Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Toe the Line Dress Knock Off

Wow. I cannot believe it has been soooo long since I have posted. What can I say though one packed up house, several good bye parties, one 2 hour flight, one 5 hour flight and one 13 hour flight later we are at our hotel in CA! We found have found the secret to righting your children's body blocks in one day. Just get off the plane at 6:30am and be at Disneyland before 10am! The Crawford's are officially righted ha! This has been soooo much better then on our arrival in Timor where we spent days playing trains and watching cartoons in the wee hours of the morning, ughhhhh. I have some really fun details to share about our last few days in Timor but I wanted to make sure I got this up before we headed off on our Cruise. So here it FINALLY is the Toe the Line Knock Off tutorial.
This is Che Che. She was our amazing housekeeper/ Nanny/ Friend for the entire time we were in Timor. She was so fantastic and was a huge part of No Mans Land. There is not way I could have posted so much if it hadn't been for Che Che working so hard. I wanted to make sure she had something to remember us by and I had talked about doing a giveaway of this dress I made. I decided to go a head with that idea only give it to Che Che instead of a reader. I asked her to measure her under the guise of making the dress for my little sister. When I finished sewing it was on a day that was particularly chaotic and begged her to let me take a picture of her in it claiming I had no time to ask anyone else. She obliged. When I was done taking pictures she asked if she could have the pictures that I had printed out to help me knock off the dress so she could have one made when she went home to the Philippines. I told her I had made it for her so that whenever she wore it she would think of us and she started crying, I then of course started blubbering and it was a mess ha!
If you would like to make your own it is actually a fairly easy and straight forward dress. The neckline is the only tricky part and that will come together easily as long as you take your time and think before you stitch. I do have to say though that the fabric I used was ordered site unseen. I thought I was ordering a nice Chambray and it ended up being a blend and was chambray but pretty stretchy. Next time around I would certainly use a lawn/poplin cotton or a chambray without spandex in it ha! If you would like to learn how to make the dress click tell me more :) If not then I will see you in a week when my feet touch American soil once again!

What you will need:
3 (or more depending on your size) yards of fabric
A small zipper
Several buttons (depending on how many faux buttons you want)
A small strip of light fusible interfacing (for the neckline)
Sewing Machine
Needle and Thread

The Pattern found on my Scribd shelf (this is a size 6 pattern, it was a bit large for Che Che and I ended up taking it in for her)

The first thing we are going to put together is the dress top. Take all three of your main dress pieces. I decided to sew four darts in the dress. Once in each front piece:
And two in the back
You can use the dart guides on the pattern if you would like to include them. I think they make the dress have a nice fitted look and looks more professional. Once you are done attach the front pieces to the back.
Before you stitch decide which side you want your side zipper on and do not stitch all the way to the bottom on that side. Also do not sew ALL the way to the inside of your shoulder seams. We will manipulate these later.

At this point you could stitch this hem in place. I waited and did this on the next step and then looked at my Shabby Apple dresses and realized they do nit on this step. Either will work, just some additional info.
Once you are done head over to the sewing machine
You might need to gather the top of the sleeve slightly. Once you do turn line up the sleeve edge and the arm hole of the dress so that right sides are together. Stitch all the way around.
Once you are done and have pressed your seams and turned everything right side out your top should look like this:
Now we are going to do our neckline. Do this slowly, think before you sew and read the instructions several times and it will save you A LOT of frustration... not that it took me FOREVER to figure this out HA! (it TOTALLY did). I took lots of pictures of the finished product so I hope it helps. Turn your dress top inside out. Line of the ENDS of the neckline so that right sides are together. Stitch across the end so that there is a finished seam on what will be the outside of the neckline. When you are done turn the dress top right side out. Fold down the neckline so that the right side of the neckline is rights sides together with your dress back. Lin up the edges of the two taking special care at the shoulders. Stitch all the way around, iron your seam. It should look like this when done:
Now grab your to neck lining pieces. Cut fusible interfacing to match both and attach to WRONG side. Once you are done we are going to do the same thing to the thin ends of the neckline that we just did to the main neckline. Lay the pieces right sides together. Stitch the ends and open up so you have a nice finished seam. Once you are done we are going to attach it to the main neck line. Lay it right sides together and pin all the way around, lining up the seams you created on the back. Stitch all the way around the edge. When you are done head over to your iron and iron the seam so that the lining is inside the main dress.
Once you have ironed it topstitch all the way around on the right side of the neckline.
When you are done you should have a nice seamless neckline.
The inside neckline should look like this:
Now using your button hole maker make your buttons. I made three functioning buttons and three faux buttons but it is up to you and the size of your buttons.
(Don't mind that I have already attached my dress bottom, I forgot to take a pic of the buttons until after ha!)
Now we are going to make our skirt bottom. This is mainly just ALOT of pleated fabric. The seam will be on the side of this dress so that you can have a hidden zipper. The type of pleat you do is up to you and how much fabric you have. I tried to follow the dress as close as possible.
When you are done and everything is flipped right side out and pressed your waistline should look like this;
Once you have the top attached to the bottom insert your side zipper.
Once your zipper is in all you need to do is stitch up the side and hem the bottom!!! Woo hoooo! This dress actually does not look that cute without some sort of belt. I just made Che Che a big white fabric belt sort of like the one in the Shabby Apple picture.
I hope I explained it well? I am certainly going to make another one for myself. I want a nice solid bright green one! Maybe I can finagle the pattern to be maternity. We'll see! For now I have to go organize all our moving luggage for the cruise ha! I hope your week is sunny!


  1. Hey, I don't know if it's just my computer but none of your pictures are coming up for this post. You may want to double check that. I would love to see what you've made. They're always lovely :)

  2. I'm also not seeing them on your blog. I did however just lift the flikr page so that I could see them.


  3. No pics but I saw it via pp's link. Very nice, looks very comfy and she is a great model.

  4. What an amazing dress! And what an amazing gift. That story touched my heart. As a family that has moved around a lot, and has had to say good bye to many good people and dear friends, I understand how hard it cane be. Especially after living in another country, and having friends that truly helped make things possible for you. The dress will be cherished, as will the photos.

  5. I love this dress and am going to tweak it into a long dress with pockets. Thank you for inspiring me to sew outside of my "box"!! I have become very adventurous with my sewing since I found your blog and make my "own" patterns - no longer tied to the store bought versions. We enjoy your creations and my daughter has enjoyed Eevie and her moods, I think mine has found a kindred spirit! Take it easy and I look forward to hearing about the cruise.

  6. @Kristianna, THANK YOU for the link to the flickr photos. Very CUTE!

    @Kelly, Enjoy the rest of your time!

  7. Oh, my goodness, I don't know how you do it, but every time I am just so happy to know the little bit of sewing skills I know because someday I will be as good as you.
    thank you for posting this. My sister is leaving for Europe in two weeks and I wanted to make her something special. I think this will do, if I can do it right!! Thank you, once again, for inspiring me.
    (same her with the "no photos" prob but clicked the link the other lady lifted)

  8. Awh, what a sweet story. I love the dress too - beautiful! The hat is also a nice touch.(The photos didn't display in the blog properly but I just deleted the extra coding at the end of each URL to view it on Flickr.)

  9. ahhh...I need pictures, I just posted about this dress a few weeks must have read my mind!!!

  10. Hello! Any chance for a link to this pattern? Or any details about the pattern? Thank you!


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