I enjoyed presenting a seminar on using a template for faster sewing at the 51st National Square Dance Convention in St. Paul in June 2002. Here are some notes and graphics from that session:
For years I have been using a peasant blouse pattern and a skirt pattern to make various square dance dresses. On this this and several subordinate pages I describe how I use McCall's 4897 and a four-gore-skirt pattern to make the dresses pictured. Though McCall's 4897 is out of print, Simplicity 5962 and McCall’s 3650 are similar and should work fine.
We last updated this page on December 26, 2006. We will post pictures of the actual dresses in the coming weeks.
Using this pattern for the bodice is great for faster sewing because:
There is no precise fitting.
No zipper or other fastenings are needed.
No interfacing is needed.
But you will need a belt!
PATTERN SELECTION and ALTERATION
The Peasant Blouse:
LAYOUT and CUTTING
Strategies if you do not have enough fabric:
(Note: most patterns suggest a raglan sleeve be installed by sewing the front and back of the sleeve to the bodice pieces first and then sewing the underarm as one continuous seam, but I prefer the look and fit of this method, similar to a set-in sleeve.)
With Straight Stitch Machine:
THE FUN PART– USING TRIMS
Trims don’t have to match, just coordinate.
C WEAR YOUR NEW DRESS AND REAP THE COMPLIMENTS!