How To: Tiered Dress With Exposed Ruffles and Keyhole Back
I've done many a tiered ruffle dress in my time. Many of them with exposed ruffles. But never a tutorial. So here it is. Enjoy.
I. First I cut my top pieces + identical pieces for the top lining. These measurements get you a loose style dress that fits EU36/US4-EU40-US8. I don't know what my new FTP uploader did to this image, but it messed up the text somehow.. Anyway the numbers are cm.
.. And then sewed all around, at the back creating the keyhole by sewing down in a narrow V at the middle, over the elastic sandwiched in between. If you look closely you see how the elastic hoops end up being just next to the stitch..
.. So when you turn the project right side out & press, the hoops are nicely at the top of the keyhole.
To finish the neckline, I sewed on my buttons & topstitched all around right next to the edge. There was no functional reason to have 2 buttons instead of 1, I just thought it would look nice.
The next thing I did was to finish the arm holes using the burrito method. I explain that in more detail here, or if you prefer a video, this is a good one.
So I had the top done. To start constructing the tiered hem, I first measured the width of my finished top, which was 55 cm (so a total hem circumference of 110 cm).
- I normally get lazy and use a matching thread with my fabric, and don't remove the basting stitch later.. But this time I figured I'd do it right for once, and used a contrasting thread.
- For when I need to gather a really long distance of fabric, I like to do the stitch in parts - in this case, I sewed 2 stitches, from side seam to side seam.
- To get a nice headstart on the gathering, when sewing your basting stitch put your machine tension as high as it will go. This way the fabric will already gather a good amount as you sew, and you just need to gather further by pulling the bobbin thread, to get the ruffle to match the width of the top as you see in the image below.
- Since in this technique the basting stitch goes through two layers of fabric, you'll feel more friction when pulling on the bobbin thread when gathering the fabric. To make this significantly easier, make sure you press the gathered area with a lot of steam after sewing, before starting to pull on the bobbin thread. This step makes the fabric slide on the thread way better.
.. Then I sewed all around, below the basting stitch.
So on the reverse you'll have this:
Last step was to hem the dress with a double fold.