Pleated summer dress

This red dress is my last summer project. It is one of my favourite 'selfish' makes to date. However it almost wasn't made.

Around three months ago Emily of In the Folds released a free pattern in collaboration with Peppermint magazine, the Pleated Summer Dress pattern. I fell in love with this pattern. I raced to Officeworks as soon as I could to have an A0 size pattern printed. Once I returned home I cut out size C and without making a muslin sewed a dress... that turned out a complete disaster!

I was heartbroken. I enjoyed sewing the dress but I could not wear it. It was simply too big. I tried to do a quick fix by taking it in at the side seams, but it didn't achieve much. I still looked as if I was wearing a tent. I pulled the dress apart and reused the fabric for another project.

I could not get the pleated dress out of my head though. A few weeks ago I decided to give it another go. This time I was not going to skip making a muslin! I carefully remeasured myself and compared my measurements with both body and finished garment measurements. I made a muslin of the bodice and a shortened skirt in size B. The fit around the bust and shoulders was perfect, however everything lower looked too big.

I thought to myself that maybe just because I can sew I shouldn't make this dress. Then I sort of listened to what I just thought and laughed. And decided that since I can sew I can make this dress to fit ME! Me! The tall, somewhat slim, with wide shoulders, tiny bust and not the biggest hips me. 

I picked up my muslin and started taking the side seams in, from nothing at the armhole to whatever felt right at the bottom of the bodice. How many goes I have had doing this I do not remember. I posted a progress photo on Instagram. I really wasn't sure if my alteration efforts were highlighting my craziness or enthusiasm. After many attempts I decided that 'shaving' off 2.5 cm at the bottom of the bodice on each side was perfect for me. I narrowed the skirt pieces by 2.5 cm on each side as well. In total I 'shaved' 10 cm off the waist of the dress.

I was finally ready to cut into my 'good' fabric. I used lightweight ruby red linen from The Fabric Store. The fabric feels great, and the colour is amazing! Did you know that red is my favourite colour? I thought that plain colour would be best to highlight the gorgeous details of the dress. And the details is what makes this dress so unique and why I could not get it out of my head.

The neckline on the front of the bodice and the armholes are finished with bias binding that is visible on the right side of the dress. I am sure there is a proper term for it, but I just can't think of it at the moment. I would usually try to avoid using bias binding on a visible side of a garment, but I discovered a cool little trick that made my sewing life much easier!

The insides of the bodice are so pretty! The shoulder seams are 'sandwiched' between the back yoke pieces. This was a new technique for me, and I have had so much fun doing it! When I made the first dress I followed the instructions completely. For this dress, I sandwiched the bottom part of the bodice between the yoke pieces also. It was much easier to do than to explain.

The most intriguing detail is the placket. The construction of this placket is simply genius. I do recommend to practice it first. I tried to imagine how this placket would be made white reading the instructions, but I couldn't. Once I had a little practice everything made perfect sense. I did interface the entire placket, however next time I will only interface the sections where I will be making buttonholes and sewing the buttons on and make sure that interfacing doesn't go over the fold lines. I didn't have an issue with a fully interfaced placket on my first dress, however on this one interfacing was sneakily peeking between the layers of the placket. Yes, you can't really see it in these photos. I scratched it off! I am probably going to a sewing hell for doing this, but hey, it worked!

Another detail that I love about this pattern is the pleated skirt. I am that crazy person who loves sewing pleats. Oh, this dress has pockets, too ;)

My dress is more fitted than Emily intended, but I feel great in it. I hope we will enjoy warm weather for a few more weeks so I get some wear out of this dress before it gets cooler.

So, have you downloaded a copy of this pattern yet? You can find it HERE.


  1. It is a beautiful dress. Your pleats are perfect and that fabric is just gorgeous! I think you were right to choose a solid.

  2. I LOVE how this dress turned out! The color is gorgeous on you, and the pleated skirt is perfection - as is that placket!! Totally worth all the work you put into it. The fit is lovely.


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