Fabric, 2.5m (150cm)Buttons, 15mm x 12Shirring elasticFusible interfacing, 25cm
Lightweight wovens with drape, such as viscose, rayon, poplin or cotton lawn
Front: cut twoBack: cut one on the foldSleeve: cut twoFront neck facing: cut two, and two from fusible interfacingBack neck facing: cut one on the fold, and one on the fold from fusible interfacing1.5cm seam allowance used throughout, unless otherwise stated.
Download the pattern from sewmag.co.uk, then print out and follow the cutting guide. With right sides together, pin the darts in the front dress pieces and stitch from the side seam to the point. Press the dart downwards. Cut two strips of fusible interfacing, 5cm wide with the same length as the centre front. Apply to the centre front, up to the foldline mark for facing. At the edge of the facing, turn under a narrow hem and sew. Press the centre front along the front facing foldline.
Pin and stitch the back and front dress pieces at the shoulder, right sides together. Trim the seam and neaten the edge. Press the seam towards the back of the dress, then press a 5mm turning around the hem edge of each sleeve. Turn under again to form a narrow hem, and press but do not stitch yet. With right sides together, pin the sleeves in position, matching the centre, back and front notches. Sew the sleeves in place, then trim and neaten the seam with zig zag stitch or an overlocker. Press the seam away from the sleeve.
Pin the front and back dress at the side seam from the hem edge to the sleeve edge, right sides together. Unfold the sleeve hem at the seam edge at this point. Stitch the side seam, then trim and neaten the seam edge. Press the seam towards the back. Refold the section of sleeve hem at the underarm, press again and stitch the sleeve hem. Apply fusible interfacing to the back and front neck facing. Pin both at the shoulder seam and sew. Press the seam open. Neaten the bottom curved edge of the facings using an overlocker, or by turning under a small hem.
Unfold the front facing band at the neck edge and turn it back on itself, right sides together. Pin the facing in place around the neck, right sides together, matching the centre back and shoulder seams, ensuring the front facing goes over the top of the folded back front band. Stitch the facing in place. Snip the curve at the back neck and trim the seam allowance. Understitch the facing around the neckline. Press the facing to the wrong side of the dress along the neck edge. Unfold the front band and put back in position. Trim any excess fabric and press the front band. Hand-stitch the band edge to the facing, and the facing at the shoulder seams.
Make 12 buttonholes, as marked along the front band, and secure buttons to match. Check that the shirring line is in the correct place for your waist. Mark the position of the top shirring line using a water-soluble fabric marker. Set up the machine for sewing with shirring elastic in the bobbin. Wind the shirring elastic on to the bobbin by hand so that it does not stretched. Select a long stitch, then test to make sure you are happy with the result.
Sew the first line of shirring from one front, around the back to the other front. You can use reverse stitch to secure the ends or leave the threads loose at the end of each row of stitching. Pull the top thread to the back and tie together securely. Each row of shirring should be approximately 1cm apart. You can use a machine foot and left-hand needle position to measure this distance as you sew the six rows of shirring in total. When all the rows of shirring are completed, hover a steam iron over the stitches without touching to set the rows.
Turn up the hem to the correct length for you and press. Turn the bottom of the front band back on itself and stitch along the hem line to the edge of the band. Trim any excess fabric and press the band back in position. Complete the hem by stitching with a machine or hand-stitch in place. Slip-stitch the front band to the hem with a few stitches.