April 18, 2012

Ric a Rac Dress: assembly

I've torn myself away from rereading the Hunger Games long enough to finally finish this tutorial...

Now that you have your pattern, here are the construction instructions.

*all seam allowances are 1/2"

1. To make the front panel, baste 1/4" on both long sides, then iron over along this line and remove the thread. Measure ric rac long enough to go the length of both sides of your panel. Sew the ric rac onto the very edge of the panel using thread that matches the ric rac so that it will be invisible when you are finished.

2. Place the front panel on top of the front skirt piece, exactly centered. Determine how far down from the seam connecting the skirt to the front bodice you want your front panel to end. I left about 3" from the seam to where I stopped sewing the panel to my skirt piece. Pin and then sew the the front panel to your front skirt.

3. Sew the front bodice piece to the front skirt piece. Sew the 2 back bodice pieces to the 2 back skirt pieces. Iron the seams open. ( I mistakenly took this picture before I had sewn the front panel to my skirt front- you should attache the front panel before sewing the skirt front to the bodice front)

4. Sew the front piece to the 2 back pieces along the shoulder seams. Iron all of the seams open.

5. Fold each sleeve piece in half and mark about 1.5" on either side. Baste 1/4" between the pin marks.

6. Measure 1.5" into the armholes and mark with pins. Pin the edes of the sleeves where the pins are marked, then pin the center fold of the sleeve to the shoulder seam of the bodice. Use the baste stitch to gather the sleeve so that it fits nicely to the arm hole. Pin in place then sew with a 1/2" seam allowance.

7. Pin the sleeve to the bodice to keep it out of your way while you are stitching the dress to its lining. With a 1/2" seam allowance, sew along the neck line all the way down the center back and along the arm holes. Then clip the corners and snip notches into the curved lines. Turn the dress right side out.

8. Now match up the seams in the bottom of the arm hole, rigth sides facing, and stitch. Clip along the curced lines of the arm hole and turn right side out again.
9. Now you are ready to finish your front panel. Pull the unatacched part of the panel up to determine the middle, then align this with the middle of the unattached skirt piece. Gather the rest of the center of the front panel so that it lies flat. Stitch in the center of the gathering with coordinating thread so the stitching is invisible. Now spread out the bow so that it looks like you want it to. Tac the corners down and add buttons accordign to your desire.

10. To begin finishing the back, make sure that the piece is completely flat and iron the back so that the angles are straight. Now measure 1.5" away from the edge and cut a piece of ric rac long enough to go the length of the back and fold over the top edge a bit. After cutting the ric rac, use a flame to seal the edge to prevent fraying. Sew the ric rac along the back edge 1.5" away from the edge. Then trim the bottom edge of the dress so its a continual curve. Measure ric rac long enough to go between the back ric rac and the front panel ric rac making sure it will be able to tuck under both edges. Heat seal those pieces and sew them along the bottom edge, about 1-1.5" away from the edge. Pin the back closed, overlapping one side over the other about 1.5".

11. Now you can add the band. Sew 2 band pieces together along the shortest edge, repeat. Now match up the seams and sew the strips together along the long line. Match this seam up with one side seam on your dress. Pin the band to the dress starting at the matched up seams and moving toward the other side seam on  your dress. Once you are close enough, sew the band together on the other side so it will line up perfectly with the dress's side seam. Stitch the band do your dress using the bottom side of the dress as a guide, sewing along the same line that you stitched the ric rac on. Finish the bottom edge of the band (serge or zig zag) and fold it up so the long seam of the band is now the bottom line and either stitch in the ditch to attach the band to the inside of the dress or sew by hand, tacking it on the inside so it is invisible from the outside.

12. The final step is to install your buttons and button holes. FI you are not comfortable with making button holes, another option would be to use velcro on the inside and then attach buttons on the outside to get a similar look.

And there you have it. My first tutorial. Hopefully you can understand it, and if you have any questions, leave a comment and I'll try to answer it as best I can. Good Luck!


  1. I love all the pictures! Even a sewing-phobic like me could follow the directions. One day, sewing machine, I will master you.

  2. 1. You're amazing.

    2. The dress is amazing.

    3. I love the Hunger Games and was so sad when I finished them.

    4. After my Hunger Games hangover I read The Uglies series and highly recommend it.

    5. That is all.