Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Practical Tips

Here are some practical tips that I have learned over time as I have been sewing dresses  and as I have been receiving dresses from others.  I hope that these ideas help!


Fabric

When choosing pillowcases or fabric put your hand under the fabric if you can see your hand outline fairly clearly than that fabric is too light!!  It breaks my heart to receive a dress with all the love that went into it and that dress is made out of fabric that is too light.  If you already have fabric but it is too light then use it to make bias tape.  Or if you have a wonderful antique pillowcase and the fabric is too light use another pillowcase under it as a lining... cut the tops and armholes at the same time and sew them as if they were one pillowcase.


Backstitching

Always... always did I say always... yes always backstitch at the ends of the bias tape... and especially where the bias tape joins the top of the dress (both back and front) and at the top of the pockets.


Elastic

We have found that making the elastic one inch longer for the back casing of the dress makes for a better fit.  And that makes sense when you think about the muscles in the back.

Straps

Please make sure that your straps are long enough.  But on baby dresses do not make them too long (choking hazard)  We recommend:
Baby                      27" x 2
XS                         34" x 2
Small                     34" x 2
Medium                 36" x 2

Ruffles

They are sew cute and they add sew much to dresses... check and see if your sewing machine or serger has a ruffling foot... it makes these cute accents go sew much more quickly.  Now this may seem obvious but I must tell you have have been sewing for years and didn't realize that I had a ruffling foot.  Now it takes me less than 5 minutes to add a ruffle to my dresses.


Back Seam

When making a fabric tube I often put the seam in the center back because it just looks more like a regular dress with the seam there.  Whether you put the seam in the back or the side please make sure that it is a serged seam or that you finish that seam off in some way... zigzag the seam after straight stitching it or french seam it.  If you just straight stitch the seam it will ravel and that dress will not last long!!



If you have any other suggestions please put them in the comments box.  I always love hearing of new ideas that help to make our dresses!!




9 comments:

Kristy said...

Great suggestions!

And my mother always over emphasized the back-stitching when teaching me to sew....now I do the same with my girls! :) It really does make a difference though!

Thanks for sharing!

Suzanne said...

And thinking that these dresses might be washed in a river or on a rock means making them sturdy!!

Steph @ The Silly Pearl said...

Thanks for the tips, Suzanne. I am (finally) planning to make some dresses. I didn't even think about whether or not the fabric would be too thin! Should we add a lining, or just use other fabric?

Suzanne said...

You can do either one... if you already have the fabric go ahead and line it but just be careful not to buy light material...

Sew Scrumptious said...

I just shared this on my facebook page. Really helpful. Thank you. I'm following you now too! x

Jade@How to Sew said...

It is not difficult to learn how to sew. The only difficulty in learning this skill is to learn how to make clothes pattern as well as taking body measurements. After you have learned these, learning how to sew is very easy. Learning how to sew is a fun activity that you can do as a hobby or as a source of income.

Suzanne said...

Steph... either way is fine... add a lining or just use another fabric!!

Altom Adventures said...

Here is a hint for long lasting pattern pieces:

Repurpose plastic ringed binder covers. They usually are clear and easy for transferring details and they last forever. Use for pockets, armhole patterns, etc.

Altom Adventures said...

You can repurpose ringed binder covers for pattern making. Most are clear and easy to transfer pattern markings onto and they last forever. Perfect for the small pieces of the armhole pattern or pocket pattern.