Friday, September 27, 2013

How to Make a Child's Sash With 1/2 Yard of Fabric

I had been meaning to throw up a quick post on how to put together a three-piece sash for a child's dress.

In order to make a child's sash like the ones pictured here, you need 1/2 yard of fabric at least 44/45 inches wide.  The finished sash has a 2.5 inch band across the front and 4 inch wide ties.

1)  The first thing you need to do is measure the width of the front of the dress from seam to seam and add one inch for 0.5 inch seam allowances. (On this dress, width of front waist = 12.75 inches + 1 inch seam allowance = 13.75 inches)

You want to measure across the dress at the spot where the top of the sash will be -- approximately 2.5 inches above the waist seam.

2)  Cut the fabric.  There are three pieces.  (The width of the front waist is the measurement you got in step 1.)

These measurements will work up to about a child's size 5.  I found that 22 inches is the minimum tie length needed to make a good bow.  Larger sizes will need longer tie pieces!

3)  After cutting, take the tie pieces (9 x 22.5 inches) one at a time. Fold the first piece in half.

I used some pins to hold it in place since the fabric is slippery -- the side with the two pins is the folded side.

4) Take a ruler and cut the end of the tie on an angle.  Make sure the fold is on the long side.

4) Do the same thing with the other tie piece.  Make sure the angle is the same.

Once you take out the pins and open them up, each tie piece will look like this:

5) Before sewing, fold over each tie piece and pin it along the long open side, down to the point.  It's hard to tell in the picture, but pin and sew on the wrong side of the fabric.  (You'll turn it right side out in Step 8.)

6) Using 1/2 inch seams, sew along the long side of each tie all of the way down to the point. Leave the short end of the ties open. (Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of the open end of the tie.)

7) Trim the corners and the points.

8) Turn the ties right side out.

I used this little tool (I believe it's called a point turner) to turn the corners, but you can (carefully!) use something else -- a knitting needle works pretty well.

9) Press.

10)  Clean up the other side of the ties if they need it.

11)  Take the front piece of fabric.

12)  On either side of this piece, make two marks on the right side of the fabric.  This piece is 6 inches wide, so make a mark at 3 inches and at 1/2 inches.

13)  Pin the ties to the front piece -- just inside of the marks.  First pin the outside of the tie, then pinch the fabric and pin the inside.

14) Baste the ties.

15) Pin each side like this.  (It will make sense in a moment.)

16)  Fold the top half of the front piece over the bottom half and pin it in place, matching the sides and corners.  The ties can hang out right in the center front.

17)  Sew around the pinned edges, leaving a space open in the middle about 6 inches wide (where the ties hang out).  It is VERY important that you only catch the tie pieces in the end seams! That's why we pinned the tie out of the way in step 15.

18)  Clip the corners.

19)  Pull on the ties to turn the whole thing right side out.

20)  Sew the opening shut.  I used a whipstitch.

Phew!  Can you believe something so seemingly simple takes twenty steps?

I tacked the sashes down at the side seams (at the top edge of the sash, not the bottom) and in the center front in a place where the stitches wouldn't show.  

My models wore size 4 and size 6 dresses.

Let me know if you have any questions about the process!  ~  Liz

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Needle and thREAD

I feel like my days have been pretty full just keeping up with life but there is more sewing on my to do list and it can't wait!  I have a bridesmaid dress for myself to take care of by next Thursday night.

I've only pinned the hem so far -- with the help of my attorney husband who was a good sport and marked the front, back, and sides of the dress so that I could connect the dots.  I'm hoping for the best.  I think I might have pinned it a pinch too high, but I'll fix that.  In my years at the bridal shop, I learned an easy way to make neat little hems in chiffon.

The dress also has a halter strap I need to adjust for my neck size. The bodice is too small at the band right above my baby bump, but I don't have the heart or energy to do anything about it. It zips and right now that's good enough for me!

I'm reading as much as I can while the kids play outside.  I'm finishing up Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child by Esolen and I started this book on Monday:

My reading feels a bit slow-going, but it's all good.

That's all from my neck of the woods.  Thanks for stopping by!  ~ Liz

For more needle and thREAD, head on other to Elizabeth Foss's place.  Maybe join in?

Friday, September 20, 2013

A Dress For Myself -- Butterick Pattern 5490

Sewing is not all fun and games around here friends!  Occasionally I get myself into a pickle like that one time (two weeks ago) I cut my foot and had to make myself a dress while hopping around on one leg.  Drama, drama, drama.

If you recall, I wanted to make myself a dress for a family wedding and I had all of the time in the world.  I picked out some fabric.

I decided on a pattern.

I waited until three weeks before the deadline to get the pattern so that I could buy it on sale for a dollar. (Butterick 5490)

I tested out the fit. (FYI, I added about 5/8 inch to the neckline seam to give myself more coverage.)

And I thought meh, good enough, let's get started.

The pattern recommended fabrics with body, such as cotton and linen.  Knowing full well that chiffon lined with charmuese (the only lining I could find in the right color) would require some improvising, I proceeded with the necessary adjustments -- removing the center front seam, cutting out extra layers of lining, and changing the construction methods.  Also, the pregnant belly required a removal of the band which led to some minor adjustments.  Fine.  So far so good.

I sewed the bodice to the skirt and then...

Things started to go a bit wrong.  The dress decided not to play nice!  The part above my bust poofed and the part below my bust hung too taunt, and the length was too matronly and bridesmaid-ish.  I took a picture of myself to gain some clarity.

Hmmmm.  Not helpful in the confidence department.  I fantasized about quietly hanging the whole dang troublesome mess in the back of the closet and buying a nice dress all ready-made like it should be -- no toil and unflattering-ness involved!

I was this close.

But then I saw the cost of expedited shipping and remembered how much that stupid charmeuse cost and came to my senses.  The piled up laundry would have to wait some more.

Time to make do!  To help with the gapping/poofing above the bust, I let out the center seam a tiny bit at the "v".

That helped about a smidge.

Something still needed to be done about the bottom pleat and I wasn't totally digging the exposed vibe of the seams down the center front and where the skirt met the bodice.

Meanwhile, Joann's does not carry light grey invisible zippers or light blue invisible zippers or even light purple invisible zippers.  In desperation I bought a white one and then hit myself over the head for the stupidity of such a decision. There is no such thing as an invisible white zipper in a gray dress, my friends!  It was going to stand out like a sore thumb! Thank God I had an ecru one in my stash!  (Perhaps my guardian angel put it there?)  The first attempt was not exactly perfect.

The second was significantly better!

I couldn't actually find my invisible zipper foot and I thought I was in big, big, big trouble until the regular zipper foot came through for me.  Go #4!

Back to the bust problems...

The wonderful thing about chiffon is that it has a habit of screaming DRAPE ME SOMEWHERE!  I listened to it's sultry little voice and draped...and re-draped...and re-draped some more.  The bathroom mirror and I bonded during the late hours of the night.  This happened:

It didn't help the poofing (perhaps I should look into the proper way to fix that?), but I felt significantly better about the pleating/underbust weirdness.  Since the dress was already put together and I was, ahem, a bit short on time, I tacked it inside the armpit, hand-sewed it in place here and there in the front in the hopes of keeping a natural look, and finished off the ends with ties.

Later, when I was finishing the hem, I snipped right into one of those dang ties.  See?


By the morning before we had to leave to go to the wedding (out of state), everything was done-ish except for the hem.  I needed something not long and not short and in keeping with the flow-y chiffon.  No one was around to help me pin the hem and I didn't have time to experiment, so I looked around online and got inspired by this.


This was the best I could do, under the circumstances (please pardon the wrinkles!):

My only hope was that my tame version of the hi-low style would look intentional.  I'm not sure I succeeded in pulling off the yes-I-can-sew-I-wanted-it-this-way look, but I sure did try! 

If I ever do something similar again (hahahaha!), I'd probably cut the curve with a more noticeable difference between the front and back lengths and also with a more gentle curve in the back...or maybe I'll buy a pattern that has the curve all good to go.  Fancy that!

All in all, the dress felt good on and I was glad it pretty much worked out in the end.  Charmeuse does feel delightful against your skin!  If you've never sewn with it, I'd recommend giving it a try.

Another day, another crazy sewing experience!  Perhaps one day I will try this dress pattern again with one of those recommended fabrics when I am not pregnant, crippled, or on a strict deadline.  There has to be a way to make that bodice fit right...