September 06, 2023
By Esi Hutchinson
We have been excited about our new pattern #511 Juliette's Dream. It is one of a couple of patterns that have been sitting in Folkwear's development stage for many years - for several sets of vintage-inspired lingerie in larger sizes. We released the #510 Passionflower Lingerie Top earlier this year, and now #511 Juliette's Dream.
This lingerie baby doll dress comes in two views and sizes XS-4XL. View A has a lined bodice cinched at center front, and a two-tiered full layered skirt that dips lower in the front and back. View B includes an unlined bodice with an open front, as well an open-front full circle skirt with crisscross straps in the back. Both views have an empire waist with three cup sizes for each view. Juliette's Dream can be made into sassy lingerie in silks or sheer fabric, can be casual day wear with pants or leggings, perfect for a spring or summery day!
I am going to show you how I made View A of Juliette's Dream in this blog post, along with some tips and tricks for successfully sewing this cute top.
Fabric and Preparation
This pattern needs fabric that is light and drapey. Soft and flowy fabrics such as silks (charmeuse, habotai, crepe de chine, silk synthetics) or lightweight cotton voile, or lightweight linen, tencel/linen, tencel/twill, lyocell. For lining, use the same weight (or lighter weight) than your main fabric. For simplicity, I would use the same fabric as your main fabric.
Always pre-wash your fabric before cutting, unless it is laundered fabric.
For fun options, you can use contrasting fabrics for the upper and lower layers of the Skirt or even the Front Band D. Or, make the upper skirt in a sheet fabric or sheer lace. You could also make the outer bodice with sheer lace to match, using a solid lining layer.
I made this sample of View A with a tencel twill, and used the same fabric for all layers (and lining). It is very drapey, but has enough structure (and is not transparent) to make this garment work well as a top to wear out.
Choose bodice cup size to fit your bust and cut the size that fits best according to measurements in the yardage chart. To find the best cup size, measure your full bust and high bust. If there is a 2” (5cm) difference, choose B cup; if a 3” (7.6cm) difference, choose C cup; and if a 4” (10.2cm) difference, choose D cup. To facilitate cutting out the pattern, mark your size along the appropriate cutting line(s) with a colored marker. The yadage chart also has approximate finished measurements, if that helps you decide which size to cut. I used the size Small for this project.
The bodice of View A is fully lined, but you may still want to finish seams if you have fabric that easily frays. Skirt seams can be finished with a French seam, or you could finish by serging or zigzag stitch. If you are using very lightweight, fine fabrics, you may want to hand finish seams or using pinking shears for a lightweight finish. The skirt hems are finished with a picot stitching, but I'll cover that later.
Cutting Out Your Pattern
Make sure you are using the different cutting lines for the specified view and for the two skirt layers needed for View A. Remember to also cut lining pieces for Bodice Front A and Back B. If you are using slippery fabric like silk, sheers, or lace, we have some great tips on cutting out the pattern here: sewing with sheers and lace, sewing with sheer fabrics, and sewing with bias or slippery fabrics. It really is best to cut everything in one layer of fabric for this pattern, especially for the skirts. And our layouts show how best to do that.
Pattern pieces cut out of fabric
Lets begin assembling!
Constructing the Bodice
First we sew the bodice pieces together. Right sides together, sew center front seam on Front Bodice A, and repeat with lining. Press seams open.
Pinning of Front Bodice Front A Outer Fabric and Lining
Pressing of curved seam for Bodice Front A
Then, right sides together, sew front bodice to Back Bodice B at side seams matching notches. Repeat with the lining. Press seams open.
Pinning of Front A to back B right sides together
Next we add the straps. Fold Strap C in half lengthwise with right sides together and sew along the long edge. Trim the seam allowance, and turn and press. Do the same for both straps. I like to use a safety pin or bodkin here to easily and quickly turn a narrow strap like this right side out. Pin/fasten one end of the strap and thread it through the tube of fabric to turn the whole thing right side out.
Close up of Strap C sewed right sides together
Sew straps to right side of front where marked on pattern, just inside the seam line. I sewed several rows of stitching to secure the straps..
Strap C pinned and basted to Bodice Front A
Now, place a row of gathering stitches ⅛” (3mm) on each side of the center front seam on the front of the bodice. Keep the center front seam allowance in gathering stitches to keep the area neat.
Gathering stitched placed on either side of center front of bodice.
Pull the gathering threads until the center front measures 2” (5mm) or as short as you can depending on the fabric you are using. Stitch gathered fabric close to center front seam to hold gathering in place. Repeat with the lining.
With right sides together, sew the outer bodice to the lining at the neckline and center backs, matching notches. Trim the seam allowance, clip corners, and clip to the center front stitching line. Turn right side out and press.
Pinned bodice lining to outer fabric at neckline and center back
Now, fold Band D right sides together lengthwise and sew using ⅛” (3mm) seam allowance. Turn to right side with a bodkin or saftey pin and press. You can press it with the seam to one side, or with the seam in the middle.
Sewn Band D right sides together at ⅛”/3mm seam allowance
Wrap the band around the center front over the gathered fabric, sandwiching both outer fabric and lining. Sew the band to the bodice at the bottom of center front within the ½” (13mm) seam allowance. I find that hand tacking the band to the bodice with a few stitches at the top and center of the gathers keeps the band in place better and looks good.
Band D wrapped around gathered Center Front.
Finally, baste lining to outer fabric on lower raw edge to keep everything in place for when you sew the bodice to the skirts.
If you want to cover your bodice/skirt seam with the lining, do not baste them together here. You will also want to keep the band on the inside (lining side) free of stitching so you can fold it all together over the seam allowance.
First, with right sides together, sew center front seams on Skirt Front E matching double notches. Do this to both the upper and lower skirts.
Pinned Center Front of Skirt Front F
Next, with right sides together, sew the center back seam from the dot to lower hem on Skirt Back F (again for both upper and lower skirts) matching the triple notches.
I serged the seams here to finish the skirt seams.
Now with right sides together, sew the skirt front to the skirt back at both side seams matching notches. Do this to both layers of skirt. This is a great place to do French seams, but I also just finished my seams with a serger.
Press all skirt seam allowances open (if not using French seams).
Pinned Skirt Front to Skirt Back at side seam.
We hem the skirts now to have less bulk to manage if trying to hem later. To create a picot (or false picot, as some call it) skirt hem set your machine for a long, wide zigzag stitch and sew along the bottom edge of your skirt. Work with wrong side of fabric facing up and be sure that outer swing of machine needle falls just outside the raw edge and the inner swing goes in far enough to keep the stitching from pulling out. If your fabric unravels easily, you may want to press under the raw edge 1/8-1/4" (3-6mm) before beginning so that the swing of the needle encloses the pressed edge. Also, you may want to tighten the upper thread tension to create more of a scallop effect. I highly suggest you practice this on a strap of fabric to get the stitch length, width, and tension that gives you the results you want.
For my skirts, I turned up 1/8" and used the folded edge as my edge for the picot hem. The picot hem will also give you a slight wave to the hem since you are working on the bias of fabric so there is a little stretch that happens.
Other hem options include serging, hand or machine roll hems, pressing under raw edge and slipstitching, or topstitching lace edging to turned under hem edge.
Folded edge of hem
Wow look at that hem, I love it!
To finish the skirts, clip to dot on both layers of the skirt back.
With right side of upper skirt to wrong side of lower skirt, sew the skirts together at the center back seam between the dot and the waistline.
Turn upper skirt to right side over under skirt and press seam. You will have finished the back opening with this seam, and both skirts should fall with their insides facing the inside of the skirt (upper skirt inside will face outside of lower skirt and lower skirt inside will face the wearer).
Now, baste both skirts together at the waistline. I would also stay stitch the Skirt waistline since its a curve, and this will help it from shifting when pining and sewing to the Bodice.
Skirt and Bodice Finishing
With right sides together, sew skirts to bodice at waistline, matching notches. Press seams toward bodice. Turn under the edge of the seam allowance at the center back and hand stitch to bodice lining.
Pinned skirts to bodice at waistline
Serge or zig-zag (or finish how you wish) this seam allowance.
Another option is to sew just the outer bodice to the skirts. Then fold under the seam allowance on the bodice lining and slip stitch that over the skirt/bodice seam. You will need to keep the front band in place and fold it into the seam allowance of the lining.
For closures, you can attach a wide bra closure to the center back, or sew on hooks and eyes where marked on the pattern. Or you can make your own button and loop closures.
Sew bias strip into spaghetti to form into 3 loops to match your button size, and handsew loops to the inside of the center back bodice as marked on pattern. I cut a bias strip about 10"(25.4cm) long. You don't need that much but it's better to have more than not enough. Your loops need to be at least a minimum 3/8"(9.5mm) longer than your buttonhole size to account for the 1/4" (6mm) to stitch them to the bodice and 1/8" (3mm) extra for the button hole. I'll show how I did mine below, but for more tips and a great tutorial on making buttonhole loops, check out this blog post.
Ironing my hand made bias strips.
Fold bias stirps in half to measure 1/4" (6mm) and stitch the long edges together to make the spaghetti straps.
Folded bias binding in half, ready to sew to make spaghetti straps for the loops.
Cut your loops the size you need and sew in place on the left side of the center back.
Sew buttons to right side back bodice, matching up with the buttonhole loops.
Fit the straps by trying on the top, and sew them into place on the inside of the back bodice where marked on the pattern.
You are now finished!
Super cute right? The layered skirt is a neat feature. I love the picot hem and it drapes and moves so beautifully.