Here is the blow-by-blow (and I really mean blow-by-blow-by-blow-by-blow) on how to make this dress. I’m mainly blogging this one because I had entirely forgotten how I made this previous dress and it took me ages remembering the steps (I made it up as I went along the first time round so had nothing to refer back to). SO this post is to serve as my lesson the next time I attempt another dress. As Caro in our office says, we are addicted to Quality Management Systems…
The dress has FULLY ENCLOSED SEAMS. Now again I should mention I am NOT a dressmaker and know very little about the proper way to sew, so my terms are my own and may very well confuse those with more knowledge that myself. However. All seams with the exception of the bottom hem are enclosed, such that there are no frayed edges on the side seams, and the arms and neckline have hidden seams to the facing. The pictures will help explain… and if you are reading this and can see glaring mistakes I’m making or better ways to do things please enlighten me…
THE HOMESPUN BBQ TUNIC WITH PUFF BOTTOM
Step 1: Work out your pattern onto pattern paper or in my case, baking paper. I used two panels to make the back of the dress with a centre seam, though it would probably also work ok with a single panel back. For the front of the dress I worked out the pattern, then made some pleats in the fabric, then cut the pinned pleated fabric out to fit the front panel.
A NOTE ABOUT SEAMS… I allow pretty generous seam allowance in the pattern to account for the enclosed seams. So about an inch all around. For all seams except the bottom hem, the seam is sewn “open” with right sides facing out, then trimmed, turned inside out, and sewn again to enclose the first seam and the trimmed fabric edge. Here is a photo of this:
With fabric right sides out, sew the open (rough) seam edge, then trim the fabric
Closing in the seam - fabric is now inside out and the first seam is being "enclosed" within this additional seam
If this part made sense, read on… and if it didnt, keep reading – it might end up making more sense as I talk the whole thing through…
I start the tutorial with making the pleats, then cutting out the panels and facings…
Decide on the front detail. I chose pleats, so made these by folding the fabric over a ruler, then ironing flat before pinning.
The pleats work from the centreline outwards, so I have one and half pleats each side of the centreline.
Fold the fabric at the centreline and lie the pattern on top
Cut out the front and back panels, ensuring an inch or so seam allowance
Stitch the back centreline seam with the open stich (right sides out) then flip over, fold and press, and close in the seam.
Cut out a front and back facing to match the front and back panels
Now I am pinning the shoulders of the front panel to the back pane, right sides out. Im then going to sew these (open seam), then turn inside out, then sew closed seam.
Ditto to the facings, sew the shoulders together right side out, then turn inside out and sew in that same seam. turn right way out again and iron seam flat
With right sides out, pin, then stich the neckline (open seam).
Turn the dress inside out and close in the neckline seam (closed seam). Now you will be getting the hang of the open seam/closed seam gig, right?
Turn right way out again and press the neckline seam. The front facing can be stiched onto the reverse (hidden part) of the pleats, either with the sewing machine or handstiched.
Now for the arm holes. Align the front and back panels, then with fabric right way out stitch around the seam, then trim. Repeat with other armhole,
Now for the tricky bit. Pull through the front part of the armhole to be inside out. Then stiched the seam closed starting from the shoulder seam and ending at the top of the side seam. Then do the same pulling the back panel of the arm to inside out and stiching from the shoulder seam (meeting up with where you have just sewn) and ending up at the top of the side seam. Turn back right way out.
Repeat with both armholes.
Now stich the side seams with the same enclosed seam method. First stitch the seam with the right sides facing out, trim, turn inside out and stitch the seam closed. Repeat with both sides.
Repeat side seams. Then finally stitch up the bottom hem. My dress ended up rather too floaty, so I added some thin elastic to make it a puff dress.
The puffy bottom... Next time I would make the sleeves a little more tight, even though at the outset I wanted this to be a floatier dress.
Phew! There you have it. Not the quickest tutorial I’d have to say, but now that I have figured out this enclosed seams method I want to try out some more shapes with it….i’ll keep you posted.