Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sew-Along #7 - Penny Dress - Lesson #1

The Penny Dress by Modkid  

* If you need to see more detail in any of the pictures please click on them to enlarge.
Using Freezer Paper  Never used freezer paper?  Don't worry, read on!

We are going to be using knit fabric for this pattern so you will need to consider transferring your pattern to freezer paper.  Knit can be a little tricky, don't worry I have more info than you wish you knew on sewing with knit fabrics that we will discuss later, it can be a little rolley (I know it's not a word but can you think of a better word???) and of course stretchy. 

But first, look at this beautiful stack of perfectly folded fabric!  I just love this!  I was so excited when I opened my box, that I had to take a pic and show you this gorgeous stack!

Now grab your lovely patterns, I love fresh out of the package patterns.  We are using the Modkid Penny which can be made into a dress or top in sizes 2-10.  I also made the flare pants from Sweet Polly's Playclothes to go with the dress and I love them!  If you don't have your patterns you can purchase them here.

Okay, let's get started on the really fun part!  Stick with me here because this will take some time but is well worth the trouble in the end, promise!  You are going to need some freezer paper.  I panicked a bit because when I got to the store I didn't see it at first, but it's there, just keep looking.  You will also need your paper scissors (don't use your fabric scissors until we cut out all of the pieces), a ruler, a marker, some weights and your pattern.

Cut a piece of freezer paper to the size of your pattern.  I used my weights to help hold down the freezer paper so it wouldn't shift around or curl up on the ends.  I'm making an empire waist here so I have a top piece and bottom piece.

Be sure your freezer paper has the wax side (shiny) down and the paper side up. Let's begin tracing our pattern onto the paper side with a marker and ruler.  Be sure to transfer all markings onto the paper and use your ruler for straight edges. I also add the pattern name, piece name and size on each piece so that I don't get confused about what I'm doing (and let's face it, it doesn't take much to confuse me these days).

Be sure that you add your 1/2" seam allowance to the bottom of the bodice and the top of the skirt if you are making the empire waist version of the dress. Also, if you are making the contrasting sleeve add the seam allowance to both the top and bottom of the sleeve (I'm not making the contrasting sleeve version).  If you are making View A or B without the empire waist, just trace the entire length of the dress.   Below is the empire version with the 1/2" seam allowance added.

When you finish tracing and cutting, you will end up with something like this. Again, this is the empire version so if you are choosing a solid dress you will not have as many pieces.  For the dress without the empire waist you will end up with your dress front, dress back and neckband piece. 

We are going to now place our pieces onto our fabric.  There are several important things to remember here.  
  1. We put the wax side down to make our cutting easier.  The wax will temporarily stick to the fabric (we will iron it on) so that we don't have to use pins.
  2. I used the pins to line up my fabric so my stripes would match, they are not there for the pattern pieces at all.
  3. Be sure to transfer the markings for lining up the shoulder and side seams onto the fabric.

We want to be sure our grainline is going in the correct direction. The importance of grainline is that this is the direction of the most stretch. (Want to read more about grainline and knit fabric?  Check out this great blog!) Once your pattern pieces are placed correctly, it's time to iron them onto the fabric.  Use your iron without steam and on the cotton setting to quickly press the freezer paper onto the fabric, this allows you to cut your fabric without it rolling up on you.  The paper will temporarily stick to your fabric so that you don't need pins! AH-MAZ-ING!!!
After you iron, you are ready to cut out the pattern pieces.  Cut as smoothly and close to the edge of the pattern as possible.  You may or may not hem the sleeves and bottom edge so you want a nice smooth cut on the edges. Perfection! Look at that flat knit!  This is the most amazing process!!!  We'll start sewing day after tomorrow so make sure you have all pieces cut and ready to go.

Please let me know if you have any questions.  I love feedback so let me know you are out there and with me!  (Our Facebook Sew-Along group can be found here.) I hope you learned something today.

Happy Sewing!

PS:  I am aware that I use WAY too many exclamation points!  I can't help it, I just get so excited and I want you to hear that excitement!!!  Please don't judge me!  lol!  Now I'm just trying to annoy you!

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