Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Simplicity 8167 with Chiffon Border Print

Sew Chic for Simplicity 8167
Simplicity 8167
If you are about to make Simplicity 8167, first of all, I want to thank you for choosing my pattern with Simplicity! Originally named the Southern Belle, this dress is SO easy to make, that I would rate it for beginners. I understand that with some clothing, you want to put in a little extra effort to make it bloom into something special. If  this is the case, you'll have to step away from the pattern guide just a little, but remember not to over do it just for the sake of extra work. Add extra steps ONLY if it will really improve the garment. As an example, I'm going to show you the special features I've used to make this gorgeous version of the dress in chiffon.

Sew Chic for Simplicity 8167
Sew Chic for Simplicity 8167
On this variation, I have omitted the godets at the hem. Review this post to give the skirt a standard hemline like you see here. My neckline is round, not square and my sleeve has a slight bell and gathered at the hem. (I personally like the original sleeve better.) This style is meant to be soft, so drapey fabrics like this border print chiffon are perfect. I used a black lining with a touch of body as the second layer and that's it. Two layers basted together is all you really need to keep this dress soft, light weight and very floaty!

Sew Chic for Simplicity 8167
Sew Chic for Simplicity 8167
 The really fun thing about this fabric is that it's a border print made up of polka dots that get smaller and smaller until it looks more black that yellow. I cut the fabric so the border (selvage) was actually at the waistline, and the middle of the yardage is at the top and bottom of the dress. Be sure to use a hemmer to mark both layers of the skirt, as these layers will not hang evenly. Cut the outer layer about 1" longer than the lining.
Sew Chic for Simplicity 8167
Sew Chic for Simplicity 8167
 Because there is no midriff yoke at the back, I positioned the fabric so it would transition from the black a the waist, over the shoulder, and to the brightest yellow at the bustline. I started with 6 yards of 60" fabric and had to cut each piece one at the time. There was almost nothing left over, but it really came together nicely.

Sew Chic for Simplicity 8167
Sew Chic for Simplicity 8167
In the interior, I used a french seam for the chiffon section of the skirt.
Sew Chic for Simplicity 8167
Sew Chic for Simplicity 8167
This lining is serged. The hem is turned up  and top stitched 1/4" from the fold with matching thread.
Sew Chic for Simplicity 8167
Sew Chic for Simplicity 8167
To hem the chiffon, I used the rolled hem settings on my serger. On the bias sections of the hem this serge creates a tiny ruffled effect.

Sew Chic for Simplicity 8167
Sew Chic for Simplicity 8167

Sew Chic for Simplicity 8167
Sew Chic for Simplicity 8167
On the neck, I used a cotton bias tape stitched and pressed to the back and top stitched. The binding does not show to the front.
To keep the top stitching from becoming a design feature I used "invisible" thread in my bobbin. It comes in two colors, white or smoke, to be used with both light and dark fabrics as appropriate. It's nylon and will remind you of fishing line.
Sew Chic for Simplicity 8167
Sew Chic for Simplicity 8167
Instead of interfacing, I used a black organza and also let that double as the third layer of lining. The interior is finished with a serge.  Do you notice the safety pins? Those are holding the flower in place. I do not sew embellishments (bows, flowers, buckles) to my garments so they can easily be removed before cleaning, and it's easy to change them up if I care to.
Sew Chic for Simplicity 8167
Sew Chic for Simplicity 8167
I pulled the petals from a "silk" flower, re-stitched to the ribbon and added beading to the center.
Sew Chic for Simplicity 8167
Sew Chic for Simplicity 8167
I get so many compliments when I wear this dress! Is this the fabric? The style? The techniques? All of these details must be able to coordinate and work together for a successful garment to emerge. Use techniques that are appropriate for the fabric, use fabric that services the design, chose a design that is a good personality for your fabric and all three will live in harmony!
See my photos here: http://www.sewchicpatterns.com/simplicity_8167.html
Buy your pattern here: http://www.simplicity.com/pattern-8167-misses-sew-chic-dress/8167.html#start=5

Would you like advice for Sew Chic project? I invite you to join the facebook group!

As always, have a great Sewing Day!  Laura

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Best Tutorial: Sewing Gussets

"In sewing, a gusset is a triangular or rhomboidal piece of fabric inserted into a seam to add breadth or reduce stress from tight-fitting clothing. Gussets were used at the shoulders, underarms, and hems of traditional shirts and chemises made of rectangular lengths of linen to shape the garments to the body." (Quote taken directly from Wikipedia). This explanation is pretty good, but it gives the impression that the clothing must be tight-fitting, and that isn't the case. These days, a gusset is usually placed under the arm, and DOES provide extra reaching room for movement in clothing, and that's the important thing to remember.

I have a couple of patterns with gussets, so if  you've been holding back for fear of sewing this detail, fear no more.
The Portrait Blouse
Gussets aren't so difficult to sew. For success, follow these photo guidelines, step by tiny step:


Enjoy, and PLEASE let me know how this tutorial has helped you sew better gussets.

Have a great sewing day! Laura

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Week 4: Making Pattern Changes for Style

Now that your pattern is perfectly fitted to your figure,  you've got a pattern template for anything your imagination can come up with. As long as you don't mess with the FITTING elements of the pattern and final measurements, you can play all day long and skip the trial and error with fit. The trial and error with design is another matter! For this first round, step cautiously while playing around with things like sleeve length, adding seams and neckline shapes, but do play, because this is the fun part!

I've created three videos to step you through the basics:
Bodice Front:

Bodice Back:



Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Week 3: Understanding Fit from the Waist Down

This week I'm going to try to shed some light on how to fit the bottom half of our dress, and that does include the bottom.

EXPLANATION: Our Fantasia skirt pattern shown. On the right is the center front, on the left is the center back. The seam allowances have been folded back to reveal the pattern shaping, which are essentially darts. The back skirt is a princess seam, which makes shaping to fit the backside a breeze. The front is a single dart. Any place you have darts and seam, these are opportunities to add or subtract fabric as needed and remove, add, or change dart space to create personal shaping. Let me reference another post I did on darts that may or may not help explain further:
BODY TYPES: This illustration attempts to point out a few different figure types and how the dart shaping and seam location might be affected. On the left is a "standard" slim figure with no tummy or derriere, which needs only enough darting to shape to the waist. The side seam is also down the center of the leg and the front and back are split equally. This is how your pattern generally comes. The vertical plumb line for skirts is the center front, center back, and the side seam which stays centered on the leg. The horizontal plumb line is the hip. This should always be parallel to the floor. Why? Because it marks the cross grain and we want that level for the skirt to hang properly.

As the body shape changes, so does the type and amount of dart space, and even the front to back skirt ratio can change in order to keep the side seam running down the side of the leg and the hip running parallel. Those are the things we will be looking for as I do my tissue fit for my skirt.

Previous to now, I've already performed all the necessary steps (size transitions, etc) to get a great initial fit from the directions I gave on week 2:
So now I'm at the tissue fitting stage and I'm looking to see how this pattern fits my dress form and if there are any last minute changes I need to do before cutting from my final fabric. This step takes the place of time consuming muslin mock ups.
EVALUATION: The first thing I notice is that the hip line is not parallel.  It rises in the back. The second thing I notice is that my front dart is too long. My dressform has a high tummy on her, and my dart should not extend beyond that fullness of my figure.

You'll notice that my marked hip line doesn't match up with the true figure hip and that's okay this time for me, but you should mark your true hip. It will be too difficult to eyeball while wearing if its not on the hip, but it reality, it's the grain that we care about, and second to that is the shaping of the pattern. This red line is for your clarity and the green tape is the actual hip line of my dress form.

MAKE FIT CHANGES: I'm going to shorten that dart to only reach to the fullest part of my tummy. Center that new end point and mark new dart legs.
Next I'm going to lower that waistline on the dress form until the hip line is parallel and then mark the distance to the waist on my pattern. I also notice that as I lower that hip, the shaping of the pattern seems to fit the figure better as well. It's another sign that this is the correct alteration to make. Now I will take the pattern off and make the change.
I've marked the center back piece with a cut line to spread, and the side back will be marked at an angle to the corner so I can pivot and spread the side back seam without adding to the side seam as well. Add paper, measuring and taping just like you would if you were lengthening a pattern.
This is what my side back looks like once I've cut it. See the clip to the corner leaving a hinge of paper there?

 Add paper, measure and tape it down. True. This pivot method can be used at side seams as well. It's a better way to add width that trying to draw free hand.
Trim away the extra paper, fold seam allowances and pin your pattern back together for a second tissue fit. This is what that extra adding paper looks like. Final photos below.
Looks much better all the way around! Don't you think?

Your tissue fit is going to look much different from mine. If you've chosen the right size to begin with, the only thing left to do is to refine the fit. Here is what you are looking for:
1. Make sure your front and back are true north and south on your figure.
2 Check that your darts are the right length, width, and shape for your figure.
3. Keep your cross grain level at the hip
4. Center your side seam on the leg.

Ready? Set? Sew! How is your pattern fit coming along?

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

WEEK 3: Alternative Method to Move Darts or Shorten Bodice

For this sew along, I am working with a small group of folks on a special group page I've set up for this purpose. Each are at a different level of skill, but each have committed to doing the assigned homework for the maximum educational experience. It's easy to sit back and let me do all the work, so I'm grateful to have such a committed group!

While I work with them on their individual projects in the group to get them caught up, I thought I would share with you my fit experience as I worked through the 10 steps from the last post.

There are TWO main things that will ensure an easy start on the road to fit:
  • Choose the right size for each area of your body. 
  • Sew an accurate seam allowance. Do a test with your sewing machine guide and then measure.   
I asked my larger sewing group what size I should make for my padded out dress form. The answers I got surprised me. What size do you say?  (see my size chart here)

I need to do a post on this subject, but that will have to wait until another day...

 Here is my dress form from the side (left). My pattern FBA adjustments have been completed, and I wanted to show you the pattern pieces and how they mimic the shape of the dress form. If the figure had more below the bust tummy fat, I could straighten that princess line (as represented by the pink line).

What I discovered from the tissue fit step (step 10 on last weeks post)
  is that my dress form has a very high bust and I need to shorten my bodice above the bust. This is a VERY unusual adjustment and can cause some trouble for the princess seam. To avoid more pattern troubles, I'm going to use  this  alternative sliding method to shorten my bodice without causing more trouble with the princess line. It comes in handy to accurately move or shift darts and design details that are in cumbersome areas.
1. Square off the armhole area, marking below and again amount to shorten below the armscye. Mine will be shortened 1". Line should be parallel to the grain. 
2. Cut into pattern and fold, matching previously marked lines. Secure with tape or pins as desired.

Your pattern should look like the photo above once taped.
  2. True seam and cut lines. I'm going to take out some of that under bust curve to keep the bodice from becoming to busty.
  3. Walk seam lines to find a similar shorten location on Bodice Front. Mark.
Ready to fold and match lines
4. Match lines and secure with tape. True the seam and cut lines.
5. Re-test your pattern work by pinning bodice to do a second tissue fit.
Looks much better now!