How to Make a Quilted Gemstone Dress

Girl in pink dress leaning on the wall

I am really excited about this Gemstone Dress!

I had drawn out this dress as mid thigh and racerback, but couldn’t quite decide on a quilt design for it. Initially, I wanted a butterfly border on it, but I just couldn’t find a quilted butterfly I liked enough.  Enter this gemstone! Isn’t it so awesome?

I knew I wanted it to be a border print, but on a circle skirt?

It’s not as hard as you would think.

I started by tracing my basic circle skirt.  Next, you’ll need to measure your quilt block.  This block comes in 6″ and 8.”  I wanted it just a bit smaller, so I printed the 6″ block at 75% which gave me a 4.5″ finished block.

Knowing the size of my block, I can nicely fit four across the bottom of one-fourth of the circle skirt.  So, I would need 16 gemstone blocks total.

Fold the skirt pattern piece in half and then half again.  This will give you the width you’ll need for your blocks.

I wanted room above and below the actual gemstone, so I measured up 7″ from the bottom of the skirt piece and drew a line.  Remember this is a circle skirt so the top should curve as the bottom curves.  (measure 7″ up from all across the bottom.

Trace this shape you just made, adding 1/4″ seam allowance across the top and sides.

Now, the bottom is curved so I had to add more to this block to make it work.  Start by following directions of foundation paper piecing.

Place your first fabric wrong side down onto section 1.

Fold along the line between sections 1 and 2.

Trim down to 1/4.”  I have this awesome ruler that has a lip on it so you get a perfect 1/4″ cut every time.

Place your fabric for section 2, right sides together along the edge you just cut.

Fold your paper back flat and sew along that line.

Finger press that section down and repeat for each of the following sections.

Related post: Foundation paper piecing

This pattern has you add a 2″ border to the top of the gemstone.  I also added a 2″ border to the bottom and then a 3″ border to each side.

Now you have a larger square.

Remove the paper back.

Lay some batting on your ironing board and gently press the back seams flat.

Place your pattern piece you created over the top and cut it out.

Once you have all 16 cut out, arrange them the way you want them and sew together.

Go back to the circle skirt pattern piece and trim 6 3/4″ off of the bottom of it.  This is the block size minus the seam allowance.  Now fold your fabric and cut out the center circle for your skirt.

Carefully pin the center circle to the border of gemstones.  Sew together and gently press the seam towards the center circle.

Draw your quilt lines.  I like to use Crayola washable markers.  They show up nicely and wash out easily.  I decided to do simple lines connecting one end to the other so it would look sort of like panels leading to each gemstone.  Then I just did a 1/4″ line around each gemstone.

Lay your backing fabric out wrong side up.  Place your quilt top on top right side up and smooth it down.

Gently fold up one side of your quilt top and spray with 505 basting spray. Smooth back down and repeat for the other side.

I also like to use safety pins to hold the top and bottom together just to make sure nothing is going to shift while sewing.

Go sew those lines!

Once you’re finished quilting it, trim the backing fabric so it’s the same size as the top.

Fold your skirt into fourths and cut out the waistline.  Add your placket.

I used double fold bias tape along the hem.

Related post:  How to Make Bias Tape

Let’s work on the bodice.

I was initially torn on what to do with this.  I knew I didn’t want it plain but thought adding a gemstone might look too childish on my 12 year old.

I compromised by using the 8″ gemstone, but kept it all in the main dress fabric.  This way, it’s there, but only if you’re really looking at it.

I just kept adding borders until it was larger than my bodice piece.

Once you have the block finished, cut out the front bodice.

Assemble as you normally would a bodice.  I did quilt this block 1/4″ from each seam to give it some definition.

Attach the bodice to the skirt.  And that’s it!

Look how fabulous this turned out!

Girl in pink dress leaning on the wall

Girl in pink dress wearing a tiara

Girl in pink dress leaning on a wall.

Girl wearing pink dress standing in front of door

Girl wearing pink dress

Girl in pink dress

Have you tried adding quilting to clothing?  I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.

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