October 5, 2018

DIY: Button Through Midi Dress

Hi guys, I'm back again! It's been awhile since I updated the blog, this time I'm back with another DIY tutorial. The last tutorial I documented was hologram pouches and you can find it here. It's relatively simple compared to what I'm going to share in this post, I would say this button through midi dress is not the easiest project, it took me almost half a day to sew and another half a day to draft patterns and cut the fabric pieces. But if you have sewn basic dresses before, you would definitely want to give this a try, it's such a classic piece!


2 metres of fabric (I used polyester with a little mix of elastane, but you can also use cotton and linen)
Buttons (I used a total of 10 buttons but the number may vary, depending on the length of your dress)
Matching thread
Dressmaker pins
Domestic sewing machine (for buttonholes)
Sewing needle
Thread clipper
Seam ripper
Fabric scissors

Optional materials:
1 metre of light weight woven interfacing for front button plackets (I added interfacing to mine as it's a knit fabric and I want to keep it from stretching out of place and also to strengthen the fabric as that's where the buttonholes are going to be sewn. You may need to remove the seam allowances if your chosen interfacing is too thick, I didn't for mine is light weight)
1.5 metres of lining fabric (You can exclude it if your fabric is not see-through and is comfortable enough. I lined the dress so it hangs better and lasts longer.)
If you're not lining your dress, you might want to overlock your seam allowances or you can use zigzag stitching to prevent the edges from fraying.


Here are the measurements for my pattern pieces, two methods to achieve the patterns:

  1. Sew the inverted box pleats for the front and back bottoms
  2. Mark your pocket opening and make sure you have enough space for your hand to slip in
  3. On the right side of the fabric for the pocket bags, sew 1cm below the mark and 0.5cm from the edge all around.
  4. Turn the fabric out, iron press the edges, pin to secure before sewing 0.7cm from the edge all around. This is the french seam method to avoid raw edges, alternatively you can use the zigzag stitch (mentioned above) or overlock method. 
  5. Attach the pockets to the side seams of dress bottom (You can also attach the individual pocket pieces to the side seams before sewing the bag. There are several ways to sew in-seam pockets but this method of installing french seam pockets is the easiest for me.) Do it for both sides.
  6. Sew the top pieces, starting with the princess seams on the front then on the back. 
  7. Attach the two sides of the top and press open your seams. 
  8. Fold the top and bottom of your shoulder strap pieces into the centre, pin the strap in place and sew 2mm from the edges all around. You can also use the piping cord method or tube turner to turn the strap out for a cleaner look.
  9. Measure your shoulder strap from front to back, add 1cm allowance on each side and snip the rest off. 
  10. Sew the straps in place
  11. Finish the top edges with facing so it's much cleaner, you can trace the facing pieces off the front and back patterns with a height of 7cm (2cm seam allowance included)
  12. Start with the princess seams for the facing front & back before connecting the side seams
  13. Understitch the facing to the seam allowance to keep the facing firmly on the inside
  14. Open the facing out and make sure the seam allowance is underneath the facing 
  15. Edge stitch 2mm from the seam you've already sewn
  16. Sew lining pieces at this stage if you have
  17. Finish the hem by turning up 3cm from the edge and tuck 1cm raw edge into the hem
  18. Attach the front button placket by placing the strip along the front seam of the top and sew along the entire length, make sure the right side of the placket faces the wrong side of bodice
  19. Fold the placket over and tuck the seam allowances inside the placket
  20. Top stitch the placket down and top stitch the other side of the placket at 3mm from edge
  21. Mark the placement of the buttonholes with a tailor's chalk. My first buttonhole is 1cm from top edge and 6cm apart for the subsequent buttonholes. Buttonholes are on the right back opening and buttons are sewn on left back opening. 
  22. Use a domestic machine for the buttonholes, set the stitch length and start sewing. Continue the same process for the rest of the buttonholes
  23. Place the right back opening over the left and use a chalk pencil to put through buttonholes  mark buttons' positions.
  24. Use a seam ripper or thread clipper to cut open the buttonholes.
  25. Attach all the buttons by hand-sewing them and the dress is completed!

I'll also be working on easy sewing tutorials for beginners in the next few months so everyone can try their hand at sewing. If you're trying out this tutorial, let me know in the comments below or share your photos with me, I'd love to see them! (:

Video footage by Jessalynne
Photography by Jason



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