*** Download the pattern and print from Adobe Acrobat... do not print directly from Dropbox as it will not print correctly ... also check to be sure the 1" box is the correct size on the first page of the pattern before cutting your fabric ***
Aline dresses are generally finished differently than a yoke bodice dress since there are no linings involved. With an aline dress, all edges including the neckline, the armscyes in a sleeveless version, and the hemline need to be finished. One method is to use a narrow bias binding, but that often results in a wavy edge. Personally, I prefer to face any exposed edges which results in a nice smooth finish. As an added bonus, if you are using a lightweight fabric, the facings help give the the dress a bit of structure.
The directions included here are for one of the most basic dresses you can make, a simple back closing aline dress without any embellishments. There are many, many ways to customize this dress, one of which I will share later this week :)
Preparing the Pattern:
1. Click on the link above to get your free Basic Aline Dress pattern pieces.
2. Print the pattern pieces being sure to select no scaling or the print actual size option. You can print just the first page to start and measure the 1" test box if you are unsure whether the pattern is going to print the correct size.
3. There are only two printed pattern pieces: the front and the back. But you will also need to cut out several facing pieces later in the sewing process.
4. The pattern pieces need to be assembled by matching the stars on pages 1-8. You will need to trim some of the pages to overlap the others. For reference, the size 18 months back piece should measure 16 3/4" along the fold line if the pattern is printed and assembled correctly.
Cutting your fabric:
This pattern uses approximately 2/3 of a yard for the size 2T. I did not measure for the other sizes, but none of them take more than 1 yd. The facings can be made from the same print or about 1/4 yd of a coordinating print. You will also need one button and 2" of elastic cording or 1/8" elastic.
5. Cut one front and one back piece, both on the fold. Make sure to iron a crease along the center line of the back piece.
6. Cut a 5" long x 3" wide piece of fabric for the back opening.
7. Now you need to cut the facings for the neck, armscyes and hem (optional). First you will need to use the pattern pieces to draw the cutting lines for the facings. To do this, draw lines 1 1/4" away from each of the three edges that require facings. I "borrowed" my daughter's compass to make sure the lines were a uniform distance from the edges, but you could also make small tick marks with a ruler and then draw a line connecting them. Make sure to make note of the grain line (parallel to the front and back center line) for the armscye facings. I labeled the three facings on the picture below:
8. Now use those lines for the facings to create new pattern pieces or just be lazy like me and cut them out one at a time and then tape the pattern back together after cutting each facing piece :)
9. Cut the front neck facing on the fold. Cut two of the back neck facings (mirror images) and add 1/2" to the center back of each one. I traced them in the picture below just for illustration purposes ... you can just cut them :)
10. Cut out two front and two back armscye facings, mirror images of each other, as shown in the picture below.
11. Cut the front and back hem facings on the fold. Sorry, no picture of this step :)
Sewing the Basic Aline:
All seam allowances are 3/8"
Clip all curves before turning right side out
Iron frequently - this isn't my favorite step, but it really does make a difference :)
12. Finish the bottom and sides of the rectangle needed for the back opening. Fold the rectangle in half long edges together and iron in a crease along the fold. Open the rectangle with the right side facing down. Make a mark 4" down from the top. Draw a line on either side of the crease at an angle as shown in the picture.
13. Pin the rectangle on the back of the dress, right sides together with the top edges and the center creases lined up.
14. Start on the top and sew down one side of the crease following the lines drawn in the previous step. When you get to the bottom, pivot the fabric with the needle raised and start sewing back up the other side stopping a couple of inches from the top.
15. Lift the edge of the rectangle on the side you haven't finished sewing yet and insert your 2" piece of elastic cording 1" from the top edge. Tuck it tightly up against the line sewn in the previous step. Continue sewing to the top edge. Make sure to back and forth over the elastic cording a couple of times to keep it in place.
16. This is what the cording should look like at this point.
17. Cut in between the two lines of stitching all the way to the pivot point being careful not to cut through any stitches.
18. Turn the facing to the back so the wrong sides are together and press well. Topstitch along the opening.
19. Place the front and back pieces right sides together. Sew and finish/serge the shoulder seams. Press the seams toward the back.
20. Iron the lower edges of the neck facings under 1/4"
21. Pin the short edges of the facings, right sides together and sew.
22. Press the seams open. Now you are ready to attach the neck facing to the dress.
23. Pin the facing to the dress right sides together matching the raw edges. The back facings should overlap the back opening by 1/2" as shown in the picture.
24. Sew the facing to the dress. Clip the curves.
25. Turn the facings to the inside of the dress. Your back and front neckline should now look like this:
26. Topstitch about 1/8" from the edge of the facing.
27. Place the dress right sides together and sew and finish/serge the side seams.
28. Now it is time to attach the armscye facings. This is done pretty much the same as the neck facings. Please reference the pictures in steps 20-25 if you are unclear on any step. For some reason, I forgot to take pictures of this stage, so if you need help muddling through my way less-than-perfect directions, please leave a comment or contact me via email using the button at the top of the page :) Iron under the longer curved edges of the facings 1/4" (step 20). Pin a front and back facing rights sides together (step 21) and sew into a circle. Make sure you are sewing the top of the front facing to the top of the back and the bottom to the bottom. Pin the facing to the armscye right sides together with the raw edges lined up (step 23) and sew. Turn the facing to the inside of the dress (step 25) and topstitch close to the facing edge (step 26). Repeat for the second armscye.
29. This is what the topstitching should look like on the front of the dress. Now all that is left is the hem and a button :)
30. The hem facing is sewn the same way as the armscye facings. Or you can just sew a narrow hem if you prefer. I like the look of the facings so I finished the hem that way in the picture :)
31. Add a button and you're done!
I know this isn't my best tutorial, but it's late and my brain seems to have reached it's capacity for the day :) Once again, if you need clarification on anything, please leave a comment below or use the mailto button (looks like a little envelope) at the top of this page to email me.
Dress - Cotton print from Joann's
Facings - Michael Miller Dumb Dot
Button - Joann's