Thursday, April 21, 2011

Dress Making Part III

Okay, I haven't gotten to work on my dress today. However, following up on the sewing resources I posted last night, I wanted to document my progress so far.

My dress-making journey starting with the discovery of a very helpful article I found at our inn in Valley Ford last weekend. It wasn't a publication I was familiar with, but I'm thrilled to know of it now! The magazine is Craft, and it's publication #5 (which I was unable to find on the website, although I did find their Wedding section!)

This article, along with the sewing tips I remembered while making my preview dress gave me the confidence to start this project.

Step #1: Get your measurements.
(The left image is what I used to make this dress. The numbers are half of my actual measurements, as I'm cutting them along the fold of the fabric. The "+1" is the extra inch I wanted for the seam or sewing mishap. It's always better to have too much fabric than not enough.
The image on the right is my general design, although I did use it to make my preview dress. After reading the Craft article, the pattern on the left was much more helpful. 
The preview dress design required constructing the bodice from 5 pieces of fabric, whereas the design on the left had 1 piece of fabric and only required bullets taken in.)

Step #2: Make your pattern on craft paper. Add an inch to each edge for the seam. (I draw my actual seam with a dashed line and the extra inch in a solid line.

Step #3: Cut your fabric along the solid line. Cut 2 sets of the bodice (one will be the liner).
(Note that the fabric is still folded in half.)

Step #4: Prevent fabric fraying by sewing a zigzag stitch along the fabric edges. (Be careful to unfold fabric first!)

Step #5: Sew the skirt:

  • Putting the "right sides" (or, the side you want people to see) of the fabric together, sew the sides (or back, if you've only cut one seam like I did) along the dashed line. Leave 1 inch at the bottom seam open and 2 inches open at the top.
  • Try it on to make sure it fits.
  • Iron the seams flat.
  • I'm usually weary of cutting off extra fabric at the seams until I've sewn the top to it.

Step #5: Fit the bodice.

  • Pin the bodice onto you along the 1-inch seams (or "seam" if you're making a dress like mine with one back seam). Make sure the "right side" of the fabric is touching you. I usually have to pin on the dotted line along the front of my torso and then rotate the piece until the pinned seam is in the middle of my back (or "seams" are directly under my arms).
  • You'll notice that the bodice will be really baggy in some areas. Pin the bullets under the breast first. To pin, pinch some of the extra fabric together under the fold of the breast until the fabric is tight against the area and pin it. Pin as much of the bullet (from top to bottom) as possible, so your sewing will be as accurate as possible. Pin both bullets (one under each breast) at the same time. In other words, after you pin one part of a bullet under one breast, pin the same part on the other breast and so forth. The bullet should start at the nipple and end at the bottom of the bodice. 
  • After you've pinned both bullets under the breast, sew along the pins (starting at the nipple). Try the bodice on in front of the mirror to make sure there are no bumps or bubbles. Also, make sure the tops of the bullets match (otherwise, the "nipples" of the bodice will look uneven). 
  • Do the same thing to the "liner" bodice (the second set you cut for the liner).
  • Pin the bodice onto you again along the inch seam. Then, pin the side bullets (if you need them) in the same fashion as the breast bullets.

When you're finished sewing the bullets to both bodice pieces (outer and liner), iron them flat and try the bodice on once more.

Step #6: Sew the outer bodice to the liner bodice. 
  • With the right sides together, pin the tops of the bodices together along the dashed line. Start pinning from the very middle of the bodice and work towards the ends. This will ensure the bullets line up evenly.
  • Sew along the dashed line.
  • Iron along the seam. Then, turn bodice so that the "right sides" are facing out. Iron along the top seam.

Step #7: Sew bodice and skirt together.
  • Pin the bodice to you along the 1-inch seam. Put the skirt on as well.
  • Determine whether you will need bullets in the skirt as well. If so, make sure they line up with the bullets under the breast.

  • With the "right sides of the skirt and bodice together, pin the bottom of the bodice to the top of the skirt along the dashed line. Start with the middle of the front of both and work your way towards the ends. If you start at one end, your bodice center may not line up evenly with your skirt center. 
  • Once pinned completely, try it on to make sure it fits. 
  • Sew along the dashed line.
  • Iron the seam flat and try on again.
This is where I stopped yesterday. Check back tomorrow for the rest of the steps (and finished product)!

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