Okay- let’s wrap this up, shall we? I’ve measured myself, picked out a pattern, prepped the fabric and traced the pattern. Now it’s time to lay out your pattern on the fabric:
That’s a horrible picture- my sewing area is in the back of the house, away from any natural light- I’ll have to take pictures in the morning from now on, ugh!
Cut out the dress, and sew the darts:
Darts can be tricky! I basted them in by hand first, then made a final machine seam. Make sure you iron all your seams before going on to the next one- it sets the stiches, and makes the material easier to handle. Now, sew the front and back together at the shoulders, then sew the sides together and check the fit. And at this point, I should mention that I didn’t baste the neckline curve- the material I used wasn’t too stretchy, and I had a different plan for finishing the neckline, so I skipped that step.
After trying the dress on for a fit check, I decided the side seams were way to big, so I shaved a 1/2'” off them:
Again with the horrible lighting! After all is said and done, I should have left the side seams alone- the dress is too tight now to wear over an undershirt. That’s why this is a fitting toile- I’ve made all kinds of notes that I’ll share at the end of what I intend to fix or change on the next one. So, I ripped out the old seams, pinked the seam allowance down a bit, and used a folded edge seam finish. Look- pretty!
You can also see in this shot how I finished the armhole seam- a double turned hem of about a quarter of an inch. This dress is made of plain old quilting cotton, and it frays like crazy, so I wanted a seam finish that would stand the test of time. I plan on washing this a lot over the next few months, mainly because it will get softer the more I wash it, and wanted to protect the seams as much as possible.
The neckline edge I was planning on just turning a half inch hem and zig-zagging it down, but then remembered my sewing machine has a few fancy stitches, so I did a nice little flowers and vine stitch:
It’s in thread that’s the same colour as the fabric, so I’m not sure if anyone will be able to see it. I like the tonal quality, so I finished the bottom hem in the same stich. It has some width to it, so it had the same coverage quality of a zig-zag stitch, only much prettier!
So, after finishing all interior seams- some turned and stitched, some whip stitched- I hemmed the whole thing with a double turned hem and called her done!
Here are my notes on the whole operation:
- After all is said and done, it’s pretty itchy material. Look into cotton voile for the next one.
- Keep pattern seam allowance intact for layering possibilities.
- Take an inch off the width of the neckline (collar bone area).
- Lower darts by half an inch.
- Increase the overall length by another 3-4 inches (surprising since I already lengthened the pattern by five inches).
Overall though, I really like the fit and look of this dress! I am using this one as a nightgown right now, which is another perk- If I keep up my sewing I may never need to buy another nightgown ever again! Never say never, right? Thanks for following along my first ever sew-along! Next time I’ll know to keep the posts shorter, and not outline every-single-little-detail to keep the pace moving along (I had a few complaints from the viewership this week: “wow- that’s a reeally long post!”).
Now what have those Faeries done with my quilting supplies?!