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First of all, the dress is for me to wear but the wedding ain’t mine! I was going through my fabric stash looking for something to inspire a new project and I came across a beautiful sunny yellow Egyptian cotton.. doona cover! It was perfect. Immediately I thought something with a big skirt would be the most fitting sort of dress to show off that fabulous fabric. Anyway had a quick look through my patterns and came across a couple that could easily be combined: the shirt-style top of a 60s pattern and the big skirt from a late 40s/early 50s one. I loved that the sleeves have sexy gussets and the skirt comes with pockets. So right!

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When making the gussets for the sleeves, I was very grateful to have my trusty tailor’s ham on hand. It’s a fiddly little section that does require some care and attention, as well as careful pressing. So here are a few process shots as well as a finished gusset. You’ll notice there is excess fabric, which I’ll cut later.

Oh and another tip: when garments have lots of darts and stuff that needs pinning, sewing and pressing; where possible do the jobs in bulk: pin all the darts/sections that need pinning, then sew them all and then press. This saves lots of time.

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Now onto the how-to: bound finish for a facing edge:

The pattern I’m using for the bodice instructed me to turn the raw edge under 1/4″ to finish the edge – BORING! And also, in my opinion, that never looks very nice. Specifically because there’s a curved edge around the back facing part. What a terrible idea! Anyway, instead I decided to enclose the edge in a piece of bias binding and it looks fabulous.

First I pinned the bias binding to the raw edge on the ‘wrong’ or inner side of the facing pieces and stitched in the groove of the bias binding.

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Then I carefully clipped around the curved areas, each snip being about 1.5-2cm apart.

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Next, I cut the excess off the seam, leaving about 3mm. This is really helpful for the next step.

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Because the excess was cut off, it was really easy to fold over the remaining edge of the bias tape without getting lumps of fabric inside. And the pins stayed in place.

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I then sewed close to the edge.

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The final step is to give your beautifully bound edge a good press and voila! Here’s the finished product alongside the original instructions:

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Stay tuned for updates on this lovely garment!

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