Clara Dress Sew-Along Week 1

Welcome to the Sew Liberated Clara Dress sew along! The dress is a lovely shirtwaist style dress with a keyhole sleeve detail. The skirt is comfortable and easy to wear, as it has an elastic waist and side seam pockets.

The dress can be made in a mid to lightweight fabric. The first dress I made, and the one pictured here, and in the Sew News April/May 2014 issue, is cotton with a small amount of stretch.

photo 1 Clara Dress Sew Along Week 1

I have chosen a vintage piece of cotton voile for the sew-along. It’s very lightweight and perfect for summer wear!photo 2 Clara Dress Sew Along Week 1

If you would like to join the sew-along and you have not purchased your pattern, you can easily order it here, at Or can be purchased at

When you open the pattern, you will find that the lines for each size are all solid lines and that the sizes have only been marked in one corner.

photo 3 Clara Dress Sew Along Week 1I suggest taking the time to place a pencil mark on the line of your chosen size.

photo 4 Clara Dress Sew Along Week 1I did this by placing a small dot along the line that I wanted to cut. Initially I had thought that I wouldn’t  have a problem cutting the correct line, but it didn’t take long before I was cutting on the wrong line! So, please take the time to mark the line that you will be cutting.

Before cutting your pattern, be sure to check the length of the bodice. I am a little long waisted and I saw that adding ½” to the length of my bodice would give me a comfortable fit. I also added 3” to the length of my skirt. I am 5’6” tall, and you can see in the picture below that with the added length, the skirt comes to mid knee on me.

photo 5 Clara Dress Sew Along Week 1Pay close attention to the center front skirt panel pattern piece. This panel is also used as the center back skirt panel, so you will need to cut 2 on the fold. photo 6 Clara Dress Sew Along Week 1

The grainline on this pattern piece looks as though the pattern piece would be cut so that it has a seam, photo 7 Clara Dress Sew Along Week 1

but it’s important to note that the instructions state to cut the pattern piece on the fold. photo 8 Clara Dress Sew Along Week 1

The rest of the pattern is quite easy to follow.

For the sew-along, I will be adding a lining to my skirt and a few design details that I did not add in the videos. I will not be changing the pattern, just adding some details that you might enjoy. So be sure to check the blog posts as well as the videos throughout the sew-along.

Be sure to check out my video portion for each week of the Clara Dress Sew-Along for added tips and touches.

Don’t forget there is a Flickr group for the sew along too and I would love to see your fabric choices as well as your progress, so please post pictures!! You can find the Flickr group here, at the Clara Dress Sew-Along.  If you have any questions,  be sure to post those and we’ll  do our best to help.

Thanks so much for joining along! I think that like me, the Clara Dress will become one of your favorites!

Rhonda Buss

Rhonda’s Creative Life


 Clara Dress Sew Along Week 1

About Jill

I write for the Sew News and Creative Machine Embroidery blogs. I love sewing, vintage and would love to get a comment from you!
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7 Responses to Clara Dress Sew-Along Week 1

  1. Jenny Lynn says:

    Is it okay if I both purchase the pattern and join a bit late? ;D

  2. Kathy says:

    What are the dates for the sewalong? When does it end? I want to participate but just found it and have to still order pattern and fabric. Thanks!

  3. Rhonda Buss says:

    Hi Michelle,
    The nice thing about this pattern is how easy it is to add a lining. For the skirt, no adjustments will need to be made. The skirt and lining will be sewn and then basted together at the waist before attaching the skirt to the bodice. As I said, very easy to do :)

  4. Michelle says:

    Will you be adding details on the lining you are doing? My second choice was a rather sheer voile, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to tackle making a lining for it (I’ve never done one from a pattern that didn’t have a lining and wasn’t sure if there are adjustments you need to make). But I’d be curious to learn if I make this dress again!

    • Jill says:

      Let me check with Rhonda. I know if you do the lining, you will love it, especially with a voile.