Montana by Bicycle!

This dress was inspired by Alex Judge Sews and just happened to coincide with my desire to explore different styles of dresses.

Alex Judge Sews

Although Alex had made her dress in a viscose fabric with a tiered skirt, I could not find anything similar in my stash. However I did find this pretty, fine cotton print that I purchased last year in the sale at New Threads Quilt Shop, Weyhill Fairground.

Montana Midi-length Dress by Style Arc

I had already decided to try raised waistlines ‘Empire’ line and the Montana by Style Arc falls into this style. This is a very simply-styled dress and is described as a Midi length high waisted pull on dress with an extended shoulder line.

I cut a size 22 and made a ‘fitting toile’ in lightweight calico. The first thing that I noticed was that the back which should have been level to the front, was much longer. Part of this is due to my sway back and the other reason was that I needed to make a Full Bust Adjustment (FBA). At this stage I also noticed that the shoulder line was slightly different to my natural shoulder line and needed to be lifted by approximately 1cm at the neckline.

I altered the pattern and made a new front bodice toile to check the fit. Now all seemed fine except that the bust dart was too long and a little too high. I unpicked the dart and re-stitched, another fit check and now it was all good. I copied the amended pattern onto fresh paper.

Now I cut out the Bicycle print cotton. For the bodice lining I used White poly/cotton purchased in bulk from Fabricland, Salisbury prior to the closure of that branch.

I first stitched the shoulder seams of both the fashion fabric and the lining. Then using the ¼ inch seam allowance quoted by Style Arc I stitched the two right sides together around the neckline. I trimmed using my pinking shears before understitching 1/8 th inch away from the seam. I pressed well before turning my attention to the armhole seams. Using the ‘burrito’ method I sewed first one and then the other. I trimmed and understitched the seams before sewing the side seams of both the fashion fabric and lining in one go. On the lining bodice only I stay-stitched 1 cm from the waistline edge – this would provide a guide for turning to the inside when finishing the bodice.

I dislike side seam pockets that flap about inside the garment and so ignored the ones printed with this pattern.

I stitched the side seams of the skirt with French seams, before running 2 rows of gathering stitches along the bodice waistline edge. By matching the quarter marks of the skirt to quarter marks on the bodice I ensured an even distribution of the gathers. Once the skirt had been attached to the bodice all that remained was to machine a double fold hem and hand stitch the bodice lining along the inside waist seam.

Montana Midi dress by Style Arc

Much later ….. I made two patch pockets and attached to the front of the skirt. I was able to pattern match one of the pockets but the second one is a little off.

Pattern matched pocket – perfect!

Completed 5th May 2020