My kids have been out of school for a month already and between having all 5 of them home 24/7 and attending baseball and softball games most nights every week, I’ve not gotten much sewing finished this spring. The first official day of summer is now a couple days away, though, and I “needed” a new sundress to welcome the season. And what better fabric to use to welcome summer than a panel showcasing a slice of watermelon?!?
I scored this one of a kind panel from Peek-a-Boo Fabric shop (affiliate link). She had it printed as a strike-off in order to check colors/scale before ordering more to sell and ended up deciding not to run this adult size watermelon circle panel because it didn’t come out round enough, but she does currently have a youth size watermelon panel available. I managed to snag it when she put it up for sale in her Facebook group. Because it wasn’t perfectly round, I decided to have some fun and place it so the slice wraps around my dress rather than being a circle skirt (which is the easy way to use a circle panel).
I first traced a mirrored copy of my California Dress pattern and taped the new left and right pieces together along the original center fold line to create a pattern of the full front and back of the dress. Then, I folded the fabric panel exactly in half and placed my pattern with one side seam on the fold instead of putting center front and back on the fold as intended. The California’s side seam is not perfectly straight, so using the pattern like this alters the fit of the dress slightly … but it was close, so I went with it because I really really didn’t want a seam breaking up the watermelon slice. I placed my pattern so that the bottom of the armscye hung off the fabric fold by 3/8 inch so that the size of the finished armhole would be the same as intended (since there would be no seam and the allowance is included in the pattern), then I lined up the rest of the side seam as closely as I could to the rest of the fold. You can see in the above front-facing photo that there is no side seam under my left arm.
After aligning the side seam on the fold, I discovered that my panel was not quite wide enough to fit the entire width of the California skirt. I folded a triangle of the skirt pattern back where the panel ended so that I’d be able to cut a “slice” of another fabric to sew on and finish the skirt. On the folded panel I cut across the hem, up the side seam, and around both armscyes, stopping when I got to the top of the shoulders. Then I unfolded the fabric so that I could cut the front and back of the dress with different neckline options. I used the scoop neckline on the front and the faux halter on the back piece.
Finally, I pulled some pink and white stripes from my stash and cut two of the triangular “slice” I had folded back on the skirt pattern for the front and back, making sure I added seam allowance where the stripes would be joined to the panel. I also cut the strap for the faux halter from the striped fabric and decided last-minute to add a pocket before sewing that side seam. I used the free inseam pocket that you can find and download from this post about how to add a pocket to the Freestyle Harem Pants.
I love having a spot to stick my phone and lip gloss without having to carry a purse! I can’t wait to rock my watermelon slice California Dress all summer long!!
Happy Sewing!! ~ Joelle