I haven’t designed a blog button. Fail. My ideas turned out to be complex and would have taken me away from the actual sewing (what’s the point in that?!) I asked Gary to help (him being an animator, and a dabber hand than me at these layering programmes). He’s been too busy (being VERY animated) tiling the kitchen & sinking a doormat into the wooden floor – what a hero.
So this is my 30 second attempt… for now…
Ha ha ha!! How’s everyone else getting on with NL6000 Fest?
Now you crazeeee ladeeez – some of you have said you’re joining in the Festival- or are at least thinking about it, namely:
So how’s everyone getting on? I hummed a bit wanting to make version C with the pretty gathered waist, but the decision was made for me, not having enough fabric to do that, and actually playing it work-safe. I am making the plain darted 3/4 length dress with the awesome collar & cute cuffs. I have only hand sewing left- that’s all. My plan is to write this & then sit IN FRONT OF THE TV (yes, I need laziness) & finish it off. Here it is waiting for me ….
Erk! It looks like an overall or a uniform, but it’s honestly nicer than it looks, even without the iron!! And it’s a deeper blue too.
So, for now I thought I’d spend some words waxing lyrical about the joy of underlining.
Now why did I think I’d underline instead of just a standard lining? I’ve underlined before for my vintage vogue jacket, here, but that also involved lining and is designed to provide a bit more structure to the cotton fabric in the case of the jacket. It did however provide me with my first trip down Underlining Lane, giving me the principles that I’d use for this dress. Tasia at Sewaholic has written some detailed posts about the right way to underline here. Underlining’s basically cutting a second version of your pattern pieces out of some suitable fabric, often something light weight for lining something sheer. It is also a way to cosify up a garment for winter – just imagine a winter dress with an added layer of flannel to keep you warm! Traditionally, the underlining is basted flat, wrong sides together, to the shell fabric pieces before any construction takes place. Pattern markings are often transferred once the underlining is attached, and basting is also needed around the edges of darts and seams through all thicknesses (also before any construction takes place) to make sure the two fabrics don’t move around too much. This takes ages & makes you feel so far away from sewing your garment.
Anyway, I wanted to underline this dress because I wanted some form of lining but knew that a tight dress such as this might be up for some serious stresses & how would a silky lining fabric stand up to the mega pressure caused by my hips & bum & all that sitting I do at work? I could predict seam failure- gradual if not dramatic ripping. The other reason for wanting to underline was because I’ve seen what beautiful seam finishes (Fromthesehands.net) you can achieve by sewing the underlining to the shell fabric. If I’m honest that was my primary motivation. [Think amazing seams] But what have I discovered when trying to find those original inspirational pictures? I found that I did it wrong! I should have cut an additional 1/4″ seam allowance to my underlining. But didn’t. Now please don’t think that I pretend to know how to do all these fancy things. I clearly make it up as I go along, being clear about my objective, grasping some of the approach, but certainly not in any worthy textbook way. (This might be reflected in my description of underlining above using non committal language, because I am really rather an obvious amateur!!)
I cut out shell & lining then pinned pattern pieces right sides together & thought . Should I sew the curved edges? What if it was a totally bad fit- why was I diving in head first, using an approach I am not familiar with, to a pattern I’ve never made without sewing a toile/ muslin first? Typical me. I was mentally biting my fingernails down to the quick imagining my folly. It was a great puzzle to work out & I compromised, sewing the straighter seams this way (with an erroneous 1/4″ narrow seam), leaving the curved armhole & neck edge seams to be basted together. This picture kind of shows what I mean.
It shows the dress front with side edges sewn right sides together, turned & pressed. It also shows the basting around the darts to keep the lining & shell fabric together to make the darts. The armhole edge is still unfinished with raw edges basted together. What this means is that I was actually finishing my side and shoulder seams right at the beginning – but it didn’t feel like it at the time.
So with the underlining attached, whatever method you are using, you then sew the dress through all thicknesses as if they are one piece – eg making the darts through all of the thicknesses of fabric. This is why there is all that basting earlier on so that the two fabrics act as one. (If not doing it the way I was trying out, you’d also normally finish seams as if you were sewing a normal garment- zig zag, serging or more swish binding/ HK seams etc.) Underlining also meant an easier and much neater finish for dress.plus.lining.plus.zip. Much neater. Although once I inserted the zip I was able to try the dress on & discover where it didn’t fit. Nothing too drastic. I had to take a wedge out of the centre back above my waist meaning a twice inserted zipper. It was almost perfect the first time as well, you thought right.
So with seam finishes the fabric equivalent of ambrosia, what about the other raw edges? The answer was self bias binding using Portia’s fabulous Easy Peasy bias strips – the masking tape method (Eureka! totally cool! No slippy stretchy botch jobs!) I bound the neck edge, the seam joining cuffs to sleeves and also the sleeve seams. No way was there going to be a trace of zig zag or a raw edge in sight.
A privileged view: the inside. Side seam, darts & the bias bound armhole edge.
I’m finishing these bias bindings by hand, and that is where I shall leave you for now ….
Please leave me a comment with how you are getting on, links to posts & when you think that you’ll be ready for the Festival.
I’ve got my work’s Christmas drinks on Friday evening & plan to put it through its paces then, so I’ll be ready when you are 🙂
Enjoy your sewing …