Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Panel Front A-line (with ruffles)

This is just another design tutorial on how to make the panel on the Panel Front A-line dress. Like the first one I showed, you can use any A-line dress pattern you may already own. To get started, cut your front pattern piece and a long narrow strip of fabric for your mock panel (about 4 1/2" wide or less x length of dress plus 2" more). For the ruffles, I cut 2 strips 3" wide by width of  the fabric.Cut a strip of medium weight fusible interfacing the same size as your mock panel and go ahead and fuse it to the wrong side.This is optional, but it does help keep your panel from puckering when you sew the ruffles on.

To prepare your ruffles, fold the 3" strips in half(long length) and press.Run a gathering stitch along the raw edge with your machine to draw up the fabric to make your ruffles. I like to use my basting stitch on my sewing machine for this, but if you don't have that option, set your machine to a straight stitch and then set it on the longest stitch length your machine will go to.
Distribute your ruffles evenly and then pin to one of the long edges of your panel. Sew a 3/8" seam. Then flip the ruffle so that the seam is turning into the center of the panel and press.At this point, lay the panel on top of your dress front pattern piece and decide how wide you need to cut it down. There is no right or wrong answer to this. It will depend on what size dress you make, what fabric selections you have chosen, and what size buttons you are using. Once you've decided, cut, and then pin and sew the other ruffle. Press in the same manner as your first ruffle.
Find the centers of your panel and your dress front and line up and pin in place.

Topstitch about 1/16" away from the ruffle seam. Do this for both sides.
Place  right side down on your cutting mat and trim off the excess at your hem and neck edge.

Cut the back fabric out if you can see the print showing through to the front side.If it doesn't show, you don't neccesarily need to do this.
Stay stich your ruffles at the hem and neck edge to keep them in place.

Now your ready to finish sewing your dress following the directions your pattern gives you.

Panel Front A-line Tutorial (with grossgrain ribbon and large rick-rack)

I've been meaning to do a tutorial on this dress for awhile, but finding time to set it up on here........well that can be a problem sometimes. Several customers at the shop have asked me how I do this because I always make them for sample garments. I love making them cause it's so quick and simple to do but it shows off the fabrics so well. At first I thought there was no need to do a tutorial on it cause I thought it was too simple and most sewers could figure it out, but we have alot of beginning sewers that need just a little guidance. So here you go ladies! You asked and I listened!

Use any A-line pattern you may have on hand. My personal favorite is "Charlotte" and I always make it with the one button opening in the back( I have an earlier tutorial on how I do that).
Begin by cutting your front pattern piece from your face fabric and clip your center front at the bottom hem and at the neck by making a small clip with your scissors.

Cut a panel of fabric about 4" wide or less for your mock panel piece.Be generous with the length of this panel. It's best to be at least 1" above the shoulder seams and below the hem( you will cut this off later on).

 Start by top stitching your grossgrain ribbon to your fabric panel matching the edge of your ribbon to the raw edge of the fabric.

 After you have sewn the first side of your ribbon, lay out your panel on your dress front and decide about how wide you would like your panel to be. Don't fret on trying to be perfect with this, because there's no right or wrong.I've made my panels all different sizes and they have all turned out great no matter what size I decided on. For me, it depends on the dress size you are making, the fabric you are working with, and how large the buttons are you have chosen for your project. Above is a picture of how I decided on where I was to cut mine. Once you have made your cut, topstich the other strip of grossgrain trim to the other side of your fabric panel.
 Lift up your sewn ribbon and trim the fabric underneath about 1/2" off.
 Slip your giant rick-rack underneath the outer edge of your grossgrain ribbon and stich it in place by topstiching  through the ribbon.While sewing, try to align the rick-rack so that there is about 1/8" or slightly less in the "valley" of your rick-rack. Sew the other long side of panel in the same manner.
 Press your panel on a fluffy towel so that the rick-rack teeth don't make an impression underneath the ribbon.
 Next, you are ready to center and pin in place your panel to the front of the dress. The way I position my panel is to fold in half lengthwise to find the center( of the panel) at the top and the bottom, mark, and then line these markings up with my center front marks I made on the dress earlier.
Now you're ready to take it to your machine and topstich. This time you are going to topstich on the edge of the rick-rack.

Turn your dress front right side down and trim the panel piece down to match your neck line.
Cut the excess off down at the hem also.
Cut off the extra fabric that is underneath the panel. Now this part is optional. Sometimes I leave the extra fabric underneath if I don't see the print from the top.

Now you are ready to finish the dress using the pattern instructions.

Beach Getaway for Memorial Day weekend

Just had to share the pictures of the girls in there mermaid dresses from this past weekend trip to the beach.

 We only stayed for two days so we missed Tropical Storm "Beryl". The girls loved the beach, even though the giant waves scared them a bit.
If anyone is interested in the dresses I made for the girl's beach pictures in here- The pattern I used is "Analise" by Portabellopixie Boutique. The fabric is white chantung linen by Spechler/Vogel. The mermaid design is from
Contact the Sew Blessed shop to ask for the ladies to put together a kit for you to make this at

Hope everybody had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!