Swirl Dress Sew-A-Long


Beccie is hosting a sweet Swirl Dress sew along and for once I got in at the beginning versus when it’s all over and everyone is enjoying the eye candy.  It doesn’t begin in earnest until the 29th so you can get in on it too.  Truthfully at first I thought she was talking about that Walk Away dress but this is different.  I’m excited, first of all to be sewing along with her and secondly this dress looks to be very practical and depending upon how I want to go with it I may wear it at home and for worship.  There is nothing like versatility of fashion.

This is the pattern used for this sew-a-long:


Whetting my appetite for this project I went surfing the net.  I found this article about the Swirl dress. The Vintage Traveler weighs in on the conversation too with interesting research.

Oh to make one THIS sassy!

Come join in the fun.  It’s a great way to meet new sewing cyber buddies.  Oh, she’ll be putting up a Facebook page where we can all keep in touch and chat about our Swirl dress.  🙂


Shopped my stash and this beauty won out.


Before selecting this I had been thinking of embellishments.  I’ll bet there will be a slew of rick rack and maybe even some piping.  With so much going on in this fabric I am wondering if more is needed.  I still have a day or so to think about it.

Today I’m piecing together the pdf pattern pieces.  Yikes!  This is my first time using a pdf pattern.  I’m already semi-spazzing because the diagram (thank gawd Beccie included one) shows a 3C piece that I do not have.  Now Beccie already warned us not to trip out and have fun so I’m kinda embarrassed to ask the group about it.  I’m going to go ahead and start taping.  I may be missing something.


Update:  11/3

Taping and cutting accomplished I have started construction.

Darts in bodice front and back completed
Cute button from my stash

One of the sewists convinced me to go ahead and learn the bound buttonhole technique.  There is a really good tutorial in Gertie’s book (which I happen to have, yay).  For some reason I had decided, in my mind, that they were too difficult to master.  Really it only makes sense especially because I have a vintage straight stitch machine with no zig zag capability for a “standard” button hole.  It’s interesting how fear is conquered when you just do the thing.

Update:  11/5

The button covers the hole therefore I trying to now be discouraged.  It’s a first attempt.  I’m simply glad that I tried it and I am sure subsequent ones will look much better.  I thought my line drawings were straight so when I pulled the patch through to the front I was surprised that the hole is wonky.  I am assuming that means I did not sew straight lines perhaps?  Of course I  thought I did.

Advanced sewists feel free to critique because one of my goals is learning and growing in my sewing skills.  The instructions called for fusible interfacing which I did not have.   I “made do” with regular interfacing.  I wonder if that affected the outcome of my button hole now that I think of it.  Hmm?

Making a bound buttonhole
I learned that I did not pull the sides of the lips back enough on the left.

The trim on this dress is 2.5″ wide and is made from fabric on the straight of grain.  Looking at my stash nothing touched me and I decided to use bias tape.  The tape I have is half the size of the trim and after studying the bodice I decided the 2.5″ is indeed a nice width.  An idea came to me to sew two tape pieces together to make it the right height.   Dying to incorporate piping on this project I decided to sew piping between two bias tape rows and that made it the right height and I get to use one of my new favorite trim.  As one who rarely comes up with cool ideas I am kinda proud of this.  Check it out . . .

Swirl Dress Pockets – Bias and piping will trim the bodice too!

Decided to scrap these pockets in favor of another style that came with the pattern.


Meanwhile, one of the sewists from the Swirl group shared Jennifer Rosbrough’s video on stroking gathers which we’ll need to do for the skirt portion of our dress. Not bad; not hard either so I’ll sharing it with you.




Looking at this rear view I am going to add red piping down the edge of the skirt.

11/26/2014 – Update:  I added red piping along the edge of the skirt this morning.  It makes SUCH a difference.  I was too lazy to re-model the frock though, LOL.

12/7/2014 – Photo Update:

Piping added to rear skirt

This sew-a-long was a blast and I do believe I have made a new lifelong friend as a result of participating.  Now, on to the next one.  Beccie has another sew-a-long planned for the first of the year.  Yay!






Sobriety from electronic sewing since 2012


13 thoughts on “Swirl Dress Sew-A-Long

    1. Good eye, Rita. I am trying to be more girly-girl with this love affair with all things vintage and vintagy and the recreating of my new wardrobe. I see so many things online that lend themselves to my new venture; i.e., wedge heeled 40’s style shoes and so forth. It’s fun.


    1. Hello Tropical Threads,

      I did install the piping along the back edge. Perhaps you’ve persuaded me to take a pic of it. I just won’t have on the hosiery and heels, giggles. Thank you for stopping by and complimenting. This made my heart glad.


  1. This dress is so pretty.. You and your sew along group did such good jobs on your swirl dresses.. I am in love with that pattern..It really looks nice on you.
    I see you are making another one for your Dec. project. Cant wait to see it..
    I have been not doing much “me sewing” in 2014, but you have encouraged me to pull out those vintage patterns again.. ha Thank you. Happy sewing.


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