I have decided to start journaling my sewing adventures through blogging, thus the name of the blog. I hope that as I share what I’ve been working on you will find some inspiration along the way.
Often I’m asked how I come up with design ideas. The answer to that is – everywhere! Vintage patterns, beautiful fabrics & trims, trendy embroidery themes – all of these things, but usually one will act as the trigger and then the creative juices start flowing.
I began this dress in 2011, but it was set aside and got lost in the UFO basket. When I rediscovered it last week (cleaning my sewing room), I got excited about it all over again and tackled the job of finishing it.
Vintage patterns are a true inspiration to me. When I saw a picture of this sweet dress pattern, I knew I’d have to make one like it, though I envisioned it with a smocked round yoke – much like the OOP Children’s Corner “Chrissy” pattern. I just love the circular skirt attached to the bodice rather than having a gathered skirt. So perfect for twirling!
Next came the sketch with the design ideas….and, just in case you can’t tell, no, I’m not an artist. I’ll stay a seamstress.
After the sketch was finished, I drew out some cute birds that would compliment an embroidery design, then graphed it out and embroidered a yoke. The task of smocking certainly wasn’t for the faint of heart – the yoke has 508 pleats!!! It was at this point that the project got set aside for a few years.
To finish the dress, I needed to draft the skirt and get the embroidery on the skirt finished before putting it on the dress.
The vine was drawn on the skirt first using a blue wash out marker and then placement lines for the machine embroidered birds were marked. Next the birds were embroidered. Doing it this way would allow me to position the spaghetti bias so that the feet would rest on the bias – something that I probably couldn’t achieve if I’d stitched the bias down first.
Next I positioned the spaghetti bias vine and leaves in place. I use API wash out fabric glue to get everything positioned correctly – it allows you to reposition as needed prior to drying, but once dry nothing moves. Perfect for stitching! As I waited the required time for the glue to dry, it gave me just enough time to clean up the extra glue that ended up elsewhere in the sewing room. Glue and I are not friends! The leaves and vines were stitched in place with a blanket stitch and fine (60 wt.) thread.
The hem is finished with a bias strip. The bias was stitched down first and then, rather than hand stitch down the bias on the inside of the hem (a job I detest), a stitch in the ditch technique was used to secure the bias – stitching close to the bias band from the right side of the skirt. This is much more secure than stitching by hand and is a neat way to finish the bias. Again, I used the 60 wt. thread and the stitching is nearly invisible.
The dress was nearly done. The embroidered birds did not come with tail feathers like the smocked birds – and this bothered me. So, I pulled out the floss and gave the birds some tail feathers and was much happier!
With the dress finished, it was first soaked in cold water to remove all the blue wash out marker, then washed to remove the water soluble glue. Last step – ironing the finished dress. Another monumental feat considering the full skirt!!! While I think that my girls will love this dress, I’m not so sure that they will be quite as excited about it when it comes time to iron it. LOL!
I love when a plan comes together just as I envisioned it! Now, to see it on my little sugarplum! It’s going to be the best twirly dress ever!!!
Now, what next?……until then, keep on stitching!