Thursday, June 30, 2011
So now that we've got our top or dress completed, it's time to add the fun, accent flower. This part of the pattern is completely optional, but I think it adds a nice little bit of whimsy to the outfit. You can get as creative as you would like with this accessory, but I opted to follow the pattern and just add an extra-large fabric covered button to the center.
You've got to start by cutting 8 petals. I used the accent fabric for the petals, but you could use whatever fabric you like......maybe even something less matchy and more bold.....it's up to you.
Fold your petals in half, wrong sides together, and stitch down one side. I clipped some of the bulk off the very tip, so that they would be easier to turn right side out.
After you've sewn all eight petals, turn them right side out. Try using a sharper point (like a point-turner) to really get the corners nicely turned. Press with seams down the middle according to pattern instructions.
For the next step, I ran a gathering stitch across four petals at a time. I then pulled the bobbin thread to gather the petals. Once I had them gathered tight enough, I tied the ends of the threads together to hold them in place. I also opted not to top-stitch each petal just because I prefer this look.
Place four of your petals on top of the other four petals in an alternating position. Then run a stitch around in a circle to hold them in place.
Here is my flower before the addition of the button. Choose your button and add it to the center of the flower. I stitched the button onto the flower at the same time I sewed it to my top.
And there you have it - a fun, flower accessory. I love the idea of adding this flower to a headband or even adding a pin on the back. I think it would be really fun to make one of these for myself to pin to my purse or cardigan when Savannah's wearing this outfit. A little bit of "mommy and me" never hurt anyone, right?
Tomorrow is day 5 of our sew along where we will be working on the capris/shorts. If you've reached your final destination of the sew along and were just doing the dress, don't forget to add pictures of your completed sew along look to The Cottage Home Flickr Pool if you want to be considered for the contest and $50.00 gift certificate. And for the rest of you, see you tomorrow!
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
So it's time to finish up our top/dress! How are we feeling? Good, I hope......we're in the home stretch, so bare with me. Yesterday we stopped after finishing up our arm holes and shoulder ruffles, so now we'll move on to the side seams and finishing.
Since you've probably just pressed your shoulder ruffles and arm holes, you will now need to pull the exterior fabric and the lining completely apart (we do this a lot with this pattern). Place the right sides of the exterior fabric and the right sides of the lining fabric together at both sides seams. You are now going to run a stitch starting at the beginning point of the two lining fabrics coming together and running all the way to the end of where the exterior fabrics come together. This is going to cause us to have no exposed seams on the interior of the garment - yipee!!
Here is what your seam will look like on one side. You will need to run this stitch on both sides. It's pretty much just sewing a straight line though you may have to turn your foot a tad bit at the arm hole.
I like to clip a line where the exterior and lining fabrics come together under the arm hole. I find the arm holes lay much more flat this way. You totally don't have to do this step.......it's just a little extra thing I like to do.
Turn your garment right side out and press the side seams open and press all the way around the arm holes. I like to press the exterior seams and lining seams separately to make sure they are both fully open.
This next step is where I took some liberties with the way I like to do a lined garment. So for the next few steps you can totally ignore me and follow the actual instructions or give this finishing technique a try. Let's see if I can explain this correctly..........
Currently you have your garment pressed and turned nicely with the right sides out. At the lower side seam (doesn't matter which one), pull the lining fabric away from the exterior fabric. We need to pull them apart because we are going to flip the fabrics so they will now have their right sides facing.
In the picture above, you can see the corner where I started turning towards the bottom of the picture. It's going to feel sort of awkward and weird but just go with it. You want to try and turn the entire bottom of the dress so the right sides are facing each other.
In the picture above you can see that I now have the right side of my lining facing the right side of my exterior fabric. I have pinned this in place. You want to sew along the bottom with a 1" seam allowance (I usually do 1/2" but a 1" hem is what the pattern calls for). Sew 3/4 of the way across, then leave a 4" gap and finish sewing to the other edge. See picture below......
Notice how I have left a 3" - 4" opening at the bottom of the top. Pull the rest of the dress through this little opening. Again, it's going to feel a little strange, but trust me.
Now that you have pulled the top through the opening, press the bottom seam. You will have a 3" - 4" opening so you need to make sure to press that under to line up with the bottom of the top. Place a few pins to hold it in place.
Next, top-stitch around the entire bottom using a 1/8" seam allowance. This will catch the opening and make it so the entire bottom is closed. You can use this technique to make garments reversible as well. Personally, I fell that it ensures that the bottom of any garment is nice and neat and the bottom seam is perfect. Again, you can totally ignore me if I lost you along the way.........if so, just follow the instructions in the pattern for a more typical way to hem.
The pattern now instructs for some additional top-stitching and button holes. Again, the button hole placement didn't seem to given exactly, so on the size small, I opted to do four buttons spaced about 4.5" apart. But you can do them however you would like.
I'm not going to go into details in regards to making button-holes since everyone's machine is different. I use a button-hole foot attachment with my machine that pretty much does all the work for me.
After you've sewn your button holes, open them with your seam ripper. I place a pin at the end of each hole so as to make sure I don't rip through the entire thing. I've been VERY thankful several times that I took the time to take this extra step.
Finally, finish your button holes with fray check or other sealer so that you prevent any additional fraying in the wash.
Whew! And that's pretty much it!! We will focus on the optional flower tomorrow. But for now your top and dress is complete. If you've made it this far, give yourself a pat on the back. This was not a garment for the beginner sewer so you should be very proud of yourself!!
Here are a few pictures of the front and back of my top. And do you think my little lady likes this outfit? You bet she does (which makes it even more rewarding)!!
Tomorrow we'll work on the flower, which is pretty easy, and we'll move onto the capris/shorts on Friday. See you then!
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
It's day 2 of the Carina Gardner "Playdate Outfit" sew along and today we are going to be working on the top or dress. The dress is made in the exact same way as the top, but just cut a little longer. So for the purpose of this post I will refer to this as "the top" instead of dress.
Whenever you start sewing with a pattern it's a good idea to read through the pattern several times before you begin. Check all the instructions, make sure you've cut all your pieces and pay careful attention to the seam allowances given for each step. Generally, there is a 1/2" - 5/8" seam allowance for most pieces, but you always need to double check and see.....the fit of your garment depends on it!
Sometimes I have to read things three times just to wrap my head around what the designer intended us to do during a certain step. It's not that an instruction is poorly written, it's usually that we all have different ways of understanding how a garment comes together. On a rare occassion, I will take things into my own hands and do it "my way", but that's only if I feel really strongly about the garment construction or I have absolutely no idea what they are talking about.
Let's get started..........
The first step in the pattern is to assemble the bodice. We've got to insert the accent piece of fabric into the exterior and interior of the top. Place right-sides together and stitch along the raw edge. Do this for both front bodice pieces (exterior and lining).
I've mentioned before that I am a huge fan of my iron, so here's where the love affair begins. I'm just warning you that you might get annoyed with the word "press" by the end of this sew along (I apologize in advance). Press the seams open and then flip your bodice and press again on the right side. Typically I would use my serger for the seams, but since this garment is lined, I went ahead and used the regular sewing machine.
A serger is not a necessary tool, it just makes the stitching move a little quicker, adds a nice clean edge and makes garments very durable.
Now we need to set up our machine to run a gathering stitch along the other front piece of the top. Set your machine to the longest stitch length (mine is 5.0). Stitch along the entire top of the piece, but make sure NOT to back-stitch at the beginning or end (otherwise you won't be able to gather). Stitch using about an 1/8" seam allowance.
Above is what the gathered piece will look like after you've run your gathering stitch. It will be somewhat gathered, but not quite enough.....which is where you come in.
Pull the bobbin thread (or the top thread) to gather the fabric. I like to gather from both sides because it makes things go a little faster. You want to gather your fabric until it lines up with the upper front bodice piece. Space your gathers out evenly.
Once you have gathered your piece to equal the same width as the top bodice, pin in place with right sides together. Stitch using seam allowance given in pattern, press your seams open, and then press on the right side.
Repeat and do the exact same thing with the lining pieces.
Next we need to sew the shoulder seams of both the exterior of the top and the lining. Line up the back pieces with the front pieces, right sides together, and stitch in place at the shoulder. Press seams open.
Now to sew around the neck-line. Place the exterior fabric and the lining fabric, right sides together. Pin around the neck-line. Stitch all the way around.
Next you need to notch out the collar in order to make sure it lays nice and flat. You could do traditional notching as I've shown in the first picture. Or you could do my "cheater" version that I've been doing a bit lately and use your pinking shears to cut around the collar. I find this notches out a wider neck-line just enough to make it lay flat. Turn right side out and press, making sure to get the seams nice and flat.
Next step......the shoulder ruffles. Place the shoulder ruffles right sides together and stitch along the straight side. Turn right side out and press.
After you've pressed the shoulder ruffles, run them back through your machine with a 1/8" seam allowance and top-stitch. Top-stitching adds a really nice finished look to an edge and is also great for increasing the durability of clothing due to the wear and tear a child can have on their clothing.
Now run a gathering stitch along the curved edge of the shoulder ruffles.
Pull the bobbin thread to gather and make the shoulder pieces into ruffles. So, this is a spot that was a little confusing in regards to the placement of the shoulder ruffles. I didn't see specific markings for where they were supposed to start and end (though I could have just missed it), so I just kind of interpreted things and went with where I thought they should go.
Gather the ruffles until they have reached your desired length. I started mine right where the accent fabric piece started on the front of the bodice and ran it about halfway down the back bodice arm hole. Run a basting stitch along the edge. A basting stitch is just a stitch length a little longer than your normal stitch to hold things in place - I usually do mine at 3.0.
Baste the shoulder ruffle ONLY to the exterior fabric. You're going to have to pull the lining away so you don't catch it in your stitches.
Ok, so this next step might have confused some of you or it might not have. I'm very used to doing arm holes this way since a lot of my garments in the shop are fully lined and this is my favorite way to achieve that nice look. Pull your two arm hole pieces apart from one another. Pull the exterior fabric over the top of the garment and pull the lining fabric underneath. Pull both pieces to the other side so they will now be right sides together.
You are going to scrunch the other arm hole pieces in so you can have the pieces you just pulled over from the other side with their right sides together. Make sure to bunch the other arm hole pieces up so you don't catch them in your seam. This is also why we used our basting stitch earlier so that we don't have to worry about the shoulder ruffle shifting.
Once you have scrunched the other arm hole piece up inside this arm hole piece, you'll want to pin it in place. Stitch according to given seam allowance. Clip around the curved seam so it lays flat. Pull the fabric through the stitched arm hole and repeat on the other side.
Here's how your shoulder ruffle should look in the arm hole once it is complete.
Ok, so that's been quite a bit of sewing for today. What do you say we call it quits and pick it up again tomorrow? Sounds like a good idea to me. See you tomorrow, when we finish the second half of our top/dress!Pin It