One of my goals while living here in France was to sew lots of French patterns. There are loads of lovely French pattern companies and I have slowly created a small collection of fun patterns. The trick is, they are in French. And like in any language, genera language is different from main stream so this presented some interesting challenges. Just yesterday I was trying to google translate a part of a new French pattern and part of it literally mentioned a “steering wheel” and “shoot the son”. Needless to say I was confused. I thought it would be fun to share some tutorials now and then for French sewing patterns. That way if there is one you love you don’t have to try and google translate your way through it. One of my favorite French patterns as of late is the Roma Dress from C’est Dimanche.
So far I have made three of them with two more already cut out.
^^^^Another tea towel dress. I am telling you the tea towels here are amazing^^^
It actually sews up super fast ONCE you know how to do it. The first time it took me FOREVER and a lot of help from a friend who was visiting (thanks again Dasha)!
For the life of us we could not figure out how to sew the neckline.
And that is what MAKES this dress.
After making two and feeling like I finally got it down pat I decided to photography the steps just in case there is anyone out there who loves this dress but was (understandably) intimidated by the French instructions.
To make the dress you would still need to purchase the pattern HERE from C’est Dimanche, but after the jump you can find a step by step
Cut out all your pieces. Not seen are your buttons and your piping, and optionally (I didn’t use them on two) small circles of medium stiffness interfacing.
Take your front main piece and one of your front side pieces. The pattern calls for a small circle of interfacing to be attached to the inside corner of your front side pieces. Right where it begins to round. You are supposed to trim a little pie section from the circle so that it matches up perfectly with the fabric piece. This is meant to give it more strength and stability. I did this on Chloe’s dress but I didn’t on any of the others. It does make a little bit of a crisper edge but not enough for me to run to the store and buy more interfacing. So if you don’t have any on hand don’t stress and skip that step.
Turn your fabric pieces so that they are right sides together. Line up your “ears” (for lack of a better term). Now you are going to sandwich your piping in between these two layers. Making sure that the raw edges of all three layers line up.
Stitch from top to bottom, making sure to keep the piping in between the layers. Turn Everything right side out. Now press your ear down so that it is at an angle and the top arch lines up with the neck arch.
If you flip it over the back should look like this:
Repeat this process on the other side. Once pressed your front should now look like this:
Your should be able to open and close your “flaps” at this point:
Now it is just like any other button back bodice! Line up your side back at the shoulder. Stitch across the shoulder then repeat on other side.
Repeat this exact same step with your lining pieces, being sure to have right sides together.
Once you have the shoulders sewn, pin your front flaps in place so that they don’t shift during sewing. Lay your two pieces right sides together, lining up all edges. Pin all the way around the neckline and both armcsyes. Stitch around neckline and both armcyses. Once done turn everything right side out and press. (Your side seams should be open at this time)
Now you need to finish your side seams. Once you have done this once it is super easy but it can be a little confusing the first time. What you want to do is open up your front side seam and your back side seam and line the two of them up so that right sides are facing each other. For example in mine the orange front side would be lined up with the front orange back.
Once you have it pinned stitch in place, open up and press. Voila! Nice finished sides! At this point you will need to make a button placket. I did NOT include pictures of this because there are WAY better tutorials then I would do on other blogs and great videos on youtube. Once you have made your placket gather up your skirt bottom until it is the same circumference as your bodice waist.
You can now either iron under both the main and lining waist edges to make them nice and finished and then topstitch the bottom in between them OR you can do as I do and “fold” your bodice in half so that at the waist line the right side of the bodice main and the right side of the bodice lining match up. This will create a little “tube”. I then slide my dress bottom in between these two layers being sure the right side of my dress bottom is facing the right side of the bodice. I then line up the waists of all three layers and sew across. It looks a little strange and can be a bit cumbersome but once you are done you just pull everything right side out and you have a perfectly finished wast with no topstitching.
Finish up your back seam and hem and that is it! There is also a belt included and I made this for two of the dresses but of course could only find one come photo shoot time. The dimension for it are listed in the pattern.
Hopefully this helps someone because heaven knows that first night Dasha and I were pulling our hair out trying to figure it out. Which of course now that I look at it, it is very simple but I promise you when someone doesn’t walk you through it, it can be pretty darn frustrating ha!