Sewing: The Walkaway Dress

14 08 2016

You may or may not remember that last year, after making my first top, I attempted the walkaway dress, but had some trouble.

Well, after tweeting that year’s Sewing Bee contestants for help (the pattern was from the book accompanying the series), they put me in touch with the lady that actually wrote the book and she sent me a really helpful email which answered my questions and problems. The next issue was just getting started again. I don’t have space for my sewing machine where I live at the moment, and each time I’ve visited my parents lately there hasn’t been time for setting all my sewing stuff up. But when a year passed I realised that if I didn’t set myself a deadline I’d never do it, so I decided I’d wear the dress to my housemate’s wedding (which was yesterday) and so it had to be done by then!

Once I gave time to it, it wasn’t too hard to do at all – I was surprised that it was categorised as easy in the book when I saw it, but as I did it, I realised that was true! it takes a LOT of thread as you hem the huge circle skirt and bias bind all the raw edges, but there’s nothing too complicated. The hardest bit for me was sewing the buttons on! There should have been one on the back and three on the front, but I ran out of bias binding (so maybe round up their measurement for that when buying) so just did one on the back and one on the front – and that was more than enough for me, I’ve always hated doing buttons!

I altered the pattern slightly in that I just added a few inches to the length of the skirt to make it go below the knee which I prefer. This was the first dress I’ve ever made and I’m really pleased with it.

I’ll be moving house soon and once I’m settled should have space for my sewing machine. I also got Chinelo Bally’s “Freehand Fashion” book for my birthday, so can’t wait to try out some of her stuff – sewing without patterns! Watch this space.



2 responses

5 07 2020

What was the solution to the notches problem on the skirt and bodice. I am stuck at the same place

10 07 2020

hey, sorry for taking a while to reply! I’ve pasted the info from the email I got back below – hope it helps!


Sorry to hear you’ve had some problems with the walkaway dress.
I’ll address each of the points on your blog post seperately.

Q) The line marked Centre Back was on the fold, even though if you sew the two pieces together, the seam, not the fold, would go down the Centre Back. Maybe this has something to do with it?
A) At the 11th hour and to save time tracing plus paper, we cut the original half circle pattern piece to a quarter circle piece. You’re correct that the seam does indeed go to the centre back. The wording along that edge should in fact say side seam, so sorry that’s been confusing for you. Provided you’ve cut it according to the pattern layout, it should all marry, with the folds at the sides, and the join in the centre back

Q) The skirt has 4 notches, the back bodice has 2
A) This is an error, the skirt should only have the notches towards the front, but as the pieces are on the fold, it’s made a mirror notch that shouldnt be there. In fact there seems to be an issue with the placement of the notch, which means i’d suggest you ignore the notches altogther.

Q) Most critically, the back bodice waist is far shorter than the skirt waist, when they should match exactly…
A) I’ve measured the master pattern pieces, and they should measure up as follows for the size 12
– The waist of the skirt should measure 36.5 cm from the centre back to the centre front(excluding the seam allowance at the back)
– the waist of the bodice should measure 38 cm from the centre front to the centre back( excluding the 2.5 cm back dart)
This means there’s a little ease between the 2, but the back bodice is not shorter than the skirt.
I suggest you measure your skirt and back bodice, and make the back darts smaller to compensate. ie unoick and re-sew a narrower dart. Say for example your bodice is 1.5 cm smaller than the skirt from the front of one half to the back. Re-sew the back dart as a 1 cm dart, rather than a 2.5 cm dart, which will release the extra length you need.
Do let me know if this helps, or if you have the measuremnts of your pieces i can try and help with the adjustemnts needed
best wishes:)

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