It’s been a long week of sewing and yet somehow it seems like nothing’s been done. What should have been a nice, simple bodice took three days to get to the point I am now and I’m still not done. Eesh, next bodice needs to be nice and easy and I can go to town on the skirt instead.Pictures and a rough walk through of how to make chevrons (or at least how I did). And for the love of god, if you know an easier way to do this, don’t tell me until after the dress is done.
It took a while to figure out the right angle for the stripes so, not having a protractor on hand, I eyeballed it by laying my clear ruler on top and having the stripe go right through the middle of the inch square. Cut the first center front piece, fold back the seam allowance in the middle to, match stripes for the other half of the center front piece. It helps to pin back the seam allowance on the pattern piece you’re currently cutting with, pin that down next to the previously cut piece, remove the previously cut piece, and then unpin the seam allowance. Minus the seam allowances, the two pieces should match up perfectly.
Voila! The two center front pieces pinned and moving on to the side. This gives you a better idea of the steps described above. The center front piece’s seam allowance has been pinned under and the piece itself pinned to the fabric so it won’t move. The new pattern piece has been pinned back at the seam allowance and now I’ll pin the pattern piece to the fabric at the correct location, remove the center front piece, unpin the pattern’s seam allowance, and cut.
Fast forward! Having a smaller frame helps to match all of the stripes up because I have no real curves to require curves in my pattern pieces. The only real curve is at the seam of the back and side back pieces and then then I was able to match the majority of the stripes.
All of the front pieces pinned together. After I made sure that the stripes all matched (holy crap they match!), I unpinned the two back portions from the front so I could attach the canvas later.
Having tried to match patterns before, I’ve found that the hardest part isn’t cutting the pattern out, it’s actually sewing the pieces together and with a fabric like poly taffeta, I knew the slip factor would drive me crazy. Currently all of the pieces were pinned along the seam allowance. Now I added a perpendicular column of pins to make sure the pieces wouldn’t slide. It took three times as long as it might have otherwise, but the results are perfect!
After sewing the outer pieces together and the canvas pieces together, I sewed the two layers at the back seam. This let me make the back edge boning channels directly from the canvas from the seam without showing on the outside or having to deal with making/buying boning channels. It also means that you can see the back stripes still match up pretty perfectly. I’ll also be able to do this for the two center front bones along the center front seam, but sadly I’ll have to actually cave in for the other bones as they aren’t along any seam allowances. Bodice currently on hold until I can pick up the bones, but not too far now!
Since I couldn’t do anything else on the bodice, I moved on to the underskirt. I cut another panel, overlocked my raw edges, and have started to pleat. I decided not to line the fabric because 1) I don’t want to buy more fabric, 2) I didn’t want the skirt to get ohmygod heavy or the waistband to be too thick, and 3) I was impatient to get started. Normally I’d hem the edge at this point, but now I’m wondering if I should add the knife pleats to the bottom of the underskirt rather than the overskirt and if I do then the length needs to be changes. Currently playing with the width of the pleats. Once again, I think I prefer the 2″ to the 1″ pleats so now I’ll probably take this apart and start fresh. My pleats will likely be stacked three high, whee!
Here’s the current checklist:
Cut the outer fabric.
-Sew the front and side pieces of each section together. Don’t connect the side pieces.
-Attach boning channels as needed to canvas.
-Sew the front/canvas pieces together at outer, top, and bottom edge, leaving sides open. Turn. Sew the raw edges closed or just overlock them.
-Sew front/back pieces together at sides.
-Try on and cry/scream/cheer about how terrible/crooked/painful the stripes look.
-Cut the remaining panels.
-Overlock any inside raw edges, sew all panels together.
-Overlock and hem bottom edge.
-Pleat, sew down pleats.
-Make waistband. Attach pleats to waistband.
-Take a spin break.
-Take existing skirt apart.
-Recut pieces to fit the new waistband. Adjust and sew the drawstring channels for the swags..
-Attach skirt to waistband.
-Take another spin break.
-Cut the horizontal length of fabric into multiple lengths, sew together.
-Hem until eyes go blurry.
-Pleat until there are no more pins. Possibly need to buy more pins. Keep pleating.
-Attach to underskirt.
-This might be thinking a little far ahead…