After all the sunny weather in Scotland combined with a holiday planned in Greece I spent this weekend making a summer dress. I treated myself to my favourite Cath Kidston mini strawberry print and went for a very girlie and simple smock dress.

cath kidston strawberry smock dress

And here is the back view:

cath kidston summer dress back

I was originally inspired by the 8 Dollar Dress Tutorial on Burda Style, however I ended up following the directions in the brilliant Making Stuff: An Alternative Craft Book. The smocking involved winding shearing elastic on the bobbin of my sewing machine and using a co-ordinating thread on the top. As I sewed around in circles using my machine feet to measure an equal distance from the previous row (avoiding the need to mark lines on the fabric), the fabric naturally started to gather up giving just the effect I was after.

The pattern was very simple and involved creating a rectangle that was comfortably wider than my hips (the widest part of my body) and 5cm longer than the length I was after to accomodate the hem and seam allowances. The final measurements of the rectangle were 115cm wide x 85cm and seem to work for a 10/12 dress size.

As ever I wasn’t happy just leaving the dress at that and started playing with some ruffles. First along the bottom hem:

cath kidston smock dress ruffle bottom

And then down the skirt:

cath kidston strawberry dress ruffle detail on skirt

And then along the top edge:

cath kidston strawberry dress

Despite the experiments, as someone who tends to put off decision making I have kept the dress plain for the time being but have kept the ruffles close by for when I feel inspired to get my sewing machine out again….