Thursday, May 21, 2015

Tutorial: Sew Chic Southern Bell Curved Hem Pattern Hack

Sew Chic Southern Belle LN8503Southern Belle #LN8503Meet my Southern Belle, LN8503. As designed, the full skirt made up of panels we call gores, and godet inserts at the hem creates this lovely angled hem that can handle border prints and laces with a straight edge. (photo at right). In the photo at left is the same dress, but with a curved hem, appropriate for all other fabrics.

You might remember this plaid dress as one I wore for lesson 8 in my Craftsy class.  I have worn this dress for a very long time, and it is still one of my favorites.

This yellow and black chiffon variation was made for the ITE show in 2015 with border fabric from Triple Textile. Instead of putting the border print at the hem, I placed the border print at the top of the skirt and did a curved hem at the bottom. This polyester chiffon may well still available for $3.50/yd (wholesale prices) on their website here:

Let me show you hot to put a curved hem on your dress. This customization is so easy to do.

You will need:

  • pattern paper
  • tape
  • curved ruler
  • tape measure
  • marker or pen
We will be 1) eliminating the godet and 2) straightening and lengthening the side seams of the skirt (there's just one panel, so this is easy), and 3) reshaping the bottom of the skirt panel to give it a curve.

Before you start, measure yourself from waist to hem and know how long you want your skirt to be. If you need to adjust the length of your skirt, do that now using the "lengthen or shorten" line on the pattern and following the "what to know before you sew" section of the instruction booklet. When planning your skirt length, consider the length of your petticoat if you'll be wearing one, and don't forget to include a 1-2" hem allowance, as appropriate for your fabric, and the 5/8" seam allowance at the top. I am using 29" as my measuring length. Subtracting 1 1/2" for the hem on my skirt and 5/8" seam at the top, my finished skirt will be 26 7/8" long, perfect for a 26" long, or shorter, petticoat.
Add paper

    1. Start by adding pattern paper from the hem up to the angled mid section. Tape it in place.

    2. Using a ruler, extend the side seam for your size. Use a yard stick to make sure that angle is straight from the waist down to the new end point. Measuring from the cut line for your size, make a mark the length you've determined for your skirt.

    Measure your pattern

    3. Then go to the center and again, from the cutting line for your size,  measure to the desired length and mark the bottom of the skirt panel. 

    4. Continue measuring and marking, inching your way toward the side seam you've marked previously, creating dashes all the way across.Keep your measuring tape or ruler straight down from the waist, no angling.

    5. Now comes the fun part! Using your curved ruler draw a new hemline by connecting the dashes from side seam to center. 

     6. Here is what your piece should look like.

    7. Fold your pattern in half lengthwise and copy your marks to make the right side the same as the left.

    Cut from fabric, this panel shouldn't stretch too much, but to be sure your skirt looks right, always mark your hem from the floor while you are wearing it, then hem it. You want your hem to be parallel to the floor.

    What do you think of the results?  I'd love to see how it turned out for you!

    Have a great sewing day! 

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