Monday, July 15, 2013

Sew-Along #5 - Naomi Dress - Lesson #3

The Naomi Dress by Modkid

Welcome to Day Three of the Sew Along!

Another day means another winner! Lesson #2's winner is... 
Congratulations to Kay Fisher Witt!

Okay, we are half way there! Excited yet? Once I got the front together and saw how cute it was turning out, I got really eager to finish it up. So let’s get started!

The first step for today is to create the back elastic casing. There are two casing pieces and one loop piece that we will use to construct the casing. Let’s do the loop first, shall we?

Folding the loop piece in half lengthwise and with right sides together, stitch along the open edge with a 1/2” seam allowance. 
Now, trim off the excess seam allowance to allow for easier turning.

Then, using a turning tool, turn the loop piece right side out. I used my serger tweezers to grab one end and push it through. I’ve also used a safety pin and pen bottom before. Be creative! 

 Once your loop is turned, press it flat.

Then, determine the center back of one elastic casing piece. I folded it in half and finger pressed so I could see where it was. You could also mark it with a pin. 

Once you've determined the center point, make a loop with the pressed tube of fabric and place it on the center. The fabric direction should be right side up with the loop facing downward. Pin the loop in place.

Place the the second casing piece, right sides together, on top and stitch the top edge together. Open up the casing pieces along the seam and press flat.
Take a quick look and make sure the direction of the fabric is correct on both sides!

Now, fold the casing, wrong sides together and matching the raw edges. Iron flat again. I find that ironing the piece flat before folding helps get the seams nice and crisp along the top. Once it is ironed in half, topstitch along the finished edge and baste the unfinished edge closed.

Attached the casing to the skirt back by matching the basted edge of the casing to the top edge of the skirt back.

Sew the pieces together using a 1/2” seam allowance. Finish the seam with an overlock or zig-zag stitch, or serger. 

Press the finished seam up towards the casing and topstitch along the seam, about 1/8” above the seam. 

Next, we need to determine the length of the shirred portion of our back. Because I made a 3T, I used the 1.5” length for mine. If you are making a larger size, you will want to go a bit wider. The important thing here is to get the 4-6 rows of shirring for the smaller sizes (2T-5) or the 8-10 rows of shirring for the larger sizes (6-10). I measured down 1.5” from the casing and marked the distance on each side with a pin.

Then I folded the back along the pins and ironed the fold line to use as my guide.
See? Nice and neat and nothing to clean off later!

And now we shirr!
The first step in shirring is to wind a bobbin with elastic thread. Most people recommend that you hand wind the bobbin using a steady pressure. I have both hand wound mine and just used my machine’s bobbin winder to wind mine. It doesn’t seem to make a difference for my machine. BUT IT MIGHT FOR YOURS! So, wind a bobbin up, chuck it in your machine and give it a try on some scraps.

I set my machine stitch length to the longest setting and raise my thread tension. This pretty much gets me a perfect shirr. But each machine is different, so I would encourage you to try out your settings on scrap fabric until you get them right for your machine. If you are having trouble, try looking at youtube, there are tutorials for many different machines on there.

Once your bobbin is wound, replace your regular bobbin with the elastic thread bobbin. 

You will want your regular coordinating thread in your needle still. Place your back dress panel on the machine with the fabric right side up (you want the elastic thread to sew on the wrong side of the fabric.) Sew a straight stitch, backstitching at the beginning, just below the elastic casing seam. I used the edge of my presser foot as a guide along the seam. Sew all the way across the width of the back panel, backstitching at the end as well.

When you are done with the first line of stitching, start again with a second row, exactly parallel to the one you just completed, using the presser foot as a guide to keep your rows nice and even.

After a few rows, your fabric should be starting to bunch up nicely. Continue to add rows, backstitching at the beginning and end of each, until you’ve filled the entire marked area of your back.

Once all of the shirred rows are stitched, you can steam the stitching in order to gather it a bit more. Mine always seems to need steaming along the first row or two.

Getting close, but not touching, pump the steam button on your iron to get a good amount of steam over your stitching. The elastic should bunch up and make a beautiful gather.

See? Shirring isn’t so bad, right?

And we are done for day 3 of the sew along!


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