I made this dress using a fabric manipulation technique from Pattern Magic book, by Tomoko Nakamichi. This was definitely a challenge, not helped by my choice of fabric which frayed and stretched here there and everywhere.

Here is the toile I made. After making alterations to the armholes and neckline, I lengthened the pattern to make it into a dress.

With regards to construction, the first thing I had to decide on was how to conceal those raw edges. I considered a facing, but quickly wrote it off as it would have been pretty complicated to make a facing that flipped from the back to the front of the fabric as it twisted round. I wasn’t going to use bias tape, as I wanted the final dress to have a very simple look to it, making the twist the main feature.

So, I decided to make the two front pieces double sided.  I cut out four front pieces and stitched two of them them, wrong sides together, along the neckline stopping below the twist part, where the under bust seam begins. I did the same with the other two. There was no need to worry about right or left as both front pieces were fully reversible. This effectively made the front of the dress self lined as well. I then constructed the twist as the book instructed, and sewed the under bust seam in one go, from sideseam line to sideseam line. I then stitiched the lining to the armhole.

The rest of the construction was a little bit different to what I would normally do. I constructed the back effectively the same way as the front – sewed lining to main round armholes and neckline, right sides together, and turned. I understitched these too to stop the lining being noticeable from the front (I didn’t self line the back but used some silk lining) so the dress doesn’t stick when I’m wearing it. I attached the shoulders using what I call the pokey though method (any explanation would be pointless without photos/diagrams), and stitched the sideseams and lining sideseams in one go from hem to hem.

I messed about with an invisible zip which appeared too heavy and made the back lumpy. While preparing to put in a normal zip I realised it didn’t need one at all – the fabric is quite flexible, and is partly on the bias due to the shape of the pieces. I also shaved a little off the upper back seamline as this was causing the lumps.

I wanted to make all the seams enclosed due to the fabric being quite unstable on the cutting lines (it drapes beautifully, essential for the twist, but frays badly due to being a loose weave). I can’t remember how I did it exactly (note – write it down as soon as you do it!), but I sewed turned the hem and stitched the lining to it leaving a hole to poke the dress through and finish by hand.

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