Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Sew-Along #5 - Naomi Dress - Lesson #1

The Naomi Dress by Modkid

Welcome to Day One of the Sew Along!

First, the giveaway.  
The winner of the $20 Gift Certificate to Whimsical Fabric is . . .

Susan Lamborn

Congratulations Susan!  Your gift certificate will be emailed to you today.  Enjoy!

Now, before we get started, I wanted to share with you a few things that I always do when I am sewing:
  1. I always prewash and dry, then iron the fabric. After spending your time and energy making a garment, it would be awful to have it shrink or have the seams bunch after the first wash (plus it removes some of the icky chemicals!) I typically bring my fabric home and throw it directly in the washer, that way when the inspiration hits me; I have fabric that is ready to go.
  2. I iron. A lot. I plug in my iron before I even turn on the machine, and it runs the whole time I am sewing. I probably use my iron more than my sewing machine. Pressing the pieces and seams as you go just gives the garment a more crisp and professional appearance.
  3.  I clip my threads constantly during the process. There is nothing worse than long threads hanging through a seam, so I avoid those by clipping after every seam (except when gathering!)
See that beautiful iron? It’s just waiting to get started!
Note: If you purchased a fabric kit from Whimsical Fabric and are not exactly sure which fabrics are supposed to be used for what, please refer to the picture on the kit listing from the website.  Each fabric is listed on the kit picture as either Bodice, Skirt, or Ruffle.  The kits came with the following;
  • Kits sized 2T - 5T came with ¼ yard of fabric to be used for the bodice and the pocket, ½ yard of fabric to be used for the skirt, and ½ yard of fabric to be used for the ruffled hemband, pocket ruffle, and braided straps.
  • Kits sized 6 - 10 came with ⅓ yard of fabric to be used for the bodice and the pocket, ⅔ yard of fabric to be used for the skirt, and ½ yardof fabric to be used for the ruffled hemband, pocket ruffle, and braided straps.

Now, let’s get started! 
First, we need to cut out the pattern and fabric.

There are several pieces that need to be cut out in addition to the pattern pieces. These are outlined in the blue box under figure 1 in the pattern. You will need 6- 1” strips for the braided straps, 2- 4” strips for the bottom ruffle, and 1-2” strip for the pocket ruffle. If you do not want to use the ruffle fabric for
all of these, you will have to plan ahead with your piece layout so that you have enough fabric. I cut 2 of the 1” braiding strips from my bodice fabric, just to give the straps a little pop of extra color. I cut these with my rotary cutter, but you could also do them with scissors. I would recommend using a ruler and water-soluble pen to mark your lines before cutting if you are not using a rotary cutter, just to make sure they are nice a straight. Although I actually cut these last, I wanted to note them first so that you can plan your layout.

For the pattern pieces, I like to use freezer paper to transfer the pattern. Why?
Well if you are going to make a pattern in multiple sizes, this method preserves the pattern intact so it can be used for many sizes. Plus, if you are using a knit or other “harder to work with” fabric, this method keeps everything nice and neat. But the main reason for me is that I hate pinning patterns. Really hate it. I always end up poking myself and ripping the paper. Plus I feel like the fabric and paper are always moving; and not in the same direction. Using freezer paper kind of keeps it all together, plus feeds into my obsessive need to iron (see above notes). 

This is how I do it: Using freezer paper (I sent the husband to the grocery store for mine), I pull off a sheet about as long as my pattern is. Then I lay the freezer paper (shiny side down) on top of the pattern and use a fine point sharpie to trace the lines for the size I am going to transfer. I also transfer the name of the pattern, piece name and cutting specifics, plus any grain and fold indicators on to the freezer paper. That way, when you have hundreds of freezer paper pieces lying around, you can figure out what is what!

Because I have never met a straight line that I can draw, I use a ruler to draw all of my straight edges.

  When you are done, you will have pieces that look something like this:

I also traced the pocket marking on my freezer paper piece. Note, there are two pocket sizes; 2T-5 and 6-10. There are also two pocket placements, which depend on what size you are making.

Now that all of the pieces are cut out, we can iron the freezer paper (SHINY SIDE DOWN) onto the fabric. This is the best part!

I started with the bodice. Because I was trying to reserve some fabric for the strips, I started with my fabric wrong side up and unfolded. Then I folded over only enough to cut out one bodice piece. Laying the bodice piece along the folded edge, I ironed the piece to the fabric and cut around it.

Then I unfolded my piece and adjusted to cut the second bodice piece. You can just peel off the freezer paper and reapply it to the next fold. (Magic!)

I used the same fabric for my pockets, so just repeat this process down the fabric for the two pocket pieces; both of those are also cut on the fold.

Using the same technique, cut the two skirt pieces, two elastic casings and the loop piece out of the coordinating fabric.

I also cut one bodice piece out of a lightweight, fusible interfacing. That is optional, but I liked the extra body and stability it gave to the bodice piece. I DID NOT use the freezer paper on this, because it will activate the adhesive on the fusible interfacing. Instead I just laid the freezer paper piece on the fold of
the interfacing and cut around it. You could pin the freezer paper to the interfacing if you are worried about shifting while you cut.

Now, let’s cut our strips of fabric. I cut my strips from the bodice fabric first (totally optional, you can cut them all from the ruffle fabric).

I laid the fabric, folded in half, on the cutting mat and trimmed to even out my edge. Then I cut 2 one-inch strips from the fabric. The rest were cut from the ruffle fabric. I cut these the same way, measuring out the width and cutting the length of the folded fabric. You will need a total of:

 (6) 1-inch strips (entire width of fabric) for the straps
(2) 4-inch strips (entire width of fabric) for the ruffle
(1) 2-inch wide strip (22” long for sizes 2T-5 or 24” long for sizes 6-10) for the pocket ruffle

This is what you will have when you are done.  

One last thing before we sew... 
If you are using the interfacing, 

iron the interfacing (textured side down) to the wrong side of one bodice piece.


Now, we sew! 
The first step in the dress is constructing the bodice. I started with the 1 inch strips of fabric for the straps. Make two piles, 3 strips each, laying one on top of the other (all right sides up) .

Run a quick basting stitch about 1/4th inch from the top (this will help them stay in place while you are sewing).

Now, select the bodice lining (the one with interfacing, if you used it) and lay it right side up on your working surface. Lay the stack of strips right side up on the bodice, making sure they are centered on the front. 

 See how those straps are not even? 
I had to go back and rip the seams to fix them! Oops! 

Then place the bodice front piece, right side down, on top

and pin in place.

Quick tip: This pattern calls for a 1/2” seam allowance. It is always a good idea to check your needle position to make sure you are getting the allowance you are looking for. I use a measuring gauge to check my needle placement. If yours is off, adjust the stitch width until the needle is the correct distance from the seam indicator on the faceplate.

Starting at the side, sew along the top edge only on the bodice piece, backstitching at the beginning and the end.  There are lots of curves and corners on this piece, and they will all show, so going slowly is the key.

When sewing around curves and corners, sew up to the turn, then use the hand wheel to ensure the needle is in the down position.

Raising the presser foot, turn the fabric until your seam is lined up with the seam indicator again.

I do this around corners, but also around sharper curves, lifting the foot and making small turns to keep the seam nice and smooth.

Once the top edge is sewn, you will want to trim off some of the excess seam, clip the corners off and notch out the curves.

Now, we turn need to the bodice right side out. Using a point turner, chopstick or other tool, make sure the corners are pushed out and the curves are smooth.

You can tug a bit on the straps to get the top edge turned all the way out. I use my point turner and iron, iron, iron to get everything laying nice a flat.

Next, you will want to topstitch the bodice top edge, then baste the side and bottom closed. I topstitched the top edge first, ironed it again to make sure it was nice and flat, then basted the sides and bottom edge. When topstitching, you can use a little longer stitch length to make it look nice and neat.

Last step for today!
We are almost done! The last step is to braid the straps. I laid the bodice with the bottom edge facing away from me on the ironing board, then sat my iron on top of the bodice to keep it from moving as I braided.

I took the first few turns pretty tight, pulling the fabric close to the bodice as I braided. 

Then continuing down the strips, I braided to the end. Boy, do these strips ravel! Letting them hang over the edge and not twist up with each other as I braided seemed to help a lot, if the raveling bothers you.  Braid, then braid some more!

Once you have braided to the end, tie or stitch the end to finish them off. I tied them, but then made a quick stitch across the bottom to make sure it was nice and secure.

Repeat for the other strap...

And we are done for day 1 of the sew along! 
Guess what?  That was the longest lesson.  I didn’t tell you that in the beginning!


1 comment:

  1. Great instructions Sarah. I enjoyed this lesson very much. Thanks for writing these.


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