Tuesday, 5 April 2011

"The Party Dress Book" Dress - My goodness I got a lot done today!

Well hello again, welcome back to my adventures with "The Party Dress Book". I really have made a lot of headway today, so without further ado let me show you what I've been up to!

Firstly I took the bold step and cut into my fancy fabric. I also cut out the facings for the bodice (light weight as the taffeta doesn't really need much extra support) and tacked them by hand to the bodice before sewing the pieces together.

Pretty little tacking stitches!

Bodice, it's all coming together!

Ruffles are a big part of Mary Adams' designs and this dress calls for ruffles around the neckline and hemline of the dress and also around the hem of the petticoat. Now lucky old Mary Adams has a ruffle foot for her sewing machine which makes creating ruffles a breeze, unfortunately I do not own such a magical tool so I had to resort to the old school ruffle method - two rows of long stitches, and then pull the threads to gather. 

Two rows of long stitches for gathering

This whole process was actually a lot easier than I thought it would be, I went slowly and so I didn't get into any hairy situations because of broken threads etc. Also, because the silk organza for the ruffles was cut on the bias there was no fraying at all, because (I found this a fascinating and wonderful discovery!) it's impossible for bias strips to fray! I think I'm going to start a love affair with the old bias strip, I can see myself using them on all kinds of projects, they're so interesting and can be used in so many different ways... Anyway, back to ruffles! Let's have a look at some of today's ruffly goodness:

Gathered silk organza

Ruffles are pretty :)

Ruffles sewn to bodice - check!

You can see the yummy ruffles above sewn to the bodice. The raw edges will be encased between the bodice and the lining (cut out and sewn together but not yet sewn in) so the inside of the dress will end up being as pretty as the outside. Hurrah. After tackling the bodice I moved on to the skirt. Firstly to make the dress knee length I added 4 1/2 inches to the length of the hem and then cut out the net overskirt, the taffeta underskirt and the organza petticoat.

Skirt cutting out - check!

I also used some fancy french seams on the skirt layers, so all the raw edges are neatly tucked away. I do love nice neat seams :)

Fabulous French Seam 1

Fabulous French Seam 2

You can see from the picture below how the skirt is starting to look after the layers have been stay stitched together. The drape is gorgeous, I cannot wait to swish about in this dress!

This skirt has serious swish :)

And now, here is the fruit of my day's labors!

Dress so far - Front

Dress so far - Back

There are still several things that need to be done to the dress before it's completed - adding the zip, hemming the skirts, adding the petticoat and lining - but for a day's work I have to say I'm pretty pleased with myself! I have to admit that my speedy sewing ability is mainly due to the sheer brilliance of Mary Adams' pattern. I comes together beautifully and in no time at all! The construction is very simple and this gives you the opportunity to really take your time with the details. I really am in love with this pattern and I know that I will be making many different versions of this dress! 

It's going to be pretty!

Check back soon because I'm sure this will be finished any day now! Plus, if I have time I'm going to add some sparkly things, so that will definitely be worth a look. Ummm sparkly...


Caroline C. said...

Good job! Damn, I've really had my eye on that book for ages, you've convinced me to buy it for sure! Here's another sewing tidbit related to bias and non-fraying: The reason why pinking shears work to help keep seams from fraying is that really you're cutting little biases (is that a word?) repeatedly on the seam.

Tasha said...

My goodness you are flying on that!! I am seriously envious of your skills.

Anonymous said...
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Miss Katie said...

@ Caroline C - You really should get it, it's worth the investment I can tell you :) And I also never knew that about pinking shears, how sweet all those mini biases sound! That actually makes me quite happy :)

@ Tasha - Thank you, that makes a change, I'm usually so envious of your knitting skills it's crazy!

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