Cross My Heart – free easy dress pattern

Cross My Heart – free easy dress pattern


This dress is so elegant. I love how easy it is to sew too. h and it's a free pattern!

You know sometimes how you look about and everyone seems to be wearing the same thing, the same styles, the same colors?  That’s especially true on a small island where there are only a few places you can buy clothes anyway, so it’s no wonder everyone has the same pieces.  So I set out to make myself a dress.  Something I could wear to dinner, or if I had to go somewhere smart, or heaven-forbid, ever get a job!

I was really liking the Simple Shrug pattern and wanted to see if I could incorporate the idea into a dress because I think it gives a really flattering look by having the fabric fall from the bust, making the waist look smaller – or at least I hope so!  I’m very rectangular through the waist, so anything that draws attention to the bust is a plus for me.

This dress is so elegant. I love how easy it is to sew too. h and it's a free pattern!

The Cross My Heart Dress – This dress has crossover pleated drapes from the shoulders that are caught into the side seams just under the arms.  It creates a modest v-neckline and frames the face, hanging loose from the bust to emphasize the smaller waist.  It’s certainly unique!  I’ll never come across another one like it – unless some of you sew it and then visit the Cayman Islands.  That would make my day!

Plus, it’s a very quick and simple sew.  Bonus!

This dress is so elegant. I love how easy it is to sew too. h and it's a free pattern!

Features:

  • Quick and easy to sew
  • Figure skimming fit
  • Pleated crossover drapes from the shoulders
  • Longer length – pick your own skirt length
  • Center back seam to help get a nice fit
  • Short sleeves
  • Sizes 29- 41 bust, 33-45 inch hips
  • For knit fabrics only – I used a ITY knit  (Read more about different types of knit fabrics here.)
  • Fabric needed for all sizes – 2 yards
This dress is so elegant. I love how easy it is to sew too. h and it's a free pattern!
This dress is so elegant. I love how easy it is to sew too. h and it's a free pattern!

Download the Cross My Heart Dress pattern

You can download the pattern from my design account on Payhip.  Add it to your cart and check out – its FREE.  The pattern will be saved in your Pattern Library safely until you are ready to sew, then you can download and print it at any time.

How to sew your ‘Cross My Heart’ free easy dress pattern

1/2 inch seam allowances throughout unless stated otherwise.

Cut out your pattern pieces on a double layer of fabric, with the front on the fold.

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Turn a narrow 1/4 inch hem on the top and bottom curved edges of the front drapes and stitch close to the edge.  Press. Set aside.

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Optional – add a piece of tricot interfacing to the center front to reinforce the V at the neckline.

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Add a 1/4 inch snip at center front and then turn a narrow hem up each side of the center front and stitch close to the edge.  Press.

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Join the center back seam. Turn down the back neckline in a smooth curve and stitch.  Press.

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Add the front drapes to the shoulders.  Line up the inside seamed edges, then line up the outer edge of the drape 1/2 inch inside the outer edge of the shoulder.  This 1/2 inch is the seam allowance where the sleeve will be sewn.

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Create 3 even pleats in the fabric and pin them in place.

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Place the dress back over the front, RST, and match the shoulders.  Repin through all layers and pleats.  Stitch through all layers.  Reduce the bulk in the seam by trimming the pleated layer.  Press the completed seam towards the back.

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Repeat for the other shoulder.

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Match the center top of the sleeve with the shoulder seam.  Ease in sleeve, pin, and stitch. Take care NOT to catch the fabric from the front drape in the sleeve seam allowance.  It should only be caught at the shoulder seam. Repeat for the other side.

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Take the front drapes across the front of the dress, taking care not to twist them, and pin into the side seams matching the top of the drape at the point under the arm.

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Baste the drapes into the side seam of the dress front, within the seam allowance.

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Pin the side seams and check for fit.  Make alterations as necessary.

Pin and stitch side seams.  Press.

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Finish the bottom of the sleeves – twin needle finish is optional.  You may also simply turn in a 1/2-inch hem and stitch.

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Check for length and finish the bottom hemline with your favorite finish.

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Give the dress a final press and it’s ready to wear.

This dress is so elegant. I love how easy it is to sew too. h and it's a free pattern!

Download the Cross My Heart Dress pattern

You can download the pattern from my design account on Payhip.  Add it to your cart and check out – its FREE.  The pattern will be saved in your Pattern Library safely until you are ready to sew, then you can download and print it at any time.

Pin Me
This dress is so elegant. I love how easy it is to sew too. h and it's a free pattern!

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How to Refashion a Scarf into a Top or Bikini Cover

How to Refashion a Scarf into a Top or Bikini Cover


scarf refashioned

There is nothing like going on a trip to point out the gaps in my wardrobe… I often can’t figure out the right things to pack without taking the entire closet with me.  What I need is something practical that can be worn on many occasions.  Something that is chic yet casual.  I thought I could use a top that could be transformed into a short dress or a swimsuit cover.

I dug into my wardrobe and found one Pashmina that I got ages ago and hardly ever wear even though I get cold easily.  I guess I find it rather large and since it is a gift from my daughter, I still want to treasure it.  So how to turn a scarf into a top that I will actually wear?  I did not want to drape it on me because that would add bulk to an already bulky frame if you know what I mean…  So if you have a spare scarf and 30 minutes this is the scarf refashion tutorial for you.

Materials:

  • You will need a scarf that is 6-7 feet long, and 20 to 30″ wide.  Silk, voile, cashmere or wool would be ideal.  (You can find Pashminas and other suitable scarfs at Miracle Shine.  They ship worldwide and their selection is divine.)
  • 2 to 2 1/2 yards of Wrights Double Fold 1/2″ bias tape.  (Find a color that complements your scarf or see below to make your own.)
  • sewing thread to match your bias tape
  • clothes iron
  • a sewing machine
  • a belt, decorative rope or another scarf to use around your waistscarf refashioned

Step One: Preparing your scarf

Fold your scarf in two leaving 4-6 inches longer on one side.  The longer side will become the back and the shorter side the front. Pin the top so it doesn’t move when you are cutting the middle to make the neckline.

Step Two: Cutting the neckline

scarf refashioned

Take the shorter side and cut in the middle.  Measure the length of this cut on both sides.  This measurement will determine the amount of bias tape you will need.  I used 2  1/2 yards.

Follow this tutorial for information on how to make your own bias tape:

Read More HERE

And follow this tutorial to learn more about attaching bias tape:

Read More HERE

Step Three: Sewing the decorative bias tapescarf refashioned

Pin your bias tape all around the raw edge you just created, making sure you have enough bias tape because you are both adding a decorative detail and finishing the edges. Fold the tape, iron, and pin in place. Sew again making sure both sides are very neat.scarf refashioned

scarf refashioned

Step Four: Making The Tunnelscarf refashioned

Take the longer side of the scarf and measure from the middle of the bias tape, where your neck will be to your waist.  Mark this measurement fold 1 1/2 to 3″ inches and sew.

I have a short torso, so I am folding at 13″ in length, the average measurement is 15″ and 16″ for a tall girl.  This step will become the back of your top where you will feed the belt or whatever you are using to tie around your waist. I have used the 3″ fold which is easier to feed a scarf through as a belt.  scarf refashioned

scarf refashionedscarf refashionedI have chosen to use another thin scarf as the belt since I can also use it to tie my hair;)scarf refashionedA point worth noting is how the top changes if you leave the belt tunnel in the inside, as above.scarf refashionedOr on the outside. scarf refashionedscarf refashioned

Choosing a beautiful print and a luxurious material will make this top a fantastic gift for mother’s day or an excellent addition to your boutique.  Wear it with your bikini or pair it with a pencil skirt, shorts or capri pants and in a matter of minutes, you can go from the beach to your favorite cafe.

I hope you enjoyed this scarf refashioning tutorial and find it a practical use for your unused big scarfs while adding a chic, new item to your wardrobe.


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Tropical Wrap Dress maxi dress pattern hack

Tropical Wrap Dress maxi dress pattern hack


Oh wow, on my summer sewing list for sure. Free pattern and tutorial on how to make this tropical wrap maxi dress pattern.

The most downloaded pattern from So Sew Easy is the Wrap Dress. It came second in the Craftsy best pattern award some years ago when Craftsy was still a thing and at the time of writing has been downloaded more than 100,000 times!  If I had a dollar for each one….. 😉

Wrap dress pattern - free sewing pattern. Easy to sew and great looking wrap dress - everyone should have at least one of these. From So Sew Easy.

So when I wanted to sew a tropical maxi dress, this pattern immediately sprung to mind.  Sometimes you just don’t need to mess with a good thing!  I bought this amazing ITY knit print from Fabric Mart (sadly now sold out) and it’s just perfect for island life.  But I wanted to make just a few changes:

  1. Maxi dress rather than knee length
  2. Enough room to walk properly in the longer skirt
  3. Loose flutter sleeves
Oh wow, on my summer sewing list for sure. Free pattern and tutorial on how to make this tropical wrap maxi dress pattern.

We looked before at skirts when we made the Perfect Maxi Skirt.  If you take a straight skirt that is hip width and then simply extend it down to the floor, you won’t be able to walk properly, you’ll only be able to move your legs as wide as your hips.  This works OK in a knee-length skirt but not in a maxi.

How to make the perfect fitting maxi skirt without it being too flared or too tight.

At the same time, we don’t necessarily want to add a lot of volume to the skirt all over so there is more fabric at the waist and hip to be gathered in. So I used the same idea on the Perfect Maxi Skirt to extend and increase the flare slightly on the Wrap Dress skirt.  I also made sure to use the whole width of my fabric too.

Oh wow, on my summer sewing list for sure. Free pattern and tutorial on how to make this tropical wrap maxi dress pattern.

I changed the shape of the sleeves to give them a looser more summery look too.  Both are very simple changes you can make to this, or any pattern, to change up the look.  I’ll show you how to do these simple pattern hacks in the video below.

The video below covers the two different pattern hacks to convert the wrap dress into a maxi with flutter sleeves and also has the full sewing step by step too.  So if you’ve not yet made the original wrap dress, there are some pointers here that might be useful.  It’s a very quick and easy-to-sew dress, has optional elastic at the waist and I’ll be wearing mine everywhere!

Oh wow, on my summer sewing list for sure. Free pattern and tutorial on how to make this tropical wrap maxi dress pattern.

Pattern hacking the Wrap Dress into a Maxi Dress Pattern

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Oh wow, on my summer sewing list for sure. Free pattern and tutorial on how to make this tropical wrap maxi dress pattern.

Useful links:

If you want to see the step-by-step sewing instructions in word and picture format, these are included in the pattern download and are also in the original article about the wrap dress here.

Oh wow, on my summer sewing list for sure. Free pattern and tutorial on how to make this tropical wrap maxi dress pattern.

Give this one a try, I think you’ll like it.  Or start out with the original Wrap Dress too.  Either way, please do come share what you sew in our sewing chat group on Facebook.  24hr sewing chat, inspiration and sharing – on all sorts of sewing activities!  We can’t wait to see what fabric you use for your maxi dress.

Download the free Wrap Dress Pattern

Wrap-dress-009---v-small

As usual, to make downloading easy and reliable, the pattern is hosted in my design account with Payhip. If you don’t already have an account, you will need to sign up to download, but don’t worry, it’s free, quick and easy. Add the pattern to your cart, and then checkout – no payment/address details etc needed.

Download multi-size pattern pieces from my design account at Payhip…

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Oh wow, on my summer sewing list for sure. Free pattern and tutorial on how to make this tropical wrap maxi dress pattern.

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Anti Pickpocket Bag: FREE pattern, tutorial, and video sew-along

Anti Pickpocket Bag: FREE pattern, tutorial, and video sew-along


anti pickpocket bag

This is my take on an anti-pickpocket bag made of fabric with twisted handles.  I’m calling it Helsinki and here’s the backstory to this design:

As many of our regular readers know, I was recently away on vacation with my family.  During the break, we managed to visit the Bernina factory in Switzerland, call in on what I’ll argue is the finest fabric shop in the world in Italy, and as a final stop, we went in search of the famous design house, Marimekko, in Finland –all of which I’ll be writing about in the near future.

anti pickpocket bag

In any case, while we were in Finland, in supposedly one of the safest cities in the world, my teenage daughter was pickpocketed and lost her very, very expensive new iPhone.  Needless-to-say, her father was none too happy about this.  The small handbag she was carrying was relatively open and the thieves just brushed up against her and it was gone.  Poof!  We were in a department store and the security cameras got it all on video, but it happened so fast and the perpetrators were gone by the time the tapes were reviewed.

anti pickpocket bag

It got me thinking that this can’t be a rare occurrence and that I should design an anti-pickpocket bag with internal pockets, secure zippers, and strong straps to keep this thing from happening again.  I started designing and as soon as I got home, put this new bag together.  I think you’ll find it an easy project to follow and the bag will not only be an attractive addition to your wardrobe but also super functional if you’re traveling or spending time in crowded places.  The twisted fabric handles are relatively unique and very strong.  So Helsinki, this one is for you..

Skill Level: Advanced

If you have made a nag with lining and pockets, this project is easy for you to accomplish.  If you, however, have never done a bag before, you will find this difficult.

Key Features:

  • Secure main zipper with no gaps around the gusset making it is hard for a thief to access.
  • Zippered inner pockets for money and valuables.
  • Strong twisted fabric handles that will let you hold the bag securely.
  • Complete video tutorial and sew-along (links at the end of the article)
  • Dimensions 17″ by 11″
anti pickpocket bag

Materials for the Anti Pickpocket Bag

Recommended Fabric Options

Here are some suggestions for potential fabric options.

See the entire sewing tutorial series here:

  • Sewing the Anti Pickpocket Bag: Part 3, Assembling the Bag

  • Sewing the Anti Pickpocket Bag: Part 2, Sewing the Lining

  • Sewing the Anti Pickpocket Bag: Part 1, Making the Handles

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See next page for free pattern download.



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Easy Dress Pattern for Summer – and it’s Free!

Easy Dress Pattern for Summer – and it’s Free!


You asked – you got it.  The next free pattern from So Sew Easy is an easy dress pattern for a great summer dress with option to shorten for a top. Made in just a few simple steps, I’ll hold your hand all the way with this one and show you some tips and tricks along to way to help you sew beautifully with knit fabrics.

Easy Summer Dress.  Free multi-size pattern and step by step photo tutorial from So Sew Easy.

Styling options – wear it strapless (it includes an elastic back so won’t fall), or with a center halter strap or two straps from the bust or sides.  You can also cut this off at hip length and wear it as a top too.  It’s up to you.

Easy Summer Dress.  Free multi-size pattern and step by step photo tutorial from So Sew Easy.

 

Download your easy dress pattern

The pattern is available to download from my design store account with Payhip.  You can tip something for it if you want, but that’s not necessary.  It’s free, quick, and easy.  Add the pattern to your cart, and then checkout – no payment is needed, no address details etc.  Then you can download the pattern in a PDF made of 16 separate sheets of paper.

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Download the Easy Summer Dress pattern

Download your Easy Summer Dress pattern pieces here.

Constructing your PDF pattern.

(Note – these instructions are written assuming you are fairly new to sewing and give plenty of detail.  If you have used digital patterns before, or have sewn similar garments, do skip on through and sorry its so long!  If you are new to sewing, take your time, and do leave a comment if you have any questions.)

First time you’ve used a digital pattern?  Don’t worry, I’ll show you what to do.  Load your printer with regular printer paper, open the PDF file and print. Do not select any of the fancy printing options such as center, scale, fit to page etc.  You just want to print it out straight as it is.

If you are worried about printing out at the right size, then just print page 1 first, because this one includes a test box to measure.  The box is drawn at 5cm square, so print this one page, measure the box and if it’s 5cm you are good to go.  If not, then you might need to check your print settings to see what settings might need to be changed before printing again.

Once you have all 16 pieces, keep them in order.  Then set them out from left to right, 4 pieces across in a row and then another 4 underneath, and another 4, and the last 4 on the bottom row.  This is how the pieces will be assembled.  Each piece comes with a border that overlaps the next piece of paper, so you should cut off or fold over the top and the right-hand side of each piece lining up your cut or fold with the guideline on the printout.

Each piece is numbered so start with 1-4 on the top 5-8 on row two and so on.  Overlap your pieces, matching up the pattern lines, and stick them in place with tape. It should look very much like this–>

Easy Summer Dress. Free multi-size pattern and step by step photo tutorial from So Sew Easy.

Once you have your jigsaw completed you can read and note any instructions and directions, and then refer to the sizing chart below and cut out your pattern pieces.

What Size Do I Need?

The dress is made from a stretchy knit fabric and is intended to be skim the body and be fairly fitted.  The size I made for myself I am calling the Medium.  My measurements are high bust (around the back and over the bust high under the arms) 35.5, Bust 36, Waist 31, Hips/Thigh widest point 39.

The amount of stretch in the fabric will alter the fit and feel of the dress so use this table as a guide only.

  Bust Waist Hips
Small 32-34 27-29 35-37
Medium 35-36 30-31 38-40
Large 37-39 32-34 40-43

To make your own alterations to the pattern, increase or decrease at the center front and center back from the size closest to you above.    For the mid-section – increase at the side seam.  Always test the fit using the paper pattern pieces, or an inexpensive test fabric before cutting your expensive fabric for this dress.  If in doubt or between sizes, make the larger size and adjust for fitting at the side seams during construction.

Adjustments to length.  If you want the dress longer, simply add some length to the center back piece at the bottom, and add the same length to the front skirt piece.  To shorten and wear as a blouse, remove length from the bottom and chop off at hip length or where required.

Cutting your fabric

All main pieces for the dress are designed to be cut on the fold of the fabric.  If you prefer, you can print two copies of the pattern, stick the pieces together opposite each other, to double the pattern pieces and cut on a single layer of fabric.  This would be useful if you have a large design and want to see how the design will lie on the finished dress.

  • To cut on the fold – fold your fabric along the grainline, just folding over enough to accommodate the size of your pattern piece.  Then place the edge of the back pattern piece on the fold of the fabric and hold it in place there.  You can use proper pattern weights, pins, or even tins of tuna.
  • Take note of the stretch of the fabric and make sure your pattern pieces are lined up the right way.  The maximum stretch should go across and around your body not top to bottom.
  • Before you cut ANYTHING, make sure that you have enough fabric for all of the pattern pieces.  So fold in the other side of the fabric and place the other pieces on the fold too.
  • Once everything is laid out, cut out your pattern pieces.

If you need further directions for cutting out your fabric, follow the directions for the Summer Drape Top.

Now you have your fabric cut and ready, we can start to sew your easy dress pattern.  Come back for the full step-by-step construction tutorial in Part 2.

Easy dress pattern - the Easy Summer Dress.  Free multi-size pattern and step by step photo tutorial from So Sew Easy.

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Gathered Summer Skirt – free skirt pattern

Gathered Summer Skirt – free skirt pattern


gathered skirt

Well, it took me a while, but it’s here at last.  Do you remember I wrote a while back about a skirt I wore during the Cayman Islands’ first ever sewing meet-up?  Robin suggested I should sew a skirt like the one I was wearing, and immediately I knew it was a great idea and got to work. Introducing the Gathered Summer Skirt.  Sizing given for sizes 34-52 inch hips, all should fit on less than 1.5 yards of fabric.

gathered skirt

Summer is here at last.  For some of us, it lasts longer than others, but whether it’s a trip to the beach, a picnic, shopping with the girls, or a day sailing, you’ll still need to look cute and summery.

The design for this skirt was copied from a Ready To Wear skirt I already owned and loved.  I think it has the perfect ratio of gathers to length and with the elastic waist, is comfy and casual.

I think you’ll love it too.  Pick your fabric and design carefully and it will become your go-to skirt for summer.

gathered skirt

How to sew a Gathered Skirt for summer

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gathered skirt

This skirt has 3 different tiers, a loose comfy fit, and an elastic waist.  Easy and fun to sew and can be made in any size.  Not just for the grown-ups, but good for teens too.

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Download the Gathered Summer Skirt pattern

You can download the pattern and instructions for the Gathered Summer Skirt from my design account at Payhip.  It’s a PDF file containing both instructions and pattern sizing all in the same file.  Enjoy!

Don’t go gathering mad!

At last! A quick and easy way to gather long pieces of fabric with out breaking the gathering threads, ever. The secret is in the dental floss!

This skirt has a lot of gathering, over long pieces of fabric so do check out the earlier post about how to gather using dental floss – written totally in response to the trouble I was having with this skirt!  Make your life easy and gather with dental floss and this skirt will go quickly and smoothly and soon be ready to wear.

Enjoy your new skirt!  We would all love to see what you make.  Please do take a couple of photos and attach them in the comments section below so we can all see your work.


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