Introduction: Satin Bow Dress

About: I am a designer!
Smart and fitted. Choose complimenting or contrasting colours depending on your mood! Here I have used a deep shimmery blue with a gold/yellow ribbon. You will need the close fitting dress block. I recommend using Winifred Aldrich’s Pattern Cutting for Women’s Wear or Ann Haggar’s Pattern Cutting for Lingerie, Beachwear and Leisurewear to make the blocks.  Make a toile up first and alter the pattern as necessary to give the best fit.

You will need:
1.1 metre of medium weight satin fabric
2.tailors tacking thread
3.suitable machine and hand sewing needle (ballpoints)
4.matching thread
5.overlocker (if you do not have one you can overcast the edges or finish them with zigzag stitch).
6.sewing machine
7.close fitting dress block pattern
8.hook and eye
9.concealed zip approx. 18 inches in length
12. steam iron
13. seam roll
14. measuring tape
15. ruler
16. pins
17. fabric shears
18. paper scissors
19. felt pen

Step 1: Draft the Pattern

Begin by drawing around the basic close fitting dress block. Add 4cm for a hem allowance and lower the neckline 10cm at the back and 3cm at the front.

Create front and back facings by drawing around the front neckline on each pieces up to the dart line, then move the pattern piece so that the dart becomes closed and continue to draw around. This gives the shape minus the dart.

Lay the pattern on the fabric, placing the CB and CF on the fabric fold. Transpose the darts to the fabric using tailor’s tacks. Cut.

Step 2:

Pin the darts in place and stitch. Press over a tailor’s ham.

Visit for information on constructing a dart.

Step 3: Finish Seam Allowances

Overlock the side and hem seam allowances and the lower edge of the facings. Alternatively use overcasting or zigzag stitch. You could also use a finishing such as a mock French seam after stitching the side seams together.

Step 4: Pin and Stitch the Facings

Pin the facings into place on the neckline and armscye of the front and back pieces. Keep the shoulder seams and side seams free, theres no need to stitch these at this point

Step 5:

Grade the seam allowance on the seams you have just stitched. Grade the facing seam allowance shorter as opposed to the main garment seam allowance. This enables the seam to lie flatter and look smoother.

Step 6: Clip the Seam Allowances

Allow the curves to shape well without puckering the outer appearance by clipping the seams at regular intervals.

Step 7: Fold and Press Facings

Turn the facings over and hand roll the seams out and press. Use a clapper to make the edges crisp.

Step 8: Pin and Stitch a Side Seam

Stitch only the seam that will not have the zip.

Pin and stitch, but do not include the facing seam allowance in the seam. This will be folded over and stitched later on.

Press the seam over the seam roll and use a clapper.

Step 9: Shoulders

Tuck the shoulder seam allowance of the front garment under and insert the seam allowance of the back into it. Pin and use fell stitch to secure on both sides. Work right side and wrong side separately.

Step 10: Waistband

Find the waistline on the garment and measure half the width of the ribbon down and mark with pins. Pin the ribbon in place around the garment starting and ending at the zip opening.

Measure form the hem to the bottom of the ribbon and ensure it is correct all the way round. Use diagonal basting to secure into place temporally.

Step 11: Create Bow

Take a length of ribbon (approx. 1m) and fold as shown.

I found the centre of the ribbon, folded a length in half, then folded a shorter length in half on top, then took the remainder back at an angle so the tail would hang to one side (allowing for the centre piece to later be inserted). Repeat on other side.

Take a small piece of ribbon and wrap around the centre to cover the folds.

Pin and then baste into place.

Step 12: Attach Bow to Band

Find the centre back of the garment and pin the bow into place.

Step 13: Zip

Un zip the concealed zip and press to open the teeth and get it to lay flat with a warm iron.

This will make it easier to insert it and allow the stitched to be close to the teeth so less of the zip tape is revealed right side.

Step 14: Pin and Stitch the Zip

Pin and stitch the zip into place, allow the top tags to jut out a little further than the top allowance. Do not include the facing in the seam.

Once complete, zip it up and pin the rest of the side seam. Stitch from the bottom of the zip seam to the hem. Press and use the clapper.

Step 15: Facing Side Seams

Notch the seam allowances where they join with the facings on the first stitched side seam.

Turn back the seam allowance on the front facing and lay on top of the back side seam facing allowance. Pin and use fell stitch to secure. Repeat this process for front and back facing seam allowance on the zip side. Fell stitch to the zip tape.

Step 16: Finish Waistband and Bow

Fell stitch the waistband ribbon and bow into place using a complimentary thread.

When stitching the bow, catch all layers of ribbon expect the top when going along, to enable it to look soft.

Fell stitch around the centre ribbon piece.

Snip angles or forks to the desired length on the bow tails and finish with a fray stopping fluid.

Step 17: Hem

Notch the side seam allowance within the hem allowance.

Fold and use catch stitch to secure. Press and use the clapper.