Sewing Efficiently

Sew… recently I needed, ok wanted, to make another Sew Over It Vintage Shirt Dress and left it to the last minute to get it made. I’ve made the dress once before, read all about it here, so I knew what was required and worked out that if I batch sewed certain steps it would make the sewing a bit speedier.

Here’s what I did when making the dress. I tried to sew as much as possible before I needed to stop and iron before going back to sewing. It did mean having more than one part of the dress on the go at once but I did keep checking back in the instructions to make sure I hadn’t missed any steps and ticked them off once I had completed that section.

First off:

• Cut out fabric and interfacing

• Iron on interfacing

• Gather stitches on bodice and sleeves – I did this using a contrast thread

• I then set up the sewing machine and overlocker with the right thread and did some test stitches on some scraps.

Now time for some sewing:

• Darts

• Dart pleats – bodice and skirt

• Shoulder seams

• Skirt side seams

• Joined the facing together

• Collar

• Sleeve seams

Lots of dart pleats.

I then overlocked:

• Skirt side seams

• Sleeve seams

• Shoulder seams

• Facing seams

I couldn’t think of any more sewing that could be done before needing to iron everything:

• Collar turned out right way

• Facing

• Skirt side seams

• Skirt darts

• Bodice shoulder seams

• Bodice darts/pleats

Back to some sewing:

• Tack collar on

• Side seams

• Waist seam

Overlocking again:

• Side seams

• Waist seam

• Edge of facing

More sewing:

• First part of the French seams for sleeves – I always tend to French seam my sleeves in as I find overlocking in a circle doesn’t leave a neat finish, yes I’m fussy!

• Attached the facing

French seamed sleeves.

Back to the ironing board:

• Side seams

• Waist seams

• Sleeve seams

• Facing

• Sleeve hems

• Skirt hem

I went for the red overlocker threads.

• Marked the buttonhole and button positions.

Last bit of sewing:

• Facing under stitch

• Sleeve French seams

• Sleeve hems

• Skirt hems

• Buttonholes

• Buttons

• Attached label

Opened the button holes and ta-dah it’s finished! Not forgetting a final press.

Mustn’t forget a label.
And finally some vintage buttons.

Obviously instructions are there for a reason but with a bit of experience you soon realise there’s an order in which things need to be done so may not need to follow them strictly but I would always recommend reading the instructions before you start just encase there is something in there you weren’t expecting.

I didn’t time myself but it I would say it took about 4 hrs, this didn’t including prepping the pattern, adjustments or cutting out the fabric.


Fabric bought from Selvedge and Bolts.

Button labels gifted from the Dutch Label Shop.