Welcome to my Tutorial for Gather’s Mortmain Dress. I’m making the sleeveless verison as I wanted a nice spring/summer dress epically with me using Makeower Origami Cranes Fabric!!! I could even wear with a Cardigan when it’s cooler to get the most out of it! Mwhahaha!
As always make sure you launder your fabric prior to you starting to cut your pattern pieces out as this allows for shrinkage as it would be a complete shame not to do this before hand and to make an awesome staple Dress, wear it and love it then to put in the wash where it’ll shrink and the dress would be too small to wear!
First open up the envelope and make yourself a brew and read the instructions and make a list of materials/equipment you need if you don’t have them already so no last minute dash to the local haberdashery store or waiting days for online orders lol!
My Construction list:
The Mortmain Dress Pattern by Gather
2m of the ever sooooo gorgeous Makeower Origami Cranes from their Sakura Collection.
Guterman Thread – There’s no other thread like it in my opinion, you do need good quality thread as it does show in your creations.
Paper Scissors – For cutting Pattern Pieces out as these will blunt and make cutting fabric out quite uneven!
Fabric Scissors/ Rotary Cutter
French Curve – Handy for getting those straight lines whilst cutting out your fabric when using a rotary cutter or to grade in between sizes if your measurements are in between sizes.
Pencil for use when grading between sizes If applicable.
Iron and Ironing Board
And last but not least the Trusty Sewing Machine, Normal sewing foot and Zip foot.
Also make sure you have plenty of thread in your bobbin as there isn’t anything worse than getting halfway through sewing a long stretch of your garment and to find you have only sewn half of it, trust me this has happened many times LOL
According to my measurements I’m a Size 12 so I didn’t have to do any grading for a change!! Woo-hoo! so i followed the size 12 cutting line.
But if you do need to adjust the pattern to fit as you are in between sizes then check out my previous post here where i show you to do it 🙂
Now then, you can go ahead and cut straight into the paper pattern to the size you require and to make sure you add any nothces/markings onto the paper then cut out the pieces 🙂
A handy tip for the darts I put a pin through the paper and fabric then gently pull away the paper to leave the pin in the fabric then match up the lines to the bottom of the dart with tailors chalk for ease of sewing.
Now to add the Interfacing: from your pattern pieces you should have 2 x Neck Facing front, 2 x Neck Facing Back, 2 x Armhole Facing front and 2 x Armhole Facing Back. Likewise, you should have 2 of everything cut from the interfacing.
Now for the interface to be applied correctly you have to make sure that the textured side of the interfacing is on the wrongside of the fabric like I’ve shown here:
With ironing Interfacing you have to be careful of not to scorch your fabric but for it to be hot enough to fuse the Interfacing.
So what I tend to do is to use a tea towel over my fabric and Interfacing and gently steam on top.
Now to construct the Darts in the Bodice, we need to sew all darts on the Bodice Front and Bodice Back.
Now with Darts, make sure you fold the fabric Right Sides Together:
I tend to start from where the Dart ends so its easier to keep that perfect sewn line just to member don’t back stitch here just tie the ends together as this prevents the dart looking bulky not a good look to have madonna style points LOL! But back stitch at the end of the dart (the widest bit) to secure. repeat for all Darts on the Front and Back Bodice.
Press the waist darts in towards the centre and the bust darts down towards the waistband.
With Right Sides Together, sew the Front Bodice to the Back Bodice at the Shouder Seams.
Then with Right Sides Together still, sew both Bodices at the sides. At this pont you can try it on to see how it fits and make any adjustments if neccesary 🙂
Finish all the seams on the Bodice and press open.
I finish my seams by cutting down the seam to about half of the original size and then overlock the edges as my machine has that stitch option. No worries if you don’t you can use a small zig zag stitch for the same effect.
Now onto the Skirt:
With the Right Sides Together, sew the Back Skirt pieces to the Front Skirt at the Side Seams using the side notches as guide. Finish the Seams and Press open.
Prepare the Pleats on the Skirt.
With the Wrong Side of the Skirt facing you, bring the outer notches of each pleat to meet the centre notch.
This will form a box pleat on the Right Side of the Skirt.
Pin and Press each Pleat as you go as this makes it easier to tack them evenly.
Then tack in Place 1cm away from the top edge of the Skirt. Basically tacking is a stitch that isn’t back stitched its just there to hold the fabric together until you have the permanent stitch in place – its stop the fabric from moving around.
For a different look, you could construct the pleats from the Right side of the Fabric, rather than the Wrong Side.
Now that’s the Bodice and the Skirt constructed now onto the Waistband!
With the Right Sides Together, sew the Front and Back waistband pieces together at the Side Seams. Finish the Seams and Press them open.
Attaching the Bodice, Waistband and Skirt all together!
To begin with with the Right Sides Together pin the Waistband to the Bodice, matching the notches and Side Seams first then stretching and easing the the rest of the Waistband to fit.
Sew together, finish the seams and the press downwards towards the Waistband.
With Right Sides Together Pin and Sew the Skirt to the Waistband, matching the notches and Side Seams first then stretching and easing the the rest of the fabric to fit.
Remove the tacking stitches from the Skirt pleats.
Finish the seams and press upwards towards the Waistband.
Woo-hoo the dress is nearly there!
Now to finish the Neck and armholes 🙂
With the Right Sides Together, Sew the Front Neck Facing to the back Neck Facing at the Side Seams. Finish the Seams and Press them open.
Finish the Facing with a line of Stay Stitching approximatley 1cm in from the outer edge and then Finish the Raw edge or you cam neaten the raw edge with pinking shears whatever takes your fancy 😉
With the Right Sides Together pin the Neck Facing to the Bodice matching the Notches and the Side Seams and Sew in place.
Next, trim the Seam Allowance of the facing to half the width of the Bodice Seam Allowance.
Clip the Bodice Neckline Seam Allowance along the Curve. Clipping notches into the Seam Allowance will give the collar a nice crisp edge and it helps it fold over nicely.
Press the Facing upwards onto the Bodice Seam.
Now understitch appoximatley 0.5cm of the Facing from the inside of the dress.
Turn the Facing down into the Dress and press. Now i find it helps a lot to keep the facing where it should be if you ‘Stitch the Ditch’. These is where you sew along the seam of the joined fabric already at the Shoulder Seams where they will disapear like I’ve shown here:
Now for the Armhole Facings:
With the Right Sides Together, pin and sew the Front Sleeve Facing to the Back Sleeve Facing. Finish the Seams and press open.
Finish the Facing with a line of Staystitching approximatley 1cm in from the outer edge then Finish the Raw edge or you can neaten the raw edge with pinking shears whatever takes your fancy 😉
With the Right Sides Together, pin the Facing to the outside of the Armhole, lining up the Seams and Notches. Ensure the Front Facing is at the Front and that the Back facing is at the Back – the notches will help you to do this and sew place.
Now reduce the Seam Allowance for the Facing to half the width of the Armhole Seam Allowance and then clip the Armhole Seam Allowance along the curve.
Press the Facing outwards onto the Bodice Seam.
Understitch approximatley 0.5cm from the Seam Allowance to the Facing from the inside of the Dress.
Turn the Facing down to the inside of the Dress and Press. And like what i have done with my Neck facings of Stitching the Ditch you can do that here also.
Of course repeat the previous steps for the other Armhole 🙂
Now to insert the Zip!
Take your Zip and lay it along the Raw edge of the Back of the Dress, with the top of the zip teeth flush with the top of the neckline. Mark on the dress with Tailor’s chalk where the bottom of the Zip teeth lie.
With Right Sides Together sew the Seam below the Zipper opening of the Centre Back of the Skirt down from the point you marked with 1.5cm Seam Allowance and remeber to back stitch at the top.
Cut diagonally into the Zip Seam Allowance, starting 2cm from the Zip end line towards the corner and be careful not to cut through the staystitching.
Finish and press the Seam below the Zip Opening, then press the triangles that you’ve cut downwards.
Fold along the Stay stitching to the Right Side and press.
On the Right Side of the Fabric, align the top of the Zip teeth to the top of the Dress and pin in place all the way down, ensuring there is no fabric covering the teeth from the back.
Fold the top of the Zip Tape to the back of the Dress and bottom of the Zip under. I pinned and tacked the Zip in place one side at a time for ease. The folded edge of the Dress will extend beyond the Zip – this will be trimmed back later.
Now to change to your Zipper foot on your Sewing Machine and starting at the the top of the Dress, Sew down one side of the Zip, close to the teeth as you can but remember that you also need to catch the fabric underneath too. Repeat for the other side. Remove the tacking stitches.
Trim away the excess fabric from under the Zip. Edgestitch the Zip in place and sew across the bottom also to secure.
Now just to hem the Dress!!
Try on your Dress and decide what Skirt length you desire.
Now i measured i needed to take off 5.5cm taking off but to hem this nicely i added an extra 3.5cm on so i chopped off 9cm then finished the raw edge of the Skirt.
Press under the 3.5cm Hem Allowance and Pin and Sew in place as per instructions.
Alternativly, i didn’t finish the hem of the Skirt as i folded the hem twice and then sewn in place to help add some weight to the bottom as i tend to find my skirts a bit lightweight when a slight wind is about which isnt good look to flashing your bits in public LOL
And there you go one Mortmain Dress!! Now this Dress is great to try out new skills as long as you take your time with it and not rush you’ll be fine!
Now i hope you have enjoyed my tutorial and has helped you along the way but if you are stuck then give me a shout here or on twitter, facebook or instagram and be’d happy to help!
A very big thank you to Lynne at And Sew Forth for providing me the ever so lovely fabric of Orgami Cranes from Makeower UK Sakura Collection. It was a beauty to sew with and for me to go a daring colour rather than sticking with my blues was a good choice!
Now finally onto my giveaway!!! Hurrah I hear you say!
The lovely Caroline from Gather has kindly given me not 1, not 2 but 3 Paper Patterns from their collection!!! How awesome is that!!
I have the Mortmain Dress where I’ve just shown you how to make it, The Tallis – Such a Detachable Collar and the The Buchanan – a uber gorgeous Dressing Gown!!
Unfortnatley this giveaway will be open to UK and Northern Ireland due to postage costs. So to be in with a chance of winning these 3 patterns just leave me a comment! I’ll draw a winner on Friday 15th April 2016.
41 thoughts on “Gather’s Mortmain Dress Tutorial and a Giveaway!”
Wow, what a comprehensive tutorial with so many photos to cover each step! It’s a great dress and the origami cranes are lovely and quirky – I love Makower fabrics:)
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Thank you I hope I’ve not gone overboard lol
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Oh wow wish i could sew this good xx cant wait till i get my 2 yr old in full time nursery so can get practising xx just need materiel lol
Aww thanks vicky! I’m sure you will be good!As long as you take it steady and enjoy it, believe you and me I’ve had many mishaps at the beginning of my sewing journey geez I still have now! We aren’t perfect. I know what you mean by sewing in peace my youngest is 3 and he’s at a lovely age to play with his brother while I can get some done x
Great Tutorial! Very detailed and lovely fabric!! Thanks for sharing this with us.
Your welcome sharon 😀
Thank you for the tutorial! I’ll definitely look back at it again next time I have to attach a neckline facing – it never goes quite as well as I hope… Love the fabric and exposed zip too. 🙂
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Thanks Emily I know facings can be a pain in the butt so hopefully this will help people so they stay in place properly ☺
What lovely fabric! The dress shape is gorgeous too, great for curves!
Thank you it is a great pattern x
What a lovely dress and a great tutorial, as a beginner it covers everything and I will definitely be attempting this dress, lovely fabric too x
I’m glad to hear it! It’s sometimes daunting with trying a new pattern and sometimes you need to see how someone has done it than looking at words x
Really love the tutorial its so easy to follow and this dress would be great for kids 🙂 maybe matching outfits 🙂
That’s a lovely dress, and a great tutorial, thank you!
Fabulous fabric choice. It’s a lovely pattern too. Not heard of this brand before!
It’s a great pattern brand you will def have to check out their site
Love this dress and tutorial, what a fab job you’ve done!
Thank you Lisa 🙂
What a brilliant tutorial! Can’t beat a picture guide says I. I love gathered skirt and exposed zip on this frock- it looks pretty yet modern. I’ve got some yellow fabric that would be delightful in this pattern! Xxx
Thanks Kath you should definitely make one in yellow! X
Lovely dress, and your tutorial is great! Perfect for summer 🙂 just need some sun now! X
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I’ll second the sun just typical British weather x
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Yay, Im thrilled to bits to have found this tutorial for the Mortmain dress, have been searching for one for quite some time 🙂 Im a beginner seamstress and have just finished my first dress, the Mortmain actually. 😉 Its wearable but the fit is poor as the bodice is too large on me. Seems like Im between sizes, size UK 8 for the bodice and UK 10 for the waist and skirt. So now I have to figure out how to grade between sizes, I find it somewhat complicated as a newbie. 😉 For instance I dont know from where I should start to draw the line on the bodice pattern and where it should end…??? I love the way the Mortmain dress looks so Im not giving up on it yet, if only I could get the fitting right.
Hi monica if you have a look on my other tutorial of Sew Simple nancy Tunic dress tutorial https://sewsweetsally.wordpress.com/2015/10/28/simple-sew-nancy-tunic-top-and-dress-tutorial/ ill show you how to grade in between sizes and I’d recommend that you start to grade from the Bust just after the dart and down to the waist for the 10 but remeber to keep your the size 8 darts in place too. Hope that helps but if not just message me! Good on ya for giving it a go x
Thank you for answering my question. 🙂 I will have a look at the other tut. If I understand you correctly I should not doing anything about the size 8 darts, leave them alone and start drawing the line from under the bust after the dart down to waist. Do you mind if I send you a DM on instagram, showing my drawn line on the bodice pattern? 🙂
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Yep that’s okay with me and yeah I don’t mind you dm on Instagram
It would help if id give you my id! I’m the_mrsk_06 on Instagram I’ve also got a Facebook page Facebook.com/sewsweetsally
Oh I forgot, I wanted to thank you so much for taking your time to write this tutorial, Im forever grateful!! 🙂
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Ooo just found your lovely blog and this fantastic post. Double yey!
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Thank you 😀
Great post. I’m quite new to sewing and it’s always great to see how others tackle a challenge – it gives me the confidence to give it a go 🙂
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Well why not and go challenge yourself Jay! 😀
Wow! I’m just starting my journey with dress making! Thankyou for sharing this so clearly! It’s going to be really helpful to me! Love your blog!❤️
Awww thank you!
Hi Sally, I’ve just found your blog (via thefoldline) and this tutorial, it’s great! I’m always interested to see how others tackle garment construction and the step by step photographs are very clear. I’ve never used a pattern from this indie company before and it’s really inspired me to take another look. Thanks!
Thanks for a great post! I’ve had my eye on this pattern for a while and this will really help if I get stuck! I love your fabric choice too 🙂
Wow this is a fantastic tutorial 😀 Would love to be entered. I am based in Ireland but I have a UK address via Parcel Motel so it is only uk postage you pay 😀