Recently, I have been making stretchy shift dresses. A lot of them. At some point I realised I needed heavier fabrics, in part because the weather is getting colder, and in part because: undergarment-lines!
But heavy stretchy fabrics are impossibly hard to find. So I settled on a double-layer dress.
As I pondered making it, it occurred to me that if I am making two layers, and my dress is of incredibly simple construction, then I should be able to make it reversible!!
Except I wasn’t sure.
When I googled reversible dress, I found nothing useful. Maybe everyone knows how to do this? Maybe it’s impossible? Or maybe nobody has thought that a shift dress made of simple jersey is something you’d want a two-layered two-in-one of!
So I had to make a prototype. Naturally, the articulated mattel doll came out.
My pattern making was rudimentary. (In fact I did not leave enough room for her head!)
And it was easy to cut four layers of fabric in one shot. It was a barbie-sized proof-of-concept!
This is where the secret is. The order of the seams!!! I did them by hand because the dress was so tiny.
First, good-side-to-good-side of the front pieces (one of each colour).
Stitch the neck and arm openings.
Do the same to the good-side-to-good side of the back pieces.
Then stitch the side seams of a colour’s front and back pieces, good-side-to-good side. And then do it for the other colour too.
You end up with a silly-looking tube.
If you wiggle the tube at the shoulder seams, you can also stitch those down (good-side-to-good-side of each colour). It gets a bit tight, but not too much.
Then you’re ready to flip the dress like a sock!
And there we go. A double-sided dress.
Shame she didn’t fit in it. But it’s ok. Because in exactly that way (plus several dozen pins) I made me a life-size one!!
The only difference: my front and back pieces are a different shape. So I made myself two pattern pieces of the full front and full back, and cut two fabrics (one of each colour) from each pattern piece.
I pinned EVERYTHING like a madwoman. Thin jersey dances around like a jitterbug if given half a chance. It’s thin, slippery and stretchy!
I did all of my pinning of the arm and neck openings first.
Then stitched them veeeeeery carefully, progressively pulling out the pins. Notice I set the pins perpendicular to the seam line, in case I needed to sew over them.
Then I also stitched the long side-seams and shoulder…. Which I completely forgot to photograph!
After the dress was flipped, I had to puzzle out the hem. The one thing I could not be bothered to check on the doll!
Firstly, I let it hang for a few days. ALWAYS do this before hemming to allow the fabric to take its preferred position with respect to gravity.
I have seen dresses retailing at £500 whose creators forgot to do that, and whose hems were crooked by the time I tried them on!!!
After it had rested sufficiently, I pinned it, folding excess fabric inwards and creating a folded flat seam.
I then let it hang a bit longer.
Eventually, I took it down and stitched the hem down with one neat zig-zag seam. I used black overlocking thread which is incredibly thin, so my stitch is near-invisible.
I wore it last night to work and then out for the evening! But I don’t have any photos. There will be some later!!
I am currently working on a lined dress with pockets using the same pattern and principle! Except the “lining” is very thin, and therefore I will never reverse the dress.