Four Square Dress
Four Square Dress
This bias dress is just one pattern piece cut four times with 6 seams, including the three quarter shoulder/sleeve seams. It has cut-in-one sleeves with gussets and a full circle skirt of squares. The neck is a stand-up close to the body. There is no closure since the bias cut adjusts itself to figure contours as it drops over the head like a T-shirt. The skirt may be stitchedas shown or stitched as a straight skirt with triangular floating panels.
It fits smoothly without darts or restrictive seaming, has lots of movement and comfort, just skims the body with no cling and looks super chic! But it comes with a caveat -- you have to focus on the fabric decision so it delivers the look 100%. Don't go experimenting with the first one. The best fabrics for this one are fabrics that would be described as very "drapey", that is, when you hold them up by one corner they "drop like a rock", very straight with hardly any flaring out into an A-line. Fabrics like silk, rayon or synthetic crepe, silk velvets, loosely woven rayon challis or even very loosely woven sheer wools like the brown sample on the pattern cover. The blue dress in the pattern images is made from a drapey rayon crepe. (TIP: Due to the diagonal grain in the sleeves, in certain fabrics without enough bias action, it may fit too snug and require 1" seams to allow for adjustment.)
It is cut two ways in a single pattern piece. The top is both cut and worn on the bias and the skirt is worn on the bias too but it is cut on the straight grain. In the samples, the skirt is stitched right sides together. However, with reversible fabric, the side seams of the top can be extended straight down into the skirt, flipping it to wrong sides together which creates 8 triangular "wings" around the skirt.
The dress doesn't require lining, zipper, hand sewing, under support like facings, interfacings, shoulder pads, etc. The edges are all finished by machine. You just toss it over your head and you're dressed! Plus, you can do it as a top, short, or full length with a band at the bottom for extra fabric width.
Plus, plus, plus! -- it is the ultimate maternity dress! The bias cut enables the dress to start out skinny and expand as you do, all the while looking beautifully proportioned with an even hem throughout -- quite amazing.
It is sized: SM = 36" (91.4 cm), MD = 38" (96.5 cm), LG = 41" (104.1 cm)
For a primer on bias thinking and fabric selection for this design, check out Bias Exposed, a Threads Magazine article, which I wrote in January 2012. And to keep up your learning curve, subscribe to Threads! For more details . . .
Due to the unusual bias cut, this pattern requires intermediate to advanced sewing skills -- not for beginners.