I got a couple of New Look patterns half price in a recent sale (Kids 6205 and Teens 6360) and quite a stash of pretty fabrics from LadyP so it’s time to set-to on the Christmas sewing. All in all I’m hoping to make 9 girls dresses. This is the story of the first 5…
3 x 10yrs
1 x 12yrs
1 x 14yrs
It’s a nice pattern. Princess seams into godets making a full circle. Bodice facing to keep the neck & arms neat. Needless to say, when tracing off multiple sizes at once it is important to mark the pieces clearly. I kept a separate envelope for each size and cut them out one at a time. I did all the tracing and made two dresses on the first day. Rather than working like a factory worker and doing all the same bits at once, I kept each dress on a different part of the sofa and swapped once I’d reached a certain stage.
After repeating a pattern five times in a row, it was easy to get into a rhythm. I altered the order of construction slightly which seemed a bit more streamlined;
- Sew the front to the front-sides. Sew in 1 side of each godet, then the other side of each godet. Snip the allowance above the godet & overlock 1 side. Overlock the other side all the way up to the shoulder seam.
- Do the same for the back pieces then join the shoulder seams.
- Make the facing. Overlock the exposed seams. Sew the facing to the neck edge, clip then understitch.
- Re pin then sew & clip the facings at the arm seams. Turn by pulling the back through the shoulder seam (I love doing bits like that, they always seem like magic, like a burrito-yoke).
- Press the back allowances and sew in an invisible zip (the pattern has a lapped zip, but my invisible zips come out neater). Turn the facings over & sew to the zip tape on the inside.
- Sew up the side seams. Overlock them and stitch in the ditch to hold the facing down under the armpit.
- Hem hem hem hem hem.
I tried a few different methods of hemming:
- Gathering stitches broke.
- I ran out of bias binding really quickly (although that was the easiest method).
- I burned my fingers double turning an overlocked hem (neatest finish IMHO)
- Tried gathering stitch on overlocker… sort of worked (will experiment more when not up against the clock).
The first one had sleeves… I decided pretty quickly that I wasn’t doing that again. They came out neatly enough, but I didn’t much like pinning the two opposing curves of the sleeve and the armhole/facing… not with 4 more to go.
With the velvet one I made a mistake, I got carried away and put the zip in before the facing and then couldn’t turn it through. It was my best invisible zip and I was loath to unpick it, so I snipped back the facings, double turned them and hand stitched it down like bias binding. It was a labour of love, but with a hand stitched hem too, it’s lovely to see no stitching from the outside of the dress.
(Difficult to photograph but you get the gist…)
The pattern also calls for either a mock-ribbon-lattice down the front or millions of buttons down the back ‘just for show’. I, of course, chose to do neither. Otherwise I’m sure I would have never reached my 5 dresses in 2 days deadline.
Apart from the velvet one, they’re all a bit summery. Summer-dresses-for-Christmas… I’ll make it a theme. I’ve a new pattern for the younger girls. Only 4 of those to make. In the meantime, I never want to see another dress!
Have you started your Christmas sewing yet? How’s it going?
Notes to self;
- Do all the cutting. Do all the marking. Do all the sewing!
- Practise gathering/ hemming on overlocker.
- Find more seasonal fabrics.
- Don’t change a good plan without thinking it through.
- Remember to eat/ drink/ wash on big sewing days.