Make It: How to Sew Your Own Givenchy Rugby Dress

This is the second part of my post on how to make a Givenchy inspired rugby dress. In PART 1 I showed you how I devised the pattern whilst here in part 2 I will demonstrate how I sewed my colour block design and reveal the final pictures!

sew a rugby dress
The final design of my rugby dress

Washing the fabric:

Before I started sewing I needed to wash my fabric. I was using a medium weight viscose jersey from myfabrics.co.uk. The washing instructions provided said that it could be put in the machine on a 30˚C cycle. Although, to be safe I used a delicate wash instead of the regular cycle. I then hung it on an airer to dry. However, when I looked at the fabric the following day there appeared to be puckers or distortion where the fabric had stretched out of shape on the corners of the airer.

Sew a givenchy dress
The puckers on the fabric that were found after drying on the airer.

When cutting the fabric I had to make sure I avoided these areas. Additionally, I will have to cautious when washing and drying the finished dress to make sure it doesn’t stretch out of shape.

I also found that before the fabric went into the machine it was quite soft however when it came out the machine it felt a bit rougher.

Cutting the fabric:

  • I cut the fabric using a rotary cutter, cutting mat and pattern weights.
  • When cutting your fabric transfer any notches that will help you match up your pattern pieces.
  • I found it easier to keep the colour block fabric pieces attached to the pattern pieces until I started to sew with them. This helped me identify each section.
Sew a colour block dress
Cut out your fabric pieces

How to sew the dress:

Before you start:

Unless stated otherwise I will be using a 1.5 cm SA. As I was sewing with a stretch fabric I used a ball point needle and a walking foot. I choose a triple straight stretch stitch, however, you could also use a zig zag stitch or an overlocker.

When sewing with 2 different coloured fabrics I used 2 different coloured threads, one in the spool to match the fabric that would be on top as I was feeding it through the machine and one in the bobbin to match the fabric that would be on the bottom. I thought it looked a bit neater as the stitching line was less obvious.

Join the colour block sections:

1) Sew together the colour block sections that make up the front of the dress.

  • Pin and stitch each piece, RST.
  • Ensure you match up the notches.
  • I found it easier to pin and sew the dress section by section as shown in the photos, rather than pinning the entire dress front together and then stitching each seam.
  • When joining the pieces that were either side of the button placket I used a french seam. This was because I didn’t want any messy seams exposed when I opened placket. Click HERE to find out how to sew a French Seam
sew a rugby dress
Join the colour block sections of the front of the dress

2) Sew together the colour block sections to make up the back of the dress.

Sew a rugby dress

Sew colour block dress
Join the colour block sections of the back of the dress

3) Pin and sew the colour block sections of the sleeves, RST.

sew colour block dress
Join the colour block sections of the sleeves
  • The way I designed my sleeves meant that I had to sew around a tight curve. I made sure I took my time as I wanted to avoid any ugly puckering,
  • Cut notches in the seam allowance under the curve to release the tension. This will help the seam to lay flat. Do not cut through the stitching line!
sew rugby dress
Cut notches under the curve

Assemble the dress:

4) Insert the partial button placket. Read HERE for more details.

sew a button placket
Insert the button placket

5) Pin the front and back of the dress together at the shoulder seams, RST. Sew.

  • I stabilised this seam with clear elastic so that it doesn’t get distorted out of shape over time.
Stabilise the seam with clear elastic
Stabilise the seam with clear elastic

6) Pin the front and back of the dress together at the side seams, RST. Sew.

sew a givenchy rugby dress
Sew the front and back of the dress together at the shoulder and side seams

7) Sew the pocket. Click HERE to find out more!

8)Pin the pocket to the dress. Topstitch in place.

  • Before sewing, I pinned the pocket in place and then tried on the dress. This allowed me to check that I was happy with the positioning.
  • To make sure my topstitching was even I aligned the pocket edge with the centre guideline on the presser foot. I then switched the needle position to the left so it is on the inside edge of the pocket and sew.
sew a colour block dress
Pin the pocket to the dress. Topstitch in place.

9) Sew the collar and attach it to the dress. There will be another tutorial on how to do this soon.

  • I would baste the collar in place with a large zig zag stitch before you attach it permanently. This means it is easy to remove should there be any fit problems.
  • When I made the toile I found that the collar was a couple of cm too small so I redrafted the collar and increased the length. However, when I made actual garment I found that the collar was 9 cm too big. This was very annoying!!!! So I had to shorten the collar.
  • The collar didn’t look as symmetrical as I would have liked after I shortened it.
sew a collar to the dress
Sew the collar and attach it to the dress
sew a rugby dress
The back of the collar

The dreaded buttonholes!!!

10) Sew the button holes on the top button placket

  • I wanted 5 buttonholes on the placket and one on the collar.
sew a givenchy dress
The buttons I used for my dress
  • Traditionally buttonholes on plackets are sewn vertically whilst those on collars are sewn horizontally.
  • Buttonholes are usually sewn vertically on plackets as they take up less space and fit more neatly on the placket.
  • The buttons for the placket were 3.4cm in size. A smaller button was used for the collar as there was not enough space.
  • I tried on the dress to position where I wanted the buttonhole at the cleavage to sit. For my dress I wanted the button to be in a suitable position so that I could wear the dress placket open towards the neckline. I also wanted to avoid gaping at the bust.
  • I then evenly spaced the rest of the buttons around the one I positioned at the cleavage.
  • The first buttonhole was placed 4 cm from bottom of the placket. I separated the centre points of the buttons by 6.5 cm.
sew a colour block rugby dress
The black lines show how I positioned each buttonhole. They are are 6.5 cm apart.
  • The buttonholes were perhaps a couple of mm too big which combined with my big bust resulted in gaping and pulling. As a result I had to topstitch the bottom half of the placket closed.
  • It may have been better to sew horizontal buttonholes as that way the buttons have space to move across the body.

11) Sew the buttons on the bottom placket.

  • To position the button correctly, I pinned the placket closed and then used my air soluble marker to draw the position of the buttonholes on the bottom placket. I did this pushing the nib of the pen through the buttonhole to mark the fabric underneath.
sew a colour block dress
Sew on the buttons

The Sleeves

12) Pin and sew the underarm seam of the sleeve, RST.

13) Insert the sleeve.

  • Sew a parallel row of gathering stitches along the top of each sleeve. Sew one row 0.5 cm and one row 1 cm from the edge of the fabric.
  • Use the gathering stitches to fit the sleeve into the armhole RST. Pin in place. Make sure the underarm seam matches up with the side seam. Try to keep the gathering even, you do not want areas of fullness.
  • Sew the sleeve in place.

14) Sew the hems on the sleeves.

  • Sew a double turned hem. First, turn under the hem by 1.5 cm and press. Then fold the hem under by another 2 cm and press.
  • I sewed the hem using a twin needle as I think it gives a bit more of a professional finish.
  • Try on the dress before you sew the hem to double check that the sleeve lengths are equal.

The finishing touches

15) Hem the dress

  • Sew a double turned hem. First, turn under the hem by 2 cm and press. Then fold the hem under by another 2.5 cm and press.
  • As I did with the sleeve, I sewed the hem using a twin needle.
  • I tried on the dress to check the length before I started hemming. I wanted my dress to be knee length.

Finished!!!

 

Overall I am really pleased with the finished dress. I am so surprised that all the colour block sections matched up. The button placket and collar look pretty smart. Even if the collar is a bit unsymmetrical. It is annoying that the button holes don’t work particularly well but I was unlikely to use them anyway so sewing them shut was no real problem. One thing that I wasn’t aware of is that the fabric is quite clingy so there is a difference in fit between the toile and actual dress. I did try and let out the side seams but it left little needle holes. That isn’t going to stop me wearing it though! As I was using jersey I didn’t bother finishing the seams. I do regret this as it does look a tad messy on the inside.

I have also done a price comparison of how much the Givenchy dress cost vs how much it cost for me to make my version.

  • The Givenchy dress from Matches Fashion cost £2,395.
  • My rugby dress cost £46. Which included the cost of the fabric, buttons and thread.

 

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