Monthly Archives: August 2013

Finally – A Finished Dress!

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I used the princess seam bodice of New Look 6020, and substituted New Look A6843 for a basic flared skirt because I didn’t have enough fabric for the 6 paneled skirt of the dress pattern.  I made a muslin of the bodice and worked on the fit.  I started with a size 14 but ended up with about 1 inch side seam allowance so the sizes must have a lot of ease. I would expect a dress with a zipper to be more fitted.  For the skirt I didn’t put much thought into it and cut out the largest size, and then added 2 small pleats to fit the bodice.  I changed the side zipper of the pattern to an invisible back zipper.  The dress is fully lined.

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This first dress is a dress of many firsts:  first time inserting an invisible zipper, sewing princess seams, lining a bodice, and understitching.

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I started by reading blogs of knitters who also sewed and thought I wish I could do that.  Then I bought a sewing machine and hardly took it out of  the box for a year.  I had a fear of cutting fabric.  Little by little, I  have started to gain experience and knowledge. This was my fourth item of clothing sewn from scratch, and a big challenge for me.

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A hot day to be outside taking photos!

I’m so glad it’s done before summer’s end.

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Learning and Mistakes Along the Way

On the home stretch to finishing my dress, I have had a few problems.  First I put in the 12-14 inch zipper listed on the pattern envelope.  Common sense should have told me it would be too short, and it was.  It was hard unpicking the tiny stitches, but I did a better job putting in the replacement zipper, a 22 inch zipper I shortened to 18 inch.  The first time I caught some of the coils and the zipper couldn’t move.  The second time I ironed the zipper and I manually moved the coils to the side as I sewed.  I bought the Brother invisible zipper foot.  My waist seam didn’t match up on either side of the zipper so more unpicking.

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I look at 2 or 3 different tutorials for every technique I need help with.  For my zipper the one I found most helpful was this tutorial:

Installing an invisible zipper from the Colette Patterns website

My favorite instruction on princess seams:

Princess Seams from sew2pro.com

I used these tutorials to figure out how to attach the lining:

All-Machine Clean-Finish Sleeveless Bodice Lining Technique Tutorial from the Slapdash Sewist

How to Line a Sleeveless Dress from E-how

The book, The Perfect Fit, for altering princess seams to fit a full bust.

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I didn’t trim my lining properly so I badly needed to understitch.  The part that I wondered about is if you sew through both seam allowances; I came to the conclusion that you do.

A good tutorial is:

Understitching from Sewaholic

I enjoyed using my new rotary pinking blade to finish my seams.

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This one needs grading:

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Oops! or should I say “darn!” (pun intended).  Not a mistake you want to make at this point, but at least my fingers are intact.

All that’s left now is hemming and tacking the lining to the zipper. I’m so ready to be finished!