Thursday, February 14, 2013

GSWDS: Interfacing, Stay Stitching, and Collar

Usually, I like to do stay stitching and interfacing immediately after I cut everything out.  I do this for a couple reasons: 1) I am deathly scared of curved edges stretching out before I can get to them, and I probably over-stay-stitch...if that's possible 2) I am a little lazy and I HATE interfacing.  There have been project with everything cut out and I will sew until I HAVE to put in the interfacing and then the project sits and languishes until I get up and just interface.  So, I found out if I lump cutting/interfacing/stay stitching together, projects get done much quicker.

Soooo,  Gertie didn't actually tell us to stay stitch any of the pieces, did she?  I am pretty anal about stay stitching, so I added it in.  The pieces I stay stitched were: Bodice Front, Bodice Facing, and both Back Yoke sections.  I don't have any pictures, but yeah, they're stay stitched.
 So, first thing first, sew the bodice facings to the skirt facing at the waist seam.  Now, you have a really long facing.

 Lay the facing right side up and then lay the interfacing piece sticky side up.  That is really important!  Facing=right side up, interfacing=sticky side up.  Then you want to sew (using a regular length stitch) the two pieces together along the outer edge.  See picture above.  Don't sew at the neckline, the shoulder seam, the bottom, or the other long side. 
Then, you want to trim the seam you just sewed and then if you have any extra interfacing at the bottom of your facing, snip that off as well.

 Then, very carefully, sew the outer edge.  The interfacing will fuse a little bit, but you are just looking for a nice, crisp seam at the outer edge.

 Now, you get to fuse the interfacing as normal.  The collar's interfacing is applied like usual.

Since we are already dealing with the facings and back yokes (you did stay stitch that right?) go ahead and sew the facings on. When you go to press the seam, make sure you press everything towards the back yoke.  You can also press the seam allowance back on the rest of the back yoke (this will help when you need to slipstitch everything together later).
Set your facings aside and you're done with all of your prep work!  Yay!  Also, don't mind the dress on the dress form.  I started making this dress last year.  It was supposed to be my mother's day dress, if that gives you any idea of how long it's been sitting there ;)  Must finish that dress...oh well!

GSWDS: Cutting

Ahhh!  I am so behind!  This week has been insane, honestly.  There was a bunch of things that came up that I really couldn't account for.  But, I am going to get some posts out today.  Better late than never, right??
One thing when you are cutting everything out, make sure that your front skirt piece will fit on the 60" layout before you start cutting things out!  Quite frankly, if your fabric is less than 55" wide, expect to use the 45" layout!  My fabric I am using here is 55" wide and the skirt just barely fits on there.
To see how much interfacing you need, you will have to measure out your facing and collar pieces.  I think I got a yard and half of interfacing, just to be sure I had enough.  Make sure you measure the front facings like in the picture.  Sure, you could get away with less interfacing if you put them right next to each other in the layout, but I didn't want to do that, because instead of cutting out four short pieces of interfacing for the front facing.  I chose to cut out two long pieces of interfacing, see below :P

 So, basically, you set the facings right up next to each other and cut two long pieces of interfacing.  I found that this got rid of some of the bulk at the waistline (I'm an apple shape and any unnecessary bulk at the waistline is a big no no. 

 So, now everything is all cut out and ready to go!  Go and get your self a drink or, if you have a cutting space like mine (the floor) go get a back rub from the resident back rub specialist *cough*husband*cough*

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

GSWDS: Tracing

When I first started sewing, I never traced.  Well, to be honest I hadn't heard of tracing until maybe a year into it.  I started tracing because of the Built by Wendy Dresses book, which has three patterns and a bunch of variations on each dress.  Anyways, I've been a faithful tracer ever since...especially kids patterns.

When I sit down and trace my patterns, I always use these:
1. Pattern Weights: Okay, so these aren't actual pattern weights, but whatever, use whatever works for you (and obviously we liked mexican food in this house, huh?)
2. Medical exam paper: I think everyone uses something different, but this is what I used.  I ordered this pack from Amazon in 2011 and I am still using it.  I'm about halfway through it.  I honestly love this stuff, it does have it's limitations, though.  To trace with this, you put the paper over you pattern and trace the lines, which means that it can get a little confusing, but you get used to it.
3. A large ruler: This will definitely come in handy when tracing the shirring placement line in this pattern.  It's not 100% necessary, though.
4. The pattern from Gertie's book: I put this on here for a reason.  Sometimes I get all my supplies together and then I'm sitting at the table, confused until I realize I forgot the pattern.  Ooops!
5. A clear small ruler: This is about 12 inches long.  This is definitely helpful when tracing and marking darts.  I got this in the drafting part of the craft store, but I know that the quilting has similar rulers.  I love it, but it's a pain in the butt when you lose it because it just blends in with the carpet/fabric/cutting surface.
6. Seam Gauge: I use this all the freakin time.  I use it to take in the shoulders, take out the waist, etc etc.
7. Tape: When doing alterations on your pattern, tape is super important for slashing and spreading or taking a chunk out of the pattern.
8. Pencils with good erasers: Do yourself a favor and don't trace with pens...rookie mistake that I may or may not have made.
9. Paper Scissors: self explanatory :P
I use those with every single pattern I trace.  Here are some optional things:
1. Wrapping Paper: I used this before I got the exam table paper.  I actually completely raided our christmas paper stash and we are finally feeling it.  But, this stuff works surprisingly well, honestly.  You can't see through the paper, but if you're going to go this route, then you'll need...
2. Tracing Wheels: The crazy death trap one is actually pretty sharp and I got it from my husband's aunt (my aunt-in-law??) and it's awesome.  I use this a lot, but not so much with tracing.  
3. Fine Tip Sharpie marker: I use this in two instances: a) when I am feeling extra awesome and I want to go the extra mile or b) I am procrastinating and want to find any reason whatsoever to put off cutting out fabric.  So, sometimes I go back over my trace lines with the sharpie maker, let's face it, I don't do it all that often :P but hey, you can if you want to.
So, when you're tracing out the pattern, you will only want to trace out:
Bodice Front
Dress Back
Skirt Front (only if you're concerned about length)
You will trace the rest out after we do the muslin.
The rest is pretty simple.  Unfold your pattern and trace off these pieces, using either the exam paper or the tracing wheel.

A couple things about Gertie's patterns:  

1. You can't skip the tracing part.  Her patterns overlap and are printed on the front and back of the paper.

2. Make sure you get all of the markings.  The first time I made this dress I didn't catch these little guys:

These are how she marks notches.

3. Make sure you're getting the right size.  It is a little difficult finding exactly which line to trace sometimes.  Especially if you have the exam paper over the pattern.  What I did was mark the sizes on the actual pattern like so:
Anyways, so I guess this is my post about tracing.  I wish I had ground breaking information for everyone out there, but I don't.  There really isn't a trick to tracing, and at first it seems like it's time consuming, but I have NEVER regretted tracing something.  
So, I will see you guys tomorrow with some muslin shots (yes, I kept my muslin hanging around for this very purpose...of course I could have just taken a picture of it and then thrown it away.  Hmmmm, oh well.) 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Gertie's Shirtwaist Dress Sew Along!

Yay! Gertie's Shirtwaist Dress Sew Along has officially started...yesterday...oops. Sorry, guys. I was meaning to sit down and write this post yesterday, but I randomly took a nap and then it just didn't get done.


 I wanted to do the introductory post and put up the schedule of posts that I wanted to do. Obviously, you can work faster and/or slower than me. I just wanted to do a series of detailed posts of what I do when I make this dress. The posts would be directed to the "advanced-beginners". Why? Because I think that everyone should make and wear this dress all the time. :P I also wanted these posts as a great place for beginner sewists to look at when they make this dress. Also, since this will be my third time sewing it, I have picked up a couple tricks.

So, here is the schedule:
February 6: Tracing
February 7: Muslin
February 9: Cutting out, interfacing, staystitching, collar
February 11: Bodice Darts and skirt 
February 12: Shirring
February 13: Pockets and side seams
February 14: Side Seams
February 15: Sleeves
February 16: Collar/Facing
February 17: Buttonholes/hem, handstitching/buttons
February 18: Final dress!!

So, if you guys follow along, awesome and I would love to see your finished projects! I set up a flickr account to make it easy to share, but also email me ( pictures! I would love to post like a round-up.

I'm super excited!