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How to Make an Unlined Perfect A-Line Dress

I love sewing reversible dresses and other reversible garments! You get two looks for the ‘price’ of one, plus a tidy, all-seams-enclosed finish that means no hemming and no seam finishing. Our popular Perfect A-Line Dress pattern is a great example of a fully reversible dress that I love to sew. If you love reversible, you can sew right from our pattern and make the dress that you want!

But sometimes, you might want to make an unlined a-line dress instead. You might be short on fabric, live in a hot climate, or want to embellish the outer side with dimensional embellishments that would be too bulky to wear on the inside of the dress (like our fun Perfect A Line Dress with Tuxedo Ruffle tutorial!). When you want an unlined a-line dress, it’s really simple to make it from this reversible pattern and today we’ll show you how.

We’re again using the adorable upcoming Tutti Fruitti collection by Maude Asbury for Blend Fabrics. You’ll be able to find it at Hawthorne Threads when it arrives any day now. It’s so perfect for a sweet little baby dress, isn’t it? The fabric has been provided to use free of charge so we can bring you great tutorials like this one.

Making an Unlined A-Line Dress

1. Draft the All-In-One Facing

First, you’ll draft an ‘all in one’ facing that will line and finish the edges of the straps, neckline, and armholes. Don’t worry – it’s easy!

After cutting your front and back fabric from the Perfect A-Line Dress pattern pieces (remember, only one of each because this dress will not be reversible!), lay your pattern front and back out in your workspace. On the pattern front, measure down 2.5″ from the neckline and draw a little mark perpendicular to the “fold” line.

Measure 2″ down from the underarm and draw another little mark. Join these marks with a gently curving line. Don’t make the curve too steep, as it will be easier to hem/finish with a gentle slope.

On the pattern back, measure 2″ down from the underarm and mark this point on the side line, then square this line across to the ‘fold’ line.

Cut these new facing pattern pieces on the lines you drew.

2. Sew the Facing in the Unlined A-Line Dress

Use your new pattern pieces to cut 1 on fold of each front and back from your facing fabric, which can be same-fabric, a contrasting fabric, or any woven fabric of a similar weight. With right sides together, sew the facings together along their side edges and press the seams open. You don’t need to finish these seams.

Finish the bottom edge of the facings by serging/zigzagging, or by hemming. Serging or zigzagging is easier.

To hem the facings, sew a line of stitching around the bottom edge a scant 1/4″ from the edge, then use this stitching line to press the raw edge to the wrong side, then use this fold to help you fold a second time, and stitch close to the fold. I had some little puckers in the hem around the curve that only showed on the wrong side.

It’s a good idea to interface the snap/buttonhole areas on the facing, so do that now, using the marks given on the pattern.

Then, you’ll need to change the order of construction on your dress. Place the dress front and dress back with right sides together and sew along both side seams. Finish the seams and press them open or to the back.

With the dress right side out and the facing wrong side out, place the facing around the dress, matching raw edges of the straps, armholes, and necklines, and pinning all around. Stitch the entire top edge 1/2″ from the edge. Clip and notch seam allowances as appropriate.

Turn the facing to the inside, using a long thin turning tool like a chopstick to press the seam line to the very edge between the fabrics. Press well and topstitch the seam.

From the right side of the dress, “stitch in the ditch” of the side seams to hold the facing in place. Add your snaps or buttons/buttonholes.

view inside front (hemmed facing)
view inside back (serged facing)

3. Hem the Dress

Hem the dress by pressing under 1/4″, then pressing under 1/4″ again and sewing close to the fold. OR, use last week’s hem facing tutorial to finish the dress with a hem facing.

Enjoy!

Special thanks to Willow Jane and Kristi Marie Photography for the modeled photos!

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