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Today I post continuation of last week tutorial. For those of you, who come here for the first time, a little explanation: My 5 year old niece once visited me in my design studio, and draw me a design of her dream dress. Of course she found immediately the perfect knit fabric on my shelfs, and a few days later, somewhere in the corners of my studio I found a chiffon in almost exactly same shade – this is what I call destiny. Last week I’ve posted whole story about it and pattern making instruction. Today we will sew it!

 

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Prepare:

  • Knit fabric for bodice part and for skirts lining – best would be jersey, like for t-shirt, or light terry. Nina is size 116 and I used a little less than 1 m of fabric (it was 1,5 m wide) – but first prepare patterns and check fabric usage, after using your girls dimensions for forms.
  • Polyester chiffon, for skirt. I used 1,7 m x 1,5 wide – but if you change length of the skirt or waist circumference, the usage of fabric will be different, so first make patterns, than buy the fabric. It has to be polyester because, you will melt it’s edge with flame – I know it is not the most professional way, but further in the post I will explain why I suggest it, as the best way to finish chiffon.
  • A piece of interlining with glue on one side, you will use it for the neck hole facing (finishing of the neck hole).
  • A long stripe, 10 cm wide, of light and stiff fabric for the roze application.
  • Threads, tailor’s chalk, measuring tape, pins, and scissors.
  • 1 m of rubber band 3 cm wide.

 

Pattern and cuting the fabrics:

You can read how to prepare the pattern, and how to cut the fabric in previous post – to open instruction click this LINK or the photo below.

 

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Sewing:

Start with sewing up the bodice and then skirt lining. Sew using overlock, or if you don’t have it, use regular sewing machine and sew with zig-zag stitch to make seams elastic.

Put the front part of the bodice on the back part, so that they touch with the right sides of fabric. Sew up the sides and arms. Fold the lining in half, so that the right side of the fabric is inside, and straight edges will touch – sew up the straight side edges.

 

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Neck-hole facing:

Cut out of interlining exactly the same shape, as the one cut out of main fabric. Facing is symmetrical, so you don’t have to worry about on which side the glue is. Put interlining on the facing so, that the layer with glue (shiny one) will touch the left side of main fabric. Stick it using a press or an iron. If you are using iron, first check the temperature on swatches – set it between wool and cotton – it has to be be high enought to melt the glue, but not too high to avoid melting of interlining. Do not slide the iron, press it in one spot for about 10 seconds to melt the glue and stick it properly to the knit fabric. Then move to another spot.

 

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Fold the facing in half and sew up the short straight edges. You will get a mirror-form of the neck hole.

 

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Turn bodice to the right-side. Put facing around the neck hole so, that seam on the facing is exactly in the middle of  the back neck hole. Shapes of facing and neck hole should be even. Sew them up 1 cm from edge. Next cut the seam allowance across every 1,5 cm.

 

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You cut the seam allowance to avoid wrinkles around the neck hole, after folding and ironing the facing to the inside. If facing is turning up, add seam around it, on the right-side – see next photos.

 

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Armhole finishing:

Arm-holes will be finished with welts. You can finish them also with facing, but I want to avoid too many layers of fabric under such narrow arm. You can also install ALLinONE facing, but in case of my dress, arms are too narrow to turn the fabric to the right-side in the process – check it out on this video  LINK

Fold the straps for welts in half and sew up the shorter edges. Then, when the strap became a loop, iron-fold it in half lengthwise to prepare welt. Pin the welt around the arm-hole. There is a difference in circumference of the arm-hole and the welt-strap, distribute this difference evenly between pins. More detailed description about sewing welts is in one of previous posts, you will find it under this LINK.

 

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After sewing, iron the welts to the right-side. If it is necessary, add single seam on the right-side of fabric, 2 mm from the edge of the welt, to sew the seam allowances on inner side, to prevent them from curling up.

 

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Sewing the skirt:

I will use a special kind of seam (I don’t know how it is called in english) but this is the seam, that is used to sew transparent fabrics. It allows to skip overcasting seam allowances with overlock, the frayed edges of allowances are hidden inside the seam. To sew chiffon use thinn universal needle (70). If fabric is wrinkled at the seam, even after you adjusted thread tension, grab it with two hands few centimeters in front of, and behind the presser foot, and stretch it gently to make it tense on the part that you are currently sewing.

Put the quarters of the circle together and sew up the straight edge. If there is a difference between the right-side and the left-side of the fabric, put them together with the left sides touching! NOTE that usually for sewing, we put the elements with the right-side of fabric touching, and make seam on the left side, in this case we reverse it and put the elements with the left side of fabric touching, and start with the seam on the right-side of frabric.

 

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Now iron the seam, so that seam allowances will be put together on one side.

 

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Next fold the quarters of the circle together, with the right side of  fabric touching. The seam allowances will be hidden inside. Iron the seam so that it will be exactly on the folded edge.

 

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Make a seam farther from the edge,than the width of seam allowance hidden inside (where the pin is on the photo) to hide frayed edges inside the seam. Sew the third part of skirt using the same type of seam. After sewing up all straight edges of the elements of the skirt you will get a full circle.

 

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Finishing bottom edge of chiffon and making tucks: 

We will finish it absolutely against the rules, we melt the edge with a lighter. Professionals probably are wringing their hands now, but here is why I decided to go this way:

The alternative finishing is to make a border using 3-threads overlock, with very dense and thick seam. This is standard way of finishing such edges, but you have to use threads in color perfectly maching the fabric, and the bias in fabric will stretch giving wavy frill effect – similar as in ruffle. As a designer I can not commit this crime, in my opinion this kind of finishing can change every dress into kitschy beauty pageant gown ala “miss primary school 1990”, no, no no and one more time NO! ;)

Another way of finishing a circle skirt is piping/trimming, but this is too heavy for chiffon. Overcasting with overlock and folding 0,5 cm is also not an option – it will be wrinkled and the skirt wouldn’t be so light. And standard way of finishing the chiffon – rolling edge and sewing it with narrow zig-zak (with special presser foot on the regular sewing machine) is not suitable to sew curves of the circle.

In mass production such edges are done with the laser – it cuts and melts the edge at the same time. Those who have no laser at their disposal (me, for example) are left with the lighter ;P Such kind of trimming will make the bottom of the dress very light and it is almost not visible. To make it right, the edge has to be prepared: cut off all the frayed threads, using sharp scissors or rotary cutter, the edge has to be smooth, as the frayed threads could catch the fire and make a hole in chiffon. First train for a while on the swatches. Flame should only melt edge a little to stick the threads together, but not to much, so that they won’t go black.

 

When the bottom edge is finished, drape the top edge into tucks – see photo below – the edge after draping should be same size as the waist stripe (dimension J from instruction of pattern making). Pin both edges of each tuck to avoid folding, and curling up during sewing.

 

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Prepare the waist belt:

I had to start with sewing two short stripes into one (I had not enough fabric to cut both payers of belt in one piece).

When you have two layers of the waist belt ready, make this:

in one of them fold shorter edges by 1 cm to the left side of the fabric and make a seam – this will be the inner layer of the belt. Take the other one, and fold it into half, and sew up the shorter edges to make a loop – this will be the outer layer of the belt.

 

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Turn the skirt lining to the right-side, and pin the inner layer of the belt around the waist. Make it so, that the right-side of the fabric in belt touch the left-side of the fabric in lining. The finished shorter edges of the belt should be placed at the seam on the lining – this will be the back.

 

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Now turn the lining to the right-side and slide it into the chiffon skirt. Pin the top edges (waist edges) of  the lining and the skirt. There is a whole lot of the pins, but I did not say it will be easy ;P. Check If the seam between quarters of chiffon skirt is in the same position as the seam on the back of the lining.

 

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Summing up, we have now pinned together: chiffon skirt (right-side of fabric up), inside is lining (right side of the lining touch the left side of the chiffon skirt), and inside is inner layer of the waist-belt (it’s right side touch the left-side of the lining).

 

 

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Now pin the outer layer of the waist-belt around the top edge of the skirt. Make it so, that right side of the belt fabric is touching the right side of chiffon.

 

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So now from within, there is: inner layer of the belt, lining, chiffon draped in tucks, outer layer of the belt. Sew up all the layers together, sew slowly and be careful with so many pins.

 

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After sewing, iron both layers of the belt up. Pin top edges of the belts together. This is how it looks outside and inside. On the back, there is a slit in the inner layer of the belt – this is hole through which you will slide the rubber band into the waist-belt.

 

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Turn the skirt to the wrong side, and the bodice to the right-side. Slide bodice into the skirt. Pin and sew up top edge of the belts (both layers) with bottom edge of the bodice.

 

 

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After sewing, pull the bodice out, and iron the waist seam. Through the slit in the back of the belt, pull the rubber band inside, by the means of a safety pin. Adjust the size of the rubber ( it should be a little less than waist circumference). Sew up the endings of the rubber-band flat.

 

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THE DRESS IS READY!! Well, that was a challange: chiffon, tucks, facing, welts, soooo many layers.

The finishing touch will be a rose application. You will find a lot of tutorials on pinterest (eg. LINK 1,  LINK 2, LINK 3 , LINK 4). I made it fast, with no rules – as I had not much time left to make a masterpiece:

Sew up the longer edges of a stripe of lining, about 10 cm wide, and 1 m long. Turn it to the right-side. And start folding it around, making tucks and double-folds, sew the layers by hand on the bottom edge. When there is enough layers, that it looks something like a rose, sew a piece of fabric to cover the ravel of hand-seams on the bottom. Don’t judge your rose too harshly – remember that kids have a great imagination, and if they want to see a rose, they will see a rose! :)

I sewn my rose to a long stripe of main fabric, so Nina (my niece) can tie it in the waist, or make a necklase of it, or something else, she can also ask Mom, to sew it as a brooch on the dress. I had to leave some space for the designer’s creativity ;P

 

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As I finished, I thought that Ninka probably will be proud about the fact, that she designed this dress. So maybe I should give her some kind of confirmation, that this is made according to her design, in case she wants to show off ;P ? You know, when you buy a Channel jacket, you get a certificate that states, that this jacket is truly Coco Channel. So I printed out a LESNIAK PINK CERTIFICATE, and I wrapped the gift. I was hoping for some squeak of joy as Nina opens it. But well, children are so wonderfully honest!

– But I asked for exactly a dress like this, uncle?! She said with mix of puzzlement, question mark, and a hint of joy. And after a second she added:

– And will I get also the violet one? (For those of you, who don’t know – there were two color versions on the design – pink/violet, and violet/pink ;)

Hahahhahahaha! Of course the violet version will be sewn, I just have to find a perfect fabric for it. A few days later I get an EMS from my little sister (Nina’s mom) with Nina dancing around in the skirt, with a note:

“I want to wear it also tommorow”  – this is somehow a third day in the row … it has already stains from baked eggs.

THIS IS JOY!! Nina is not the spoiled princess type of a girl, she is rather a shy observer. She fell into this princessness (I know it is a made-up word ;) in the kindergarten. In the beginning of the year in the costume ball, there were 5 Elzas and 1 Ninka dressed as a green mermaid, a mermaid who was peeking longingly at those Elzas. That was the moment my sister used to explain to Nina, that it is actually somehow great to be different :) This is why Ninka is absolutely adorable little girl for me. She can romp in this ultraprincess pink dress messed up with baked eggs as long as it is fun for her. And in some time who knows what kind of request it will be, maybe some goth rags, or something absolutely simple – I am very curious who is she going to become :)

That is all for today, thanks for reading and see you with the next tutorial!

 

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This tutorial was made for you by Janek

 

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