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I Think it can be fine, to be a little girl and have an uncle who is a fashion designer. You know – you can always visit him at his studio, play with fabrics and threads, run around with your little brother and become speechless when you stumble across crazy pink tutu skirt – Moooom, loooook at this skirt! (Of course next time you when you meet your uncle, you get your own tutu – just like the one you found). Oh, and on top of it, you can always scribble design of your dream dress!! Just like Rarity – for the ones who don’t know – Rarity is one of My Little Pony characters, she’s a designer ;P

That’s how it was when Nina, my 5 year old niece, visited her uncle Jasiek (me ;) with her family. Uncle is very happy, because a year ago he would not dream of it, while little Nina was so shy, that when she heard words “uncle Jasiek” she ran to the farthest corner of the house. But few tutu skirts later we are already pals, who sew together outfits for dolls, and talk about bottle of anger from her kindergarden (what an incredible invention!).

When Nina started to draw, I was sure it is a cat, but:

– nooooo uncle, it is a dress. I always dreamed about it, and this is rose. And this is violet dress with the pink rose.

Ow, so the pink/violet phase has begun – I’ve heard about it from Gośka (who has two nieces). Well, somehow it turned out, that uncle has fabric in perfect pink color in his studio, we could not find right violet, but I promised to search through the stores and that this design will be executed. Few weeks later I found a little piece of lining in perfect color, it is not suitable for dress, but for the rose it is ok, so the first color version will be completed!

 

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When three weeks ago Nina gave me invitation to her 5th birthday party, it was obvious for me what is she going to get as a gift :) The picture above is this invitation, which says in polish, with all the cute mistakes a 5 year old child can do: I invite you to my 5 birthday, May 15th, 15:00 in my home. My sister showed me some gifts Nina choose her self, and – horror of horrors – there was some pink dress from this rotten H&M with big sequin-heart on front – well, how to top that?! What could make little girl more happy than sequin heart??

CHIFFON!! A lot of it!

Some time ago I would not be so cool about making pink ultraprincess dress – my sister and her husband wanted to save Nina from this princess stereotype (check out first dress I sew for her: Non-princess dress for Nina tutorial) but you know, you do not discuss with dreams of a child,, If pink princess dress makes her happy, you are happy that you can provide it. I remember, that I loved to wear light see-through dresses as a little boy – everybody was afraid of what is it gonna be with me, because it was wierd at that time – no one supposed that I will become fashion designer, and that I could hear The Melody when chiffon was flowing on the wind ;P so I hoped that chiffon will give Nina as much happiness as it gave to me as a child – let’s accept this pinkprincess madness, and let’s make it soooooo good!!

Designer confirmed that the neck line should be round. This black drawing in the first picture is just to be clear, what exactly will the final product look like – young designers sketches usually leave a lot for imagination ;P

Of course I’ve made photos while sewing, so there’s gonna be a tutorial for this dress. I will split it in two posts, because it is the longest tutorial yet on this blog. Today I will show you how to make pattern, and I will give some tips about cutting materials. Next time we will sew it (LINK). Lets get started!

 

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Prepare:

  • 5 sheets of paper for patterns, size 100 cm x 70 cm.
  • T-shirt belonging to the girl for whom you will sew the dress – we will use it as base for pattern.
  • Ruller, pencil, adhesive tape, measuring tape, pins, and scissors.
  • 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.
  • A Long stripe, 10 cm wide, of light and stiff fabric for the roze application.
  • Threads, tailor’s chalk.
  • 1 m of rubber band 3 cm wide.

 

Pattern for bodice:

 

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The measurements described below are size 116. Take measurements on your client, you will need:

  • waist circumference (Ninas is 58 cm).
  • shoulders width (Ninas is 30cm).
  • Length from highest point of shoulder (on body it is the point on top of shoulder – right where the neck starts) to waist (Ninas is 28 cm).
  • Length of skirt from waist (Ninas is 56 cm).

Look at the picture above, all the steps are described below:

1. Start with copying the shape of the t-shirt, here is the link to previous post with instructions: HOW TO COPY SHAPE FROM YOUR T-SHIRT, you don’t have to copy the sleeve. On the picture above in step 1 – grey element is half of pattern copied from the t-shirt. Basing on this pattern make form for bodice:

  • Set the length of bodice (A = 28 cm). Measure from the shoulder highest point to waist. On body it is the point on top of shoulder – right where the neck starts. And on pattern of the t-shirt it is highest point of the neck hole.
  • Set the width of the bodice in waist  – this should be wide enough to make it possible, to put the dress on without a zipper. So it should be either 1/4 waist circumference with some clearance (like 1 cm) or 1/2 shoulders width with some clearance (like 1 cm), whatever is wider. After all, it will be gathered in waist by a rubber band. (in my dress B = 16 cm).
  • C – mark the middle of the shoulder, and set the width of the strap (D = 4). Make it so, that the strap is in the middle of the shoulder.
  • Draw a deeper necklines for front and back (size is your choice – it should be wide enough to fit the head inside) , they should cross with the centre line of the t-shirt at a right angle (90 degree).
  • Draw a new shape of the armhole – same for front and back.

2. The Pattern for the front and the back of bodice is ready.

3. Redraw the pattern of back, adding mirror image to make it full symmethrical  form. Mark the shape of panel for finishing of the neck hole (blue outline). It should match the shape of the neck hole, and a part of the arm seam. On arm it should be a little smaller than Strap (E = 3 cm).

4. Redraw the pattern of front, adding mirror image to make it full symmethrical  form. Mark the shape of panel for finishing of the neck hole (blue outline). It should match shape of the neck hole and a part of the arm seam. On the arm it should be exactly same as the back part (E = 3 cm). Measure the length of armhole (F) you will need it to make welts.

5. Prepare two stripes for the welts, for armholes finishing. G = 2 x arm-hole circumference (F) decreased by 8-12%. It depends on elasticity of the fabric: the more elastic the fabric is, the shorter the stripes should be. You can read more about the welts, and how to prepare them, in one of the previous posts LINK. H = 2 x width of welt (mine H is 2 cm).

6. Prepare form for the stripe in waist, you will need two stripes – by sewing them together you will make a tunel for a rubber band. J = 4 x B so this is circumference of the bottom of bodice (front and back), and K = 3,5 cm – it means that the tunel has to be 0,5 cm wider than the rubber band.

7. Redraw the shape of the panels for neck-hole facing (finishing of neck-hole), mark the parts of arm seams – blue lines. Divide the back panel into half and turn it upside down.

8. Join the front panel with halves of the back panel by the arm seams. Done!

 

Pattern for the lining, for bottom of the dress:

 

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The outer layer of the skirt will be made of chiffon, it will be full circle, draped into tucks. Chiffon is a little see-through, so there have to be a lining. I suggest to make it of the same knit fabric as the bodice, shorter than chiffon, and only of a quarter of the circle so that there is not too much fabric underneath the skirt. Dimensions that you will need are: J – the length of stripe in waist, and the length of lining of the skirt ( I made 30 cm long lining, and chiffon layer is 53 cm long). I’ve already made some tutorials about full circle skirt ( LINK 1 and LINK 2), but I showed there how to cut circle directly on the fabric. This time we will prepare paper form, so there will be some origami first:

9. Fold paper sheet (size 100cm x 70cm) diagonally (blue dotted line on the picture is the line of folding). The shorter side edge should cover with the longer top edge.

10. Now fold it again diagonally, so that the previously folded inclined edge will now cover with the top edge.

11. And fold it third time diagonally, again so that the previously folded inclined edge will now cover with the top edge.

12. You will receive shape of a wedge – a sharp triangle.

13. Now measure two dimensions on each of the wedge edges starting from the peak. L is the radius of the circle (circumference of quarter of this circle, should equal dimension J) mathematical equation is: (4 x J) : 6,28 – in other words: quadruple length of the stripe in waist divided by 2π (mine L = 38 cm). Next measure dimension M – the length of lining ( mine is 30 cm). Draw a straight line between edges, connecting same dimensions on each edge of the wedge. Cut paper along those lines.

14. When you unfold paper you will receive shape as on the picture – well, it will be a little more edgy, but you will even it when you will draw with tailor’s chalk on the fabric. Pattern for lining is the middle part, thanks to Archimedes and his  equations the top edge of  this part should be equal to the length of the stripe in waist (J).

 

Pattern for the chiffon skirt:

 

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We want to drape the tucks in waist, so the edge of the circle which will be sewn on to waist should be 3 times longer than the stripe in waist. So this circle will be really big, and there will be a whole lot of chiffon, but this is what we wanted :)

15. Prepare two sheets of paper 100 cm x 70 cm and glue them together with longer edges. Fold this big paper sheet three times as in previous stage, to give it a shape of a wedge.

16. Equations will be a little different. We need full circle, and the top edge have to be tripple size of waist stripe, so this is how to count: N = (3 x J) : 6,28 – tripple size of waist stripe divided by 2π (mine N = 27 cm). Measure dimension N on each edge of the wedge, and then  measure O – the length of the chiffon skirt. When you will decide on the length, remember that in waist there will be 3,5 cm wide stripe , so decrease the length of skirt from waist – dimension which you took from your client – by around 3,5 cm. (Mine O = 53 cm). Cut the paper.

17. Ready pattern for the quarter of the chiffon skirt, the top edge should be equal to 3/4 J. Check below to see how to put forms on the fabric.

 

Cuting of knit fabric elements (bodice and lining): 

 

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On the picture above is suggested way of puting patterns on fabric which is 1,5 m wide (P). With Nina dimensions I used 0,8 m (R). When you make all paper forms, lay them on the ground and check how much fabric do you need. When cutting the fabric add 1 cm seam allowance all around each element (blue outline). And on photo below you can see all the elements already cut. Lining is folded in half – to fit into the frame, and the waist stripe is made of 3 parts – I had to divide it, cause there was not enough fabric (I was using some large scrap from tutorial about LAMBADA SKIRT;)

 

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Cutting of chiffon: 

I used 1,7 m (S) of 1,5 wide (T) chiffon. When it comes to circle: if two quarters put together will fit into 1,5 m length, then you can fit the whole circle, as one piece on fabric of dimensions 1,5 x 1,5 m. But in my case there was 10 cm more, so I had to divide it into 3 pieces. But thanks to that, I will show you special kind of seam, which is used to sew transparent fabrics, there is always some positive side :). Of course, no matter if you cut one piece or three pieces, add 1 cm seam allowance all around.

 

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Extension of bias:

Some of you  may know, others may not – that woven fabrics extend on bias. When it comes to thick and stiff fabrics it means that they can stretch a little if you pull on bias (diagonally to structure of  the weave of the fabric). But in lighter, less dense and concise fabrics like chiffon, it means that by the gravity force the bias will extend, and fabric will become longer. It needs correction. After cutting out the circle from chiffon fold it to 1/8 part of a circle, and pin the top edges of all layers evenly. Now hang it with a clip-hanger, so that top edge is straight. Let the gravity work for few hours – the fabric will become longer in places where there is diagonal structure – see the first photo below.

 

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After few hours lay the fabric flat on the table, and put paper form on it. Pay attention to the top edges – paper and chiffon should be more or less even. Cut excess of fabric bottom of the skirt. On the photo below, there is chiffon standing out on the side – well, anybody who has worked with chiffon knows how hard it is to make this fabric straight, so it happens, but do not cut at the side, you would destroy the circle. And the excess on the side will not change anything in the skirt, just accept it ;P

 

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Done! This dress is ready to be sewn (LINK to sewing instruction). I’ll do my best to post tutorial next week, but since I started writting polish and english instructions it may take a little longer (actually this is my first english instruction made entirely by my self, so I hope it is understandable). And here you have some preview of the final product :) see you next week!

 

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This tutorial was prepared for you by Janek

 

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