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STYLE SKILL LEVEL: MATERIALS: •• 1–2m medium/lightweight fabric •• 25cm interfacing BODY MEASUREMENTS: A Shoulder to shoulder plus approximately 20cm. Ensure this measurement is more than half your largest body measurement. The measurement will need to be larger by 10cm, then add 5cm for seam allowances B Shoulder to length plus 5cm for seam allowances and hem C Shoulder to waist – belt position D Shoulder to front bust – armhole measurement NOTES: Seam allowance throughout the project is variable so use as stated HOW TO MAKE: Cut two pieces of fabric using your shoulder to shoulder (width) and the shoulder to length (length) calculations (A and B), giving you two large rectangles of fabric. Pin them right sides together along one short side – this will become the top of the dress. Using a straight stitch, begin to sew in from the side of the fabric by about 20cm using a seam allowance of approximately 2.5cm (don’t forget a reverse stitch at the beginning and end of the stitching line). Repeat on the other side of the fabric to create two shoulder seams. Try the garment to check you have a large

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enough hole for your head and that it sits on your shoulders properly. Adjust as necessary by marking the position with pins. If you have made adjustments, remember to do a quick fold check to make sure the neckline is even on both sides before sewing in place. (See Pic A.)

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With the wrong sides of the fabric facing you, press over a double hem on one side of the raw edge seam and pin in place. Repeat with the other seam allowance. Even if you have only slightly curved the neckline you will need to clip the seam so that it lies nice and flat against the body; only do this 1cm into the seam so any cuts are not visible on the back of the hem. (See Pic B.)

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With a straight stitch, secure the double hem, finishing the shoulder seams as well as the neckline in one long stitch (I used contrast thread here to make it clear). You may want to match up your seam with the edge of the presser foot to give you a clean and straight topstitch. (See Pic C.)

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Before sewing the side seams together try on the garment again to find your armhole position by pinning it in place first and adjusting it. Alternatively, use your shoulder to front bust measurement by placing the tape measure tip on the shoulder seam and marking the measurement with a pin. With right sides together, pin along the side seam edge from the armhole position to the bottom hem. Sew along this length using a 2.5cm seam allowance. (See Pic D.)

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Press the seams open and continue to press over a 2.5cm single hem around the armhole. (See Pic E.)

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Repeating the process in Step 2, press the fabric under to make a double hem along the entire side seams and armhole. You can pin this in place if it makes it easier. (See Pic F.)

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Secure the double hem with a straight stitch, using the edge of the presser foot as the seam allowance guide. To ensure your underarm and neckline stitches do not become weak over time, sew a line of stitching between the two lines of parallel stitching, close to the opening of the armhole. Sew over this line a few times by using a reverse stitch. (See Pic G.)

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To make the obi-style belt, cut a strip of fabric approximately twice your waist measurement and 10–15cm wide. Cut a piece of interfacing the same length but half the width. Iron the interfacing to the wrong side of the belt. (See Pic H.)

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Fold the belt back on itself with right sides together and all edges matching before pinning in place. Starting at one end on the folded side, sew a straight stitch towards the corner. You can make this edge tapered (as shown) by sewing at an angle if you prefer. Leaving the needle in the fabric, rotate and continue along the belt for 10cm or so before securing with a backstitch. Repeat at the other end, but this time stop sewing about 10cm from your previous

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