-doll style shirt! ;)
I've made LOTS!
From: boodzoo Date: May 20th, 2007 07:27 pm (UTC) ()
This is such a cute dress! Thank you for putting together such detailed instructions.

Your dolly is cute ... I love how you did her hair! :)
ardentcurse From: ardentcurse Date: May 20th, 2007 10:48 pm (UTC) ()
Now you can try sewing! ;D
This dress really is very easy to make!
I put her hair in pony tails then braided 5 small plaits on each side, TIED them all once and pinned them in the back.. it doesn't look so good back there! ;P
sally_61 From: sally_61 Date: May 20th, 2007 08:41 pm (UTC) ()
Hi! Thanks for your great tutorial,the photos are a great help! Now ive got no excuse not to make a perfect dress ;)
ardentcurse From: ardentcurse Date: May 20th, 2007 10:45 pm (UTC) ()
These dresses become easy as pie after you make .. oh.. about 30 of them! =P
I did this from cutting to uploading in about an hr! The post took me half that long! ;)
lounginglinda From: lounginglinda Date: May 20th, 2007 09:13 pm (UTC) ()
it seems to me you followed the instructions as they were described? I'm then, not sure what you mean by saying that they were difficult to understand?

It's always great to see visual tutorials, and i wholeheartedly agree, ALWAYS press seams, it gives a much neater finish.
ardentcurse From: ardentcurse Date: May 20th, 2007 10:43 pm (UTC) ()
well.. if I am, then great! =)
but it doesn't seem like it to me.. I actually came up with this on my own.
primmadollies From: primmadollies Date: May 21st, 2007 04:40 pm (UTC) ()
yep, that's exactly right. you should post a link to this on the comments of the puchi pattern. we love community additions!
ardentcurse From: ardentcurse Date: May 21st, 2007 06:50 pm (UTC) ()
it is!!!!??? are you sure!? I'm so excited! must just be me that I don't understand the directions! =P
I will post the link! Hope it helps other of the directionally challenged persuasion!

sunbright From: sunbright Date: November 6th, 2007 08:24 pm (UTC) ()
This is such useful info!! I couldn't understand a bit until now!
ardentcurse From: ardentcurse Date: November 7th, 2007 05:49 am (UTC) ()
OH GOOD! I hope it helped!
I also just took a TON of photos for a tutorial on the Skipper Vintage All Spruced Up dress! I have not had time to post them yet though! OR fix the bad photo in this one! =E
rizusan From: rizusan Date: June 25th, 2008 10:52 pm (UTC) ()
Oooh, I wish I had this when I tried the empire dress the first time. So have you made one with pockets? I tried and the pockets came out all crooked XD. Next time I try one, I am using your method (except for my machine doesn't like sewing over pins, so I remove them as they get close to the needle.)
ardentcurse From: ardentcurse Date: June 26th, 2008 04:39 pm (UTC) ()
HI! =)
it is always a good plan to remove the pins but I just sew over them anyway! ;P
I ahve sewn on pockets a few times and they do come out crooked A LOT! XD The trick I've learned is to sew them on the skirt portion AFTER you've sewn the top (bodice) of the dress and skirt together! This way you can line them up with the center of the top!
merrycalliope From: merrycalliope Date: December 4th, 2008 11:44 pm (UTC) ()
Nice tutorial!

This is probably more advance but I wouldn't sew the skirt to both layers of the bodice at once. Instead, I'd press up the seam allowance of the lining and sew the skirt to the outside layer. Press upwards and then carefully handstitch the lining to the skirt. This way you've hidden the seam allowance of the skirt and bodice making for a much more finished look.
ardentcurse From: ardentcurse Date: December 4th, 2008 11:56 pm (UTC) ()
I've made and sold this dress about a thousand times! ;) It turns out just fine!

Thanks for telling how you'd do it though.
merrycalliope From: merrycalliope Date: December 5th, 2008 12:04 am (UTC) ()
^_^; Admittedly, I'm super finicky. I'd probably use hemtape and do a blind hem for the skirt as well. Just little details a buyer would never notice or appreciate...which is why I pretty much only make doll clothing for myself. I can get as finicky as I like if it's just for me. ^_^;;;
phaedraduchess From: phaedraduchess Date: June 1st, 2009 02:10 pm (UTC) ()
I am so glad I found this! Thank you so much for making a tute. I had a friend show me how to make the dress back in March and yesterday I got around to making one on my own and couldn't for the life of me remember how, and the directions that are with the dress just aren't clear enough.
ardentcurse From: ardentcurse Date: June 1st, 2009 09:22 pm (UTC) ()
I am so happy that you've found this useful! =)
& that I've left it up for so long! ;)
I'd love to see photos of your dress! do you use flickr or have an etsy account?
ardentcurse From: ardentcurse Date: June 2nd, 2009 05:33 pm (UTC) ()
sweet! I added you! ;)
sshigley From: sshigley Date: November 6th, 2014 08:44 pm (UTC) ()

Empire Dress Pattern

Do you have a copy of this pattern? Every time I go to the link the site is down for maintenance. I love this little pattern b/c it fits my toys perfectly.

Hope you can help and give me another link!


Beth Kohl From: Beth Kohl Date: April 2nd, 2012 01:56 pm (UTC) ()
Want to thank you for creating this post and continuing to keep it up! I can't sew worth a lick, but do have a machine. After reading this and viewing your pictures and instructions, I'm going to try to sew this. You've given me courage. :) Thank you SO much!
Sue Bishop From: Sue Bishop Date: May 11th, 2013 10:43 pm (UTC) ()
Thank you very much for the photo help. I have also started a pattern that is very similar to this and it has helped tremendously. I hope to make lots of these cute little dresses with great embellishments! I may even sell sell sell some. :)
sshigley From: sshigley Date: March 20th, 2014 02:07 am (UTC) ()
Thank you SO much! I found this pattern and wanted to sew it for my little knitted mouse but had no idea how. I never have sewn a dress before esp not a tiny one. I was completely thrown by the bodice (I did have the skirt figured out, though, lol). Now, thanks to your wonderful tutorial I have a gorgeous little dress that fits Little Mouse perfectly.

You are AWESOME to share!