Friday, April 16, 2010

A-line ruffle front dress tutorial

I've had this idea for a while now and decided to just go ahead and try it! So glad I did! Turns out that I love it! and it's so simple to do. It really does not use a lot of fabric to make but it gives you lots of opportunities to use different fabric coordinates. For my A-line I started with the pattern "Charlotte" by The Childrens Corner, but really you could use this on any A-line pattern you might already own.
Let's get started! First, you are going to trace off your front A-line pattern piece. In the picture here I am using a woven tracing material that doesn't show up in this picture very well, but it's actually laying on top of my pattern. After you have traced your pattern, line up your ruler to the center front fold line and draw a straight line on the far left side of your pattern piece that is parallel to the center front fold line.This line is going to be your new grain line, because you are about to split this pattern into two separate pieces.Also make sure you make a note on your pattern piece where you need to place on the fold line of your fabric.

Next, you are going draw out your line for the triangle split. I just had to "eyeball" it. I really don't think you can mess it up.At the hem it's about half of the distance between the side seam and center front fold line. It's slightly less than half the distance on the neck .

Once you have drawn your line to split the pattern I like to mark my new patterns with notes to add my seam allowances at the split. You could retrace your patterns out again with the added seam allowance but I just prefer to add it when I cut it out on my fabric.

Here's the triangle cut out with the added seam allowance on the fold.

Next you are going to cut your strips for the ruffles. Here, I have folded my fabric in half so that it is easier and faster to cut my strips. In my sample, I cut 3 strips sizes 3 1/2"x the 45" width of fabric.I used my serger to roll my hem but you might want to cut your strips a little wider(4" x width of fabric works well) if you are going to finish your edges with a rolled hem on your sewing machine.
At this time you should prepare all your ruffle strips by finishing with some kind of hem on one edge and gather the other raw edge. I like to use my serger to gather because it will finish the raw edge too, but if you do not have a serger, you will need to zig-zag your ruffled edge to keep it from fraying in the wash.

I did not connect my strips because I did not want any seams in the middle of my dress ruffles.Starting at the bottom of your triangle measure up about 1 1/4" from the raw edge. This will give you an idea where it needs to fall. Then at the top of your ruffle tuck under 3/8" and do this to both sides.
Then flip over your ruffle r.s.t.(right sides together), this will give you an idea where you need to start pinning your ruffle in place. I will then use my seam gauge to help me line up the rest of my ruffle.3 1/2" worked for my project.

Here's a picture of what it will look like when pinned and ready to sew.Be generous at the edges of your ruffle piece. I like to trim it after I have sewn and pressed it in place.

I sewed my ruffles down with a 3/8" seam.Flip your ruffle down and steam in place. Then trim the sides of your ruffle off.

Next, decide where you want to position the next ruffle and once you decide, set your seam gauge to the measurement and pin the rest of the ruffle in place like you did the first one.For my sample dress,I positioned my next ruffle at 2" above the first ruffle, but your measurement might be a little different if your ruffle is larger or smaller than mine.Continue sewing your ruffle strips going up the triangle.I did not worry too much about where it would end up at the top. the first one I made, I continued my ruffles all the way to the top, but on this one I stopped it about 1" from the top. Both ways look fine to me.

After all my ruffles are finished, I like to stay stitch my ruffles in place down the sides so they stay in place when I sew them in the seam.

Now, take the other front side pieces and with r.s.t. sew one on both sides of your triangle.Now, I forgot to do it here in my picture, but you should add your sash in your seam at this point.Press seams.

My neck edge turned out a little wonky so I trimmed my neck edge to round it out more but I kept my shoulder width the same because it still needs to match the back shoulder piece.

Just so you can see that I make goofy mistakes too, I forgot to add my ribbon sash in the seam. No worries, I just opened up the seams where I wanted to insert the ribbon and resewed it in place.

Lay out your front piece you just created on your lining material and cut. For the rest of the dress you will finish up by using the directions from your sewing pattern.
That's it! Let me know if you have any questions. I'd love to hear from anybody that makes one using my tutorial.Enjoy!
I almost forgot to mention yardage. Use the regular yardage requirements from your pattern for the main fabric,lining and triangle accent piece. If you refold your fabric and cut the triangle at the far edge, you will have plenty left over to cut your ruffle strips from the other side.For the two I made,size 3 and 4, I used 5/8 yard of the main fabric and 5/8 yard for the triangle and ruffle accent piece and 5/8 yard of lining.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Charlotte tutorial

Okay, Before I post the tutorial for the ruffled front A-line dress, I thought I would post a tutorial on how I make my adaptions to the "Charlotte" pattern(by Childrens Corner). Some people at the shop have been asking for this so I might as well post it now and get it out of the way.I adore this little dress pattern. A while back I used this pattern and made a mistake to the front so I was forced to move the opening to the back to try and save what I had done to the front. Turns out that I really liked the change. I like that I only have to worry about one button for the back closure. Also, I use alot of buttons for trims and with the button closure in the back, it doesn't effect how I decorate the front.My favorite thing about this dress is how well it fits. Love how it looks on my two favorite gals, Jada and Jewel.

Warning! This is a looooooooooooooonnnnggg post.Hope I can make sense of it.I tryed to take lots of pictures so that it would be easier to understand.I know I love picture instructions when I sew! Keep in mind, I am a sewer, not a writer. I'll do the best I can to make this understandible.Hopefully my pictures will explain things better than I can. Here is the finished product! In this tutorial I'm not going to show how I did the front detail, that will come later when I explain how I create the ruffled A-line.
Cut your back lining and outer pattern piece on the fold, just like the pattern has you do.

On the center back fold of your lining, cut a slit, about 6" to 7" long.

Normally, the front is cut into two separate pieces because you button down the front. Instead we are going to fold the pattern piece on the center front line and cut one entire pattern piece on the fold.Cut one of your outer fabric and one for your lining.

Sew front and back outer pieces and front and back lining pieces at the shoulders.

Cut a 1 1/8"x 4" (doesn't really matter how long) strip. Fold in half and sew 1/4" seam.Turn.

Fold your spaghetti tubing around your button you will sew in later and mark with a pin where it fits best around your button. Pin your outer and lining pieces R.S.T.(Right sides together) starting at the shoulder seams.Slip your button tube in the top left side or right(I'm not sure what side is correct). Be sure to come down at least 1/4" from the top edge and use the pin marking to help you find 1/4" from your raw edge.

Here's a better picture of what you will be sewing.

I usually sew around the neck first and then sew down my back slit last. As you sew down the slit. taper in as you sew. When you get down to the bottom of the slit, you should be right at the edge of your slit. Put the needle in the down position and turn your fabric and as you are sewing back up the slit, taper back out.It might help if you mark your fabric where you need to sew.

Here's a better picture of exactly what you will be sewing.

Cut the outer piece just like the lining has been cut. Be sure to cut as close to your stitching at the bottom without cutting through your stitches.Clip your neck edge curves.Turn to right sides and press.

I really recommend using some sort of fray check at this point cause there is not much fabric holding that seam together.I have had some of my tops fray when I went to wash them later.

Here's a picture of what it should look like after you have turned and pressed.

Next, you are going to sew your armhole seam.To me, this was a bit tricky the first time I ever came across it in pattern directions. Hope my pictures explain it well enough. You are going to take your outer and lining armhole and wrap over the other shoulder .Your lining will go under while your outer piece will go over the other shoulder is going to be "sandwiched" in between.Pin and sew your armhole seam.

Once you have sewn your armhole seam, clip your curves and pull out the shoulder that is in the "sandwich" to the right side. Repeat for the other shoulder. Press.

Open up your sides matching your lining to lining and outer pieces R.S.T. Sew one continuous seam from lining to outer pieces(sew right over the armhole seam).On one side of the lining seam, leave a 5" gap.

Now you are going to finish the bottom of your dress with an enclosed hem. Starting at the side seam away from your 5" lining gap, flip up,so that right sides are together and line up your side seam.Pin in place. Start twisting your fabric around so that you are matching right sides together and work around the bottom hem as far as you can go.It will get to a point that you can't pin anymore.Sew what you have pinned.( It will look very messy,cause half your dress will be twisted up in the other half )

I tried to get a picture of what it will look like. I know, it's kind of hard to tell.

Turn to the right side.

Reach in the hole you left in your lining and pull out the lining and outer side seams and match up and pin in place. Start pulling the rest of your hem through the hole in your lining and pin the rest of the hem that has not been sewn yet.Finish sewing the complete seam where you left off with the other.

Here's the best picture I could get of what it will look like. The other side of the dress is stuffed inside of itself. Hard to explain this until you actually try it. If you do not understand my directions, go to the Childrens Corner website. Lezette Thomason (she designs the patterns) has done a wonderful video tutorial on how to sew this kind of hem. I've watched it for myself and it is very good!

Pull your dress to the right sides by pulling back out through the hole in your lining.

Press your hem.

Hand stitch the hole in your lining closed.

Sew on your button to the back right side and you're done!

I really hope this helps. Enjoy! Please let me know if you actually use my tutorial. I'd love to hear about your experience.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Silly Girls

I had to babysit Jada and Jewel this afternoon! They are so much fun! They modeled some of my newest outfits. After our modeling session they helped me clean up my backyard furniture. Hehe, they really did help! Jada hosed off my furniture and well.....Jewel played in the water
They are such sweet girls and they are growing up so fast!
I plan on doing a tutorial post on how to make the black and white dress that Jewel is wearing.I want to try out a few more ideas using the same concept.But stay tuned for that in the near future.Bye for now!