Hello George and Ginger fans! This is Chris from http://sewjourns.com/ back on the George and Ginger Blog with another fun hack of two awesome G+G patterns! The Rebel Choker Tee
The Lively Top and Dress https://georgeandgingerpatterns.com/products/the-lively-top-and-dress-
Today I bring you the “Rebel Lively Dress”.
This is a very user-friendly tutorial with which I feel any confident sewist will get great results. Let’s
gather everything we need and get started:
1. Rebel Choker Tee Pattern
2. Lively Dress and Top Pattern
3. Tracing paper
4. Quilting ruler
5. Pen or pencil
6. Clips or pins
7. Rotary cutter or fabric shears
8. 2 pieces of 3/8-inch elastic the size of your wrist plus 1 inch
Begin with the Rebel Choker Tee Pattern (RCT). This pattern uses one pattern piece for both the front
and the back with 2 different cutting lines.
- Trace the bodice piece with the front cut line V-neck onto your tracing paper. Transfer the FOLD
marking onto your new pattern piece. Measure your side waist length down from the armpit to
your side waist and mark that on your pattern piece adding 3/8-inch seam allowance. I
measured mine at 9 inches plus 3/8 of an inch and drew a line across to the fold edge, this will
be your new front pattern piece for now.
- Trace the pattern piece again, this time using the back cut line adding the same side waist length
to your new pattern piece. Transfer the FOLD marking. You now have two separate pattern
pieces, one front and one back.
- Bring the RCT sleeve pattern piece to the table and mark a line two inches down from the short
sleeve line marked on the pattern. Either fold under the rest of the pattern if you have the full
sleeve printed out or trace a new pattern piece using the line you drew.
- You will use the V-neck binding and the neckband pattern pieces as is with no changes.
- Bring the front and back bodice pieces to the table.
- Lay the front bodice of the Lively Dress piece on top of the traced front bodice of the RCT and
trace the shape of the bottom of the Lively Dress bodice onto the RCT.
- Do the same for the back bodice pieces, tracing the bottom shape of the Lively onto the RCT
- Cut along the newly drawn bottom of the RCT to get your new completed pattern bodice pieces.
- Bring the skirt pattern piece of the Lively Dress to the table. You can trace this piece to have
separate pieces using the front top cut line and one for the back top cut line. Notice there are
two different cut lines. I did not trace, I just cut along the line and folded it back to cut out the
- You will need the Bell Sleeve pattern piece (you will NOT need the upper sleeve of the Lively
Cut out the new pattern pieces.
- Prewash and dry your knit fabric (see the pattern tutorial for appropriate stretch and type of
knit suggested). I used Jade Ombre French Terry from The Fab Clique. BIG shout out to Dhee for
saving my tail when I needed ½ yard more to complete my project. She scoured the warehouse
and found it for me!! I used a bit less than 3 yards for my Rebel Lively Dress. I did play with
some pattern placement as this is an ombre fabric and for the look I wanted I needed to use
extra fabric. 2-1/2 yards is plenty for a non-directional fabric.
- Cut out your pattern pieces. The front and back bodices are cut on the fold, V-neck binding and
neckband are cut on the fold, upper sleeve is cut mirror images, bell sleeves are cut two on the
fold, and the front and back skirt are cut one each on the fold.
Sewing the bodice:
- Sew the V-neck, shoulders and sleeves according to the RCT tutorial. Do NOT sew the side seams
- Bring the front and back skirts to the table and be sure to mark them F and B because they are
- Mark the center of the top of the front skirt with a pin or a fabric marker. I find it much easier to
gather and get more even gathers on such a full skirt in the flat. That is why we are not sewing
the bodice or the skirt side seams together yet.
- Sew a basting stitch at ½-inch seam allowance, from one end of the skirt to the center pin and
stop. Leaving the long tails, cut and remove from the sewing machine.
- Do the same thing from the other end to meet in the center where you have the pin. Do not
sew over the first basting stitch. Stop one stitch before the center pin or you will not be able to
pull the basting stitch to gather.
HINT: When gathering, the bobbin threads are pulled to gather the fabric. The back side of French
Terry is made with little loops that are easily pulled or snagged. To avoid that when gathering, I sew
my basting/gathering stitch with the loops up so the bobbin threads are on the right side of the fabric.
Now when I pull them, I can avoid any pulling and snagging of the loops.
- Mark the bottom center of the front bodice with a pin or fabric marker.
- Pull up the bobbin thread to gather the front skirt to meet the width of the bottom of the front
bodice. Pull up one side from the end to the center to match the front bodice to the center pin
and do the same with the other side. This is a great way to get even gathers. When you get the
gathers as even as possible, take the threads at the center pin on the skirt and wrap them
around the pin head a few times to help hold the gathers.
- Using LOTS of clips or pins (your choice), clip the skirt to the front bodice RST. I prefer to use the
Jumbo Wonder Clips because they are deeper and I can be sure the clip ends reach my gathering
stitches and hold them in place.
HINT: Wonder Clips have a rounded side and a flat side. The flat side is meant to sit flat along the
sewing machine bed. This keeps your fabric flat and more even. Also when applying clips to hold
seams I make sure that the flat side of the clip is placed so that whichever end I’ll be sewing first has
the flat side. This is important for directional sewing. Always sew your seams in the same direction.
For example, when sewing side seams of a skirt, place your clips flat side down on the left side so you
are sewing hem to waist and on the right the be sure the flat side of the clip is on the correct side so
you are sewing hem to waist. This is a visual clue to make sure I am sewing in the same direction.
- At the sewing machine, sew the skirt to the bodice using a 3/8-inch seam allowance and a longer
stitch length. I like to use my sewing machine here before I serge so if I need to adjust my
gathers I can fix that before I have serged off my seam allowance.
- When you are happy with the gathers, serge the seam to finish the edges.
- Repeat these steps with the back bodice.
- Now sew the side seams from the hem all the way up to the sleeve end.
Look how even the gathers look on such a full skirt!
Sewing the lower sleeve:
- Bring the Bell Sleeve pieces to the table and sew the sleeves together on the side seam.
- Gather the top of the sleeve to match the width of the upper sleeve. Do this for each sleeve.
- Sew or serge the Bell Sleeve onto the upper sleeve.
HINT: Sewing is a creative process, especially when hacking or modifying a pattern. At this point in
the creation I was just going to hem the sleeves as in the Lively Dress tutorial when inspiration struck!
“This is a mash of two patterns”, I thought, “so why not utilize the Bishop Sleeve method in the Rebel
Choker Tee tutorial.” So I did and what I created is a lower balloon sleeve and I LOVE IT! Here’s how
we do this:
- Serge the bottom of the Bell Sleeve without cutting any off to finish the end. Press up the
sleeve ½ inch. Sew using a straight stitch with a longer stitch length, or a zig zag stitch, leaving a
2-inch opening. Lock in your stitches at the beginning and end.
- Insert your elastic using a bodkin or safety pin through the casing you just created and sew the
ends of the elastic together using a zig zag stitch overlapping the elastic by ½ inch.
- Stitch the opening closed.
- Do the same for the second sleeve. You have now created this fun balloon sleeve.
Finishing the Rebel Lively Dress:
- Sew the choker neckband according to the tutorial in the RCT pattern.
- Hem the skirt according to the Lively Dress pattern.
Try on your new Rebel Lively Dress and smile because you are amazing and beautiful!
Enjoy wearing it and when you do sew it up please tag me, Chris M Shapiro in the George and Ginger
Pattern Group or on IG @sewjourns so I can celebrate and admire it with you.
Happy Sewing and thanks for reading!