Adding a Circle Skirt to The Switch It Up Bra Pdf Pattern to create an easy to wear Summer Dress.
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Again, I was tricked by a sunny day here in the UK into making a summery dress and now as I type this it is pouring with rain! Earlier this year I'd purchased some fabric from PoundFabrics - it's described as Purple Orange Abstract Elastane and is light to medium weight with 4-way stretch. I bought it because I loved the design (and the price - £2.50 a metre!) but I didn't really have a garment in mind that I wanted to use it for until the sun came out.
I decided to use The Switch It Up Bra as a bodice - I made and reviewed this in February 2021 (see My Review Here). The Switch It Up Bra comes in two editions: a Front Edition with a plain back and 10 different interchangeable front options and a Back Edition with a plain front and 10 different interchangeable back options. I opted to make another Front Edition, View A because I really like the placement of the overlay fabric.
I think if you're not used to working with stretch fabric these bra patterns can look a bit intimidating but it's really a case of taking your time and experimenting with the stitches on your machine. I don't use my serger for these bras because it can make the seams somewhat bulky but I don't use the stretch stitches on my sewing machine either. For the regular seams I just use a standard straight stitch at length no.3 and for the topstitching on the binding and straps I use a standard zigzag stitch. A lot of sewists use the 'lightning stitch' but I don't have that option with my machine. I did, however, use my serger to sew the skirt to the bodice. The bodice is fully lined so all the seams are hidden but I have an exposed seam where I attached the skirt to the bodice so I serged that to give it a neat finish.
The benefit of using a bra pattern like this as a bodice is that it has support and is lined: you're not worried about needing a bra. I used a lightweight mesh to line my bodice as that's what I already had but you could use power net, used in sports bras, for more support. I think I made a mistake in my choice of lining - it rolls out and is visible from the front - perhaps it has more stretch than my main fabric?
I used some fishnet fabric for my overlay and once the bodice was sewn up I tried it on before adding the waistband. I checked where the bottom of the bodice finished and chose not to add a waistband but to add the skirt straight to the bodice. This worked for me because I have a short torso but the dress would have worked equally well with the waistband.
Like every dress I make I added a circle skirt! I have quite a few patterns by The Switch It Up Bra creator George + Ginger and the skirts are usually interchangeable across the designs (if it's stretch fabric). If you want to draft your own circle skirt pattern I have a guide HERE. I just find it the most flattering cut for my shape. Also, you only have one seam to sew - the waistband - as there are no side seams. There seems to be enough weight to this fabric to not require hemming either which made adding this skirt a 5-minute job.
I'm really pleased with my finished dress, it's very comfortable but also has interesting design details. I just hope I get the chance to wear it!