Dewdrop Series – Making a Ivory Dress, Part Two

This is the second post in my Dewdrop series, last week I posted about how I made the bodice, and if you haven’t read it yet I would suggest you do so! This post will be all about the skirt.

The skirt shape for this project was pretty simple to cut out, since it’s three massive rectangles. After cutting them out I sewed them together and pressed the seams open. Once that was done I had a fifty eight inch by two hundred and twenty inch rectangle, I wasn’t kidding when I said massive!

I pinned it loosely on my dress form – at this point it doesn’t look like much.


My first step in making this resemble a functional skirt was hemming it. I’ve been asked a lot about hemming things recently so here is how I do it;

I start by figuring out the hem length I want, in this case it was three inches. Then I use a ruler to mark this out on the wrong side of fabric. It’s important to use a marking pen or pencil that won’t show through the fabric, since it may be visible later on.



I fold the edge of the material up until it’s flat against this line, then pin it in place. It’s important to place the pins in vertically.

DSC_6868I also tend to go through and use pinking shears to finish off that edge. Even though you won’t see this edge, it will help prevent the material from fraying or unraveling. If you are feeling super fancy you can serge this.


Once that’s done I roll the material over at the line I marked earlier. This way the raw edge is completely hidden and the whole thing looks really sharp. When you measure it is should equal half of your hem allowance, which in this case was one and a half inches.

Now you see why it was important to place the pins vertical to the fabric edge – this way they stick out and are easy to remove. When they go horizontally after the material is folded you can’t see them and they can be forgotten. Then after everything gets sewn they’ll be stuck!


Once it’s all pinned it becomes a giant prickly mass.


I use a cross stitch, or sometimes a whip stitch so the end result is is nearly invisible from the outside.

It took me a little over two hours to hem by hand, and the finished result looks like this.

(outside, not ironed)


(Inside, also not ironed)


Once that was done I pinned it onto my dress form again, and it already looked better!


But there was still a lot left to do. The next step was cartridge pleating, or more specifically, prepping for the pleats. Since the fabric i’m using is really really thin I needed to bulk it up a bit so the pleats will have more volume.

I did this by cutting out strips of thin quilt batting which would be sewn into the waist. I also cut one inch strips of my damask material to use as bias tape.


Once all the strips were sewn together I used pen to mark two lines that were an inch apart, with tic marks every half inch. These are guidelines for the pleats.

I sewed the batting into the top of the dress, and finished the edge with the bias tape I made.


Fast forward six hours and a lot of frustration and bam, the whole thing was pleated. I changed my plans a little bit and added a large box pleat to the center instead of continuing the cartridge pleats all the way around.


Then I attached the skirt to the bodice.


I stuffed a petticoat under it and after a struggle I managed to get the thing on my dress form – it looks a little frumpy since it doesn’t fit my dress form very well at all.

Also I would like this dress to have a less of an A-line shape so i’ll be making a new petticoat for underneath it.

But you can get a good idea of what the finished product will look like!


Thanks for reading!

9 thoughts on “Dewdrop Series – Making a Ivory Dress, Part Two

  1. keystonejae says:

    i read everything you write and I am just amazed! you have a gret talent and i really enjoy reading how you do your craft!

  2. Julie says:

    It looks brilliant! I recently finished a dress quite similar to this and I only used those really fine gathers at the back panels and had box pleats for the rest too, it looks better!

    Will you be adding a zipper to the skirt or a modesty panel to the back of the bodice?

    Julie xx

    • Angela Clayton says:

      I like the cartridge pleats at the sides too – I think poofy hips look nice, but i’m not a big fan of having a poofy crotch so I’m glad I switched to a box pleat!

      The skirt doesn’t need a zipper since the bodice dips low enough. I added the modesty panel to the back tonight after doing up the back seam!

  3. Jessica says:

    Next time you need to do cartridge pleats you should use a strip of gingham on top of the batting as a guide. It saves a TON of time. You don’t have to measure and mark everything out. Half inch gingham is hard to find but quarter inch is super common and you can just double up. I sew a strip into the waistband and hand stitch them into place instead of pinning it. Much much faster and easier!

  4. Julie says:

    Jessica…that has just made me want to kick my self! I spent around an hour carefully measuring all the little dots for the cartridge pleats! I think you may be a genius! ❤

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