Monday, April 14, 2014

Reader's Pick Sew-Along #4 - Pockets and Skirt

So how is everyone doing? I know some of you might have played catch up over the weekend. Any issues you need to discuss? Let me know, I'd be happy to help! 
Whether you're sewing along or just watching from a far, check out our Flickr page. Participants have uploaded photos of the fabrics they are using. 

Today's step is quite easy. I don't have very much advice on this one, but I do have photos of some steps! Find your pocket pieces. With right sides together, place one pocket on the skirt front and stitch. Press seam toward pocket. You will need to under-stitch the pocket. What does understitch mean? You are actually stitching the seam to the pocket. The stitch is not visible from the outside. It is there to hold your pocket inside the skirt. You don't want a floppy pocket on a pretty dress! 



Once you have under-stitched, press the pocket to the inside and pin the pocket and top-stitch. 



Fold your pocket piece in half, matching notches. Stitch along the bottom of the pocket. Now you've created your pocket! Baste the top and side pocket to your skirt so that you have a completed skirt front.


Stitch the front and back skirts together. 

That's all for today. It's nice to have an easy step for a Monday! You can get these steps done in 30 minutes or less!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Reader's Pick Sew-Along #3 - Bodice Facing and Finishing

We're moving along nicely in the sew-along and next we are working on the collar and neckline. If you are not putting a collar on your dress, skip to the neckline facing step. We'll see you there!

Collar: The collar needs to be stabilized with some interfacing. First you want to start with an interfacing suitable for knits. I wrote a post on interfacing last year, check it out here. Sew the collar pieces, right sides together. Clip corners and turn face out. Use a point turner to push out the collar points. 



The directions tell you to under-stitch the collar facing. To be honest with you, I tried to, but was unsuccessful! I don't feel this step is necessary, especially since you're going to be top-stitching the collar piece. Did anyone successfully under-stitch the collar facing? What do you think the reasoning behind this was? I could see it being helpful for stability, but the top stitching was good enough for me. When I top-stitched, I did that first, then I put in the basting stitches because in the past when I've done the basting stitch, then top-stitching, I get a pucker at the end of my top-stitching, which makes it look really unprofessional! 

Stitch the collar on the bodice, with the facing side down. 



Neckline facing: In reading reviews about this pattern, gaping of the neckline was a hot topic. The gaping neckline is almost bound to happen with patterns like this. I think it also depends on your body type. If you have the bust to fill it out, you may be able to get away with it more than someone with a small bust. It also depends on where you let the bodice pieces lay on you. If you look through Pattern Review at the photos people have posted, you can see how some have the neckline fold up higher on them than others. Some actually have the bodice pieces under their bust. 

If you find that you have a gaping neckline, I would recommend a couple fixes. When sewing the side seams on your bodice, give the front bodice more seam allowance than the back. It's like you're pulling the front bodice closer to you. As I was thinking of another solution, I thought you may be able to bring up the shoulder seam. But realized this step could only be done if you are not attaching your collar. It could still be done, you just have to place the collar differently. Just be careful you don't bring it up too much because you don't want large shoulders! And if you do it on one side, do it on the other. You don't want to be lop-sided either!

Ok, now that we've figured out how to fix a gaping neckline, lets work on the neckline! The directions tell you to fold the facing in half and stitch all layers to the bodice. Another option some of you may choose is to stitch one side of the facing to the bodice, then encase your seam in the facing. There could be a reason they didn't tell you to do that and maybe it has to do with the gaping. The exposed seam may give the neckline a little more stability, therefore creating less of a gape. 



Top-stitch the facing down so that the facing does not flip out!



Finished neckline!



While doing some research on this pattern, I came across a fun take on the neckline. Rachel from House of Pinheiro used a print and solid combo to create a really cute dress! The solid knit was used in the bodice and the print was used in the skirt and neck facing. I love the solid/print contrast! Plus she changed out the skirt for a circle skirt. I think I'm going to give that a try! 

Once your neckline is attached, lap over the right front bodice over the left and baste. I would also recommend basting the bottom along the notched edge. You will thank me later! And lastly, stitch the side seams together! 

Try it on. See how it fits. Show us your progress on Flickr


Have a great weekend and happy sewing! I'll check back periodically if anyone has a sewing crisis!

~ Julie

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Reader's Pick Sew Along #2 - Bodice Pleats

On Monday when I introduced Step #1 - Cutting, Alterations and Thread, I mentioned about lengthening and shortening the bodice piece. Since then, the person that asked about this tried it out, using the directions from Handmade by Heather B, and it worked! So if you haven't cut out of your good fabric yet and need to do this step, give it a try!

Since we are working with knits, it is important to make sure you have a STRETCH NEEDLE. One thing I found when I was starting to sew with knits, was that my seams and hems would break because there was no give. Knits stretch with you, the thread does not. Some sewing machines have a knit stitch. (Check your manual for this info.) If your sewing machine doesn't, set your machine to a straight stitch, but modify your zig-zag stitch ever so slightly. (Or use the zig-zag, but on a very fine zig-zag, almost straight! This setting depends on your sewing machine.) I have a Bernina and it comes with a knit stitch. I don't care for it, so I use a straight stitch with a slight zig-zag. 

Here is a photo of my settings: 

I do tug slightly on a knit when I'm sewing with it, but not too much. You don't want fabric ripples!

So today we're going to make the pleats for the bodice. I'm not going to go through every step they tell you to do, because that would just be repetitive, but give you hints, reminders and suggestions that go along with the step. 

When making your pleats you may fumble around with matching up your lines and sticking the pins into place. Starting from the end of the fabric, I pierce the pin through the line and then through the line on the other side of the fabric. This ensures that you've got one section all lined up. Then go back into the line with the pin and match up the line again. 



When sewing your pleats, be sure to keep the other pleats out of the way! You don't want to sew them all together! 

Listen to the directions with they say press and baste your pleats up or down! It definitely helps the dress look great in the finished product!  


 After your pleats are in place, use some seam binding to stabilize your shoulder seam. I used a transparent seam tape called, Seams Great Binding by Dritz.


That's all for today! This step was easy. The next couple of steps get more complicated. 

Share your fabric choices on our Flickr page! Some of you have shown us what you are using and we'd love to see more! 

Any questions or suggestions? Comment below.