Friday, 27 August 2010

Flowery Dress - the making of (Part 1)

Hi everyone!

As happens often these days, it's been a fair long time no post. I haven't been up to nothing though. I've actually been doing more sewing. Yaya. I promised my ickle sister Lucy that I would make her a dress for her birthday. Well, her birthday was 12th of July and as of yet I've not put a single stitch into her dress... but with good reason! Being rather skint at the moment, I can't afford to waste the lovely black polka-dot fabric that I bought for her dress, and since I'm making a design of my own, I figured it would be a good idea to make a test dress. Otherwise known here on in as my flowery dress. Made from great charity-shop-bought material which once upon a time lived a better life as a duvet cover. But don't tell.

So anyway. I'm making this test dress to my measurements so that it won't go to waste, but also because I can then test it on myself as I go. As yet the design seems fine, but then, I've only done the bodice and straps so far, and you can't go far wrong with some straight straps on a shapeless bodice! It's the next bit - the lace up back - that will tell me whether or not my design is a complete loada trash... ;)

Check out the flowery goodness.
As you can tell from the fabric, this dress is going to be somewhat farmhousey, country-wifey. Whether this is a good or bad look on me, I'm yet to find out...

This is going to be a descriptive 'making of', but if any of you want the measurements for the pattern then just drop me a message.

So firstly... mark and cut out the fabric. I couldn't even do this bit right.

You can't tell from here, but my rectangles weren't very, well, rectangular. I mean, it's hard with such huge rectangles! But really, I should have taken more time over it, and as a result I had to sort of re-trim the bodice once the top was sewn together. But it was ok because the waist was a little too low anyway.

Because I'm weird, I started out by making the belt. Oh yes, the overall design for this dress is a rectangular bodice and gathered skirt, pulled in at the waist with a belt. The top bit of the bodice at the back is lace-up to allow room for boobie growth. Useful for both my little sis and my own (post-pregnancy & now breast feeding) fluctuating chest!

So yeah... Technically simple but, having never made an adult dress before, I'm having to double and triple check everything in theory so that it will work in practice!

So anyway. Belt. First I cut out a length of fabric to the desired width and then pressed it.

Check out our £5 iron! Booyah!

It's actually great.

This is the centre piece of the belt (total of 3 pieces). As you can see, I folded the fabric so that it would be sewed onto the base of the bodice, just around the front. Then the other sections of the belt will be free-flowing so you can gather and tie it at the back.

Next: sewing the end sections of the belt. These were long rectangles. I sewed them into tubes inside out, and then righted them and pressed them.

Simple zig-zag stitch secured with a straight stitch gone over itself a few times.
It was some blog where I read the safety-pin way of turning things right way out. Works quite well.

Pressed, with the seam put slightly to side so that it won't be seen from the front.
Then I had to sew the end parts of the belt to the centre part. I wasn't entirely sure how to do this so that I could still sew the centre piece onto the base of the bodice, and ended up doing it in a manner which means I'll only be able to sew most of the main section on the machine, and will have to sew the ends by hand.

A side section of the belt pinned on top of the centre piece
As it will look from the front
Pinned as I was going to sew it (in the middle of sewing I altered this to hide the raw edge - silly me
As I actually sewed it!
The photo above shows how I sewed the bit which needed to be seamed into the bodice... obviously I cant get the machine in the very corner though!

Only after sewing an edge bit of the belt onto the centre piece did I realised that I hadn't seamed the end! But the way I wanted to do it was actually easier the right way round than it was inside out, so I ended up doing both like this.

I like pointy edges on belts.

 Straps next. Just smaller bits of fabric sewn inside out and then turned and pressed.

It looks like some sort of strange caterpillar when turning it the right way out.
Next is checking the length and then pinning on the straps...

I tacked these on because it was just too much hassle to try and hold while sewing in the machine!

Pressed these before sewing, too, of course. Yawn. I like the photo though. So it's in.

Sewing along a well pencilled line. Actually did it pretty straight, too (for once!) =)

And this is what it looks like all sewn together. Un-pressed in this photo. Looks sort of baloony here.

Once the bodice is finished being sewn there was no way I'd be able to get back 'in' to fix the straps if they ever came off so I made sure they were well and truly on!

All sewn and pressed and ready for the more complicated things!

Well that's as far as I've got for now. Look forward to the next instalment in a while.

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