Friday, April 18, 2014

Reader's Pick Sew Along #5 - Attaching Skirt and Bodice; Inserting Elastic

In today's step, I will focus on inserting the elastic. Before you do this, be sure to attach the bodice to the skirt pieces, matching side seams and other markings. Use the waistline marking as your seam allowance. Then sew a second seam line 1/4 or so from the edge of the fabric, leaving an opening for you to insert the elastic. You've now created the elastic casing! 





When first looking at this pattern, I didn't realize it had an elastic waistline. It actually made me happy because then any size adjustments can be altered with the elastic! 

I had someone ask me in a previous step what elastic to use. There are a variety of different elastics out there, but two of the most common are woven and knit. Woven elastic is sturdy and knit elastic is softer. I used a woven elastic because that is what I had in my stash. (I keep a variety of different elastics on hand.) But if I had the option, I would probably pick a knit elastic because the knit I made the dress with is a lightweight knit. So I would say it is personal preference. When you start using wider elastics, you will notice a big difference between knit and woven. Then I would say that you should select one over the other depending on your project.

If you're new to sewing, maybe you've never inserted elastic into a garment. I use a safety pin to fish it through the casing. I have the safety pin "stitched" through the elastic so that the elastic does not bunch up on the pin as you fish it through. As I was fishing the elastic through, I couldn't get it through the pocket area very easily. Because of all the thicknesses of fabric, it was hard to pick the right slot. (It's hard to explain it until it happens, so I'm sure you will find this problem when you do it too!) I had to keep moving the safety pin backwards a few inches and then trying to guide it into another opening until finally the safety pin went through. So just watch for that as you go. 



 Once you have the elastic inserted, attach the safety pin to the other end of your elastic and try the dress on. Adjust to your liking. I sew the elastic ends together by machine.  This ensures that it's not going to come apart in wearing!





Now that you have the bodice and skirt sewn together and the elastic inserted, press the casing toward the bodice and top-stitch the casing to the bodice section. If you have a hard time doing this, no worries, you can cover it up with a belt!

That's it for today, pretty easy right? Next time we will work on the sleeves. 

I know some of you have asked how long the sew-along will be and when the finished garment will be due to be entered to win a $50 gift certificate. I'm thinking we will wrap up with the sew-along late next week. Then I will be giving everyone two weeks from the last post date to finish the dress and submit it to be entered to win a gift certificate!

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