Banded Dress

Pattern: Kwik Sew's Misses' Dresses 3778
Material: Cotton knit
Cost: $2 (seriously)

What's a girl to do when she gets invited to a party and has nothing to wear? Make a dress, of course! I had been wanting to make a bandage dress for a while (here's my inspiration), and a night out at Asia SF--where "world famous transgender stars perform hourly atop the red runway bar"--seemed like the perfect occasion. Yet after months of sitting around unemployed in my underwear sewing new clothes, I had just started a new job and had not made my dress yet! So a stole a few hours away Wednesday and Thursday night and, using some old scrap fabric, whipped up my own little banded/bandage dress. Perfect for a night out! Here's the story.

Way back when, I had made some cushion covers for a couch and had accidentally bought 12 yards instead of 12 feet of fabric--it was only $2 a yard and so cheap that I didn't notice the difference! (Also, I can't do math.) The fabric was a cotton knit and perfect for stretching over cushions. The other night I whipped out the extra yardage and cut myself some one shouldered pattern pieces. After making my usual adjustments, I took it in in in. While I pre-washed the fabric, the material was cheap (hence the $2/yd price tag) and I think it just kept stretching. There was also the flared skirt that needed to be taken out. And it's possible that my boobs have shrunk, again.

The hard part about fitting a bandage dress is that you have to account for 1/4" pin tucks that will be made every inch or so going down the dress. A patient person would have traced the Kwik Sew pattern out on the fabric, leaving gaps for the pin tucks as they went along. But in all honesty, I just took the dress in as much as I needed to and left some extra, unhemmed length at the bottom to account for the pin tucks. It worked out fine.

To make the banded look, I had planned on using my new pin tucking foot to make little pin tucks horizontally around the dress. But my machine just wasn't having any of that, and no matter how tight I pulled the tension I just got two little parallel lines. I then resorted to the good old low-tech way of making pin tucks: fold the fabric and sew close to the fold. Burda Style has a good tutorial. In terms of spacing, I made smaller pin tucks around the bust, with some curved ones by the shoulder, and spaced the tucks farther (about 1" apart) as I went down. I stopped just below my waist. Of course, not being one to very accurately measure, and this technique being much harder than the machine pin tuck, my lines came out a little squiggly and a little crooked. Luckily it is too dark and people are too drunk in a club to notice my small pin tucking faux pas. 

By the time I got down to the waist, it was 1am on a Thursday night, heading into Friday morning. Having sewed up to the last minute for an event (and consequently arriving late), I imposed upon myself a strict time limit and went to bed, with my banded dress only halfway banded. This was probably a good call as well because the hem was getting just about high enough. While I had originally thought about going back and sewing in more pin tucks later, I don't think I'll put the effort into this garment. Plus, I kinda like the half-banded look--a little different than what's out there right now (and I would know, Countess LuAnn from the Real Housewives of New York was at the restaurant, too, and had on her version of a banded dress). On my next try I would pin tuck all the way down and then sew the pin tucks down to the dress. The pin tucks definitely need to be flattened out, and the one I did sew down along the top looked good. Otherwise I spent a good little chunk of time ironing down the pin tucks down to the dress before heading out on Friday night.

The Kwik Sew pattern itself is actually pretty cool in that you cut out an entire pattern piece to make the asymmetrical look or use only half of it placed on the fold to make a two-strapped dress. To check out my review of the pattern, go to

Sherry and me with the beautiful Ciara.

Check it out at BurdaStyle!

1 comment:

  1. That dress is so cute and flattering! I don't blame you for only pin tucking half of it, it would have driven me nuts and the dress looks good anyway,


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