Thursday, April 29, 2010

Dottie's Day Dress

Another project finished!

I bought the fabric for this dress back in '01 after I saw this dress in Creative Needle Magazine.

The wind is blowing so the collar looks askew as does the skirt, but it is straight. A good photographer I am not!

The issue was July/August of 2000. The issue included the pattern which was designed by Trudy Horne. I just loved it when I saw it in the magazine and knew I just had to make it one day.

The back has a belt as opposed to a sash. I followed the design plate 'Carlisle" which was also in the issue.

Then in the Jan/Feb 2003 issue the dress appeared again only minus a collar and in white dimity. I just had to get some dimity, which I did and used it last month on the pink baby carriages dress.

In Jan/Feb 2004 the dress appeared again in white Swiss pique and the design plate was by Karen Platner called 'Double Delight" which was featured in that issue.

In the Sept/Oct issue of 2004, the same dress appeared in windowpane dimity and instead of smocking the front it was shirred. At the bottom of the shirring is hand stitched daisies, french knots on a bed of wheat stitches. This article was written by Trudy Horne and included shirring instructions.

The pattern was easy to follow and worked up quickly. Goodness only knows why I took so long to get to this project!
It's size 12 months.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Another UFO finished.

Another bodice style dress finished from the UFO box. I think I can make these in my sleep since I've made so many in the past few weeks!

Matching the colours in the fabric, I made little embroidery flowers on the collar and cuffs.
This dress is size 3.

All of this fabric, (with the exception of a little bit that could be used for piping) is busted from my stash.

Babies on the way

There are at least 4 babies that I know of that will be born in the near future. So I've been busy this week making at least two little dresses for a baby girl that will be born in early May.

I got the idea to make this newborn Bishop dress from an issue of Embroidery & Cross Stitch and the article was called 'Welcome Home' featuring a pink bishop designed by Judith Adams.

I tried to make it exactly the same using the fabric I had available in my stash and followed her design plate.
It turned out well despite not having all the lace required as per the pattern.

Then I made an Itty Bitty Baby Dress. The pattern can be downloaded from here.

This pattern is easy and quick to make. It's so cute too that I found myself giggling while I was sewing it.

I have now used up all the yellow butterfly fabric from my stash and some lace.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Feliz Dress/Muslin/Test Run

Test run using cheapo fabric to make the Feliz dress following the tutorial from Trillium Design and the PDF download from Studio Tantrum
Having made the dress quickly and taking photos during the process, I now know how to make it (again) with minor changes and blogging it here because any piece of paper or notes will certainly get lost in my messy sewing room.
This trial run is using the smallest size.

Next time, I would make the ruffles first. That way, I could set the Serger for the rolled hem to finish the edges ( 3 threads RN in, LN out, Lower Looper tension set to 7-9, stitch finger forward, length 1.5) then reset the Serger to 4 threads to finish insides seams etc.


Finish edges of facing for the side panels.

Make back bow/sash.

Next time, I will cut the back sash narrow for the distance of the side panels and then increase to make wider. I would like to see a wider sash when it is tied. It can't be wide from where it gets attached at the side seams because it won't fit through the casing at a later step.

Mention is made of elastic at the end that goes into the side seam. For a smaller size, I don't think this step is necessary.

NOTE: These aren't necessary, particularly on smaller sizes.

Button holders. Cut piece of fabric 1 1/2 inches wide, maybe smaller.

Fold in half. Stitch the length.

Cut to 4 inch lengths, fold to make little tents. Stitch across top to hold in place.

Stitch to side panel of one side of the overdress.

Then pin and stitch the facings to the side panels.

Pin the sash pieces in between the front and the side panels.

At this point, BEFORE attaching front to side panels, the front can be trimmed or decorated.
This is the front panel. It could be decorated with ric rac, trims etc. before attaching to side panels.
Ric rac could be stitched down the front sides.
Or, side panels when attached to front panel could be decorated with trim or piping.

Edge stitch along the top, down the sides and on the front seams.
Hem bottom on overdress. I used lace. Next time I will add very shallow ruffle in a complimentary fabric, or perhaps eyelet lace. This lace was too wispy.

Ruffles. The hems were serged using rolled hem. Should have done this step first. The hems could also be piped with a bias trim.
These were cut 4 inches wide by 40 inches long. Should be longer for larger sizes.
Ruffle could also be 3 1/2 inches maybe smaller?

Ruffler. Easy to use! Should have bought one years ago.

Set stitch length to 2.5 as per instructions.

Great ruffles! Serged the top edge AFTER ruffling, This kept the ruffles in tact and finished off the edge nicely.


On the back panel, marked a line 3 1/2 inches up from bottom edge for first length of ruffles. Then 2 inches away from that for the second length, and again 2 inches away for the third and 2 inches from that for the fourth.
Three lengths of ruffles will do for next time.

Lay the length of ruffles facing upward, and stitch along marked line. Fold down, press.
Four lengths of ruffles. Notice the facing is attached to the top edge of the back panel.

Finish bottom edge of back panel facing. Stitch just along the top of the facing to the back centre panel. See above, but the photo doesn't show upper edge. Ooops.

Mark lines for elastic casing on the centre back 3/4 inch apart, starting just below the curve.

Stitch casing lines through centre back top and facing. Insert elastic. Pull up, pin sides and stitch to hold in place.Stitch back panel to side panels leaving a 1/2 inch of side panel above the curve of the back centre panel at the top edge.

Then sew front panel to side panels so the whole dress is now in a round.

Stitch straps together. Make a frill or decorate with ric-rac at this point.

NOTE: the frill isn't necessary.


Pin the strap at the edge of the front panel SEE FLAT HEAD PINS, and back edge of strap to back side panel SEE FLAT HEAD PINS. The straps are in a U shape from the front panel to the back of the side panels sandwiched between overdress and underdress.
Then pin the RS of the Overdress to the WS of the Underdress and stitch along the top edge.

Flip, and edge stitch along top edge.

Pin the sash to the Overdress on the inside, then lay it sandwiched between the Overdress and Underdress and mark for casing.

Stitch along those marked lines.

Finished dress. It still needs a length of ruffle around the whole hem of the Underdress.


Omit the ruffles from the straps.
Use piping on the front side panels.Use a shallow ruffled hem or eyelet lace on overdress not thin lace as this one has.
Maybe add pockets on the front, or decorate the front bib area.

The button closures weren't necessary on smaller dress.
One less length of ruffle may make it sit better. If the ruffles are 3 1/2 or smaller, then maybe 4 (more?) might be in order.
The sash could be wider, but can't be too wide for the length of the casing.
Elastic may not be necessary for smaller sizes.

Again, a ruffle around the entire hem of the Overdress is needs to be put on, which will make it longer and frillier.

Easy to construct.
Fun talking to ones self.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Caitlin's Birthday Dress

Caitlin will be turning 1 on May 2nd. I made this dress with her birthday photo in mind.

It took forever to get the monogram to space properly. It still isn't the greatest but it's the best I can do.

I started by centering the G using 30mm size. Then backed up, and centered the C using 12mm and increased the stitch width to 6.0 and the stitch length to 6.0. That made the C bigger than just 12mm.
Then I moved the needle forward and stitched the E, using the same sizing.

It's 12 month size. I used the Float Dress pattern for the collar that was inside another pattern,

called Ashtyne's Heirloom dress. It was really easy to make and worked up fast. Except, of course for monogram business.

The fabric is a pique of sorts. It was called French cotton where I bought it. It's a beautiful powder blue, unlike the grey that it seems to appear in this photo!

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Originally, I wanted to do this design plate on a powder blue pique. Since I have never done picture smocking on pique and in case it wouldn't turn out, I opted for an insert using batiste.

I've done this plate before, on white broadcloth and included the ribbon sash. I found that my girls managed to wiggle and twirl so much, that the ribbon always seemed to sit uneven on their dress. This time around, I left off the ribbon and being an insert, it wouldn't work anyway.

I used the hem tuck trick again. It sure makes a dress work up quickly and saves hand work time.

I heard once that it takes 7 years to develop your 'hand' at smocking. Because I keep wandering away from smocking for years at a time, I doubt I'll even spend a full 7 years to perfect even stitching. Regardless, I do enjoy smocking, perfect or not!

I really like the whipped stitching technique using Tiger Tape for a guide. It's so easy! Why didn't I do this before?

Now that the dress is finished I can seen multiple errors.
I used Floche to backsmock. It seems too thick and the lines show through.
During the blocking process, I should have taken more care to make sure everything lined up. The top garland row does not line up with the bottom garland row. Doh!

With an insert, I cannot seem to reduce the bulk between the insert and the dress skirt. Next time around I'll try stitching the two together prior to pleating and see how that works out.

If I use Bluebirds again, I'll space the birds closer together. Maybe I'll make then Robins instead of Bluebirds as suggested on the design plate.

The blue pique is sitting on the cutting table, waiting for the next project.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Hymn, Hem, Him.

Baby Carriages on Dimity size 12 months, finished!

When it came time to sew this dress together, I was thinking about the funny experience I had at the 25th SAGA Convention in Atlanta, years ago.

Before leaving for the USA, I was prepped on customs. Be aware, I was told, that folks in the USA, particularly in the south, are very religious. Plus that, they have a funny accent.

So off I went and took several classes at the convention and the one I was thinking about for this project, was the class I took with Cindy Foose. It was all about embellishing.

We spent better part of the morning trying out different stitches and techniques, having a great time learning from such a delightful and wonderful expert, complete with a funny accent, just as I was told.

Later that morning, she suggested we take a short break and when we return we would do hymns. Hymns? Oh, no!! I can't remember the words let alone the titles of hymns, I thought to myself.
I need a hymnal. Maybe she would accept a Christmas Carol instead, I thought. Or I could fake it. I could pretend I was singing an Inuit hymn. No. That won't do, I continued in my state of sheer panic, I just better come clean.

Skulking back to the class, she brought out some dresses and pointed to the bottom. It all became clear. HEMS! She way saying hems! Phew.

Referring back to that class and that lovely lady, I made a double tucked hem on this dress.

Unfortunately, I didn't have 8 matching 8mm buttons. Living in the middle of nowhere, it's difficult to find sewing supplies. Waiting for an on-line order, just wasn't going to work for this project.
I came up 8 buttons that sort of matched. Dear husband, with the 'perfection eye' couldn't spot the mismatched ones, so it passed the test.

I also whipped some floss around white piping to add colour. Using Tiger tape, I whipped 3 strands of floss every second black line.

Hymn, hem. It does sound the same spoken with a southern accent.

Actually, when the Queen is about to speak, she clears her throat saying 'him, him, him'. Well, it at least it sounds like she's saying 'him'. She has a funny accent too!