This week our pattern will finally meet fabric! Cutting is one of the most important jobs so don’t rush through it. Our project has several different materials:
- Fashion Fabric
- Contrast Fabric
- Lining Fabric
All of this groundwork can feel like it takes forever, but I find that careful planning through these preliminary steps saves me trouble and grief down the road and helps the assembly go together just like silk with no surprises.
Preparing Fabric for Layout
Preparing my fabric starts exactly the same way every time. It’s very rare to buy fabric that comes off the bolt with the selvage and cross grains at right angles to each other. Correcting this before you cut your pattern means that you garment will hang and sew together nicely, and is especially important for cutting on the bias like our tiny strips for ties and trim will be. Bias will twist awkwardly and refuse to lay flat if not cut at right angles.
In this video I show you how I prepare my fabric to cut. If your fabric won’t tear, pull a cross grain thread and clip along the same gap.
Ready your pattern & layout
In this video I’ve included a few more things I’ve done to ready my pattern for layout. These are not related to fit.
Once the fabric has been cut out, it’s time to mark all darts, symbols, and placement lines. The type and method of marking depends upon how you’ll be using it whether you need it to show on the right side or the wrong side of the fabric. Watch this video to see how to use both dressmakers carbon and chalk.
Another way great way to mark your fabric for darts, symbols and placement lines so it shows on both sides of the fabric is with thread. This method is called tailors tacks. This tutorial will show you how:
Prepare the parts
If you’ve made up any of my patterns, you’ll be familiar with my suggested assembly in which the layout is always followed by a “prepare the parts” section that starts with fusing/sewing interfacing, stay stitching, and assembling any peripheral pieces such as pockets, collars, cuffs, trims, etc. With all of these fussy parts ready to go ahead of time, assembling the garment goes really fast. I like to see quick results!
Watch this video for sewing darts and how to achieve a perfect tie end with marking and pressing and using a ruler for more than just measuring.
To prepare the parts, group as needed to match your thread colors, and give that step a check mar on your guide as a reminder that step has been completed. These are all the things I will be doing before we start assembly next week.
Dress Views A and B:
- Sew bodice front darts and stay stitch neckline (Dress A,B step 1)
- Sew bodice back darts and stay stitch neckline (Dress A,B step 5)
- Stay stitch the upper skirt edge front and back (Dress A,B step 16)
- Sew right front waistband and tie to back waistband at side seam and finish tie (Dress A,B step 10-11)
- Sew left waistband and tie (Dress A,B step 13-14)
- Attach interfacing to lining bodice front and back at neckline (Dress A,B step 7)
Dress View A only:
- Baste Front Band (Dress A, B step 2)
- Assemble Lower Band (Dress A,B step 19)
Jacket Views A and B:
- Stay stitch Jacket front (Jacket A, B step 1) and Jacket back (Jacket A,B step 4)
- Sew Jacket sleeve dart (Jacket A, B step 3)
- Attach interfacing to jacket lining, front and back (Jacket A,B Lining step 6 or 10)
- Attach interfacing and finish jacket band (Jacket A, B step 14)
Sewing my pattern
As mentioned last week, I needed to add length below the bust to add back what was taken away at the shoulder. This week I thought I’d show you two methods for lengthening.
This is the traditional way to lengthen: draw a line across pattern midway between bust and waist perpendicular to the grain (or CF/CB). Cut on this line and spread, measuring on both ends to make sure the spread is equal and tape to paper. True the darts and cut lines.
If you will need to trace off the pattern anyway, this is a short cut method: On a clean sheet of pattern paper, draw two parallel lines the distance to lengthen. Fold one line up to match the other. Temporarily pin in place. With the fold midway between the bust and waist, perpendicular to the grain (or CF/CB), trace the pattern piece. Unpin and extend the fold. True the seams/dart lines.
Here is what my layout looks like with the skirt pattern pinned down.
This is my back dart. I didn’t clip into my dart at the waist (like the directions show) because this fabric is very pliable and doesn’t need it.
I am clipping close to the tip of my front dart so that I can press that seam open, and less thickness helps the dart transition nicely.
My neckline stay stitching: I mark my stitching line with a ruler and chalk so that my pivot (stitching) is right on.
My tie is ready for dress assembly. Measuring 1 3/8” from the fold line I marked my stitching line. I want my tie to be a perfect distance from the fold because that’s the edge that matters.
Finally the moment I’ve been waiting for! I love the final assembly where I get to see all my hard work pay off. Next week I put the dress together and will share the details:
- Bodice, Waistline, Hem Trims/Ties
- Side Zipper
- Lining attachment
I’m also going to put a pocket in the side seam of my dress and will have a pattern ready for you to download.
See you next week!