I’ve finally gotten around to putting my daughter’s dress together. I apologize in advance for slightly blurry pictures. I took them with my phone and for whatever the reason I couldn’t get a clear shot when I was putting the thing together. All of these are thumbnails. You can click on them to see them in better detail.
First I have to address the need to wash fabric before cutting. On one of the Facebook groups that I follow some recently asked if it was really necessary to wash and iron fabric before drawing the pattern and cutting. The answer is a resounding YES. For the reasons behind this, see this post on care and use of fabric. Wash and iron the fabric, you’ll thank yourself later. Another note while I’m here: I tend to do a bobbin thread of a different color. This is left over from my theater days. If you had to take something apart you wasted less time hunting for the thread. So I do have a pink thread for top stitching and a cream thread for the bobbin. The fabric is a stash remnant from someone in my local group. She was cleaning out her stash and came up with wool and linen remnants. It smelled a little like moth balls but I was able to wash that out easily. (More on that here)
I began with the layout of my daughter’s Eura dress. As I said in the previous post, I wasn’t too careful about length on the torso since I’m planning to tuck it up anyways. It’s important to note that the material is folded in half, end to end. The full piece of fabric is 42 inches long and 45 inches selvage to selvage.
Always double check your measurements and don’t forget to add seam allowance to the body measurements. A 1/2 inch seam allowance is standard for the modern fashion industry and fine for adults whose body weight doesn’t fluctuate. For children and for myself I tend to use 5/8 inch. It allows you to let out the seam as the kids grow, which is useful.
Once I’ve double checked it all, I cut the pieces apart. Three cuts and I have all the pieces for the dress. Its part of the reason I love this pattern. I took the pieces and laid them out just to make sure everything looks right before I start to sew it together. The two sleeves meet in the middle of the torso and overlap while one of the gores is running up the left side of the torso and underarm of the left sleeve.
- Hem the widest part of the sleeve.
I cheat when hemming and use a hemming “board” or piece of card stock with lines on it marking a narrow width of 1/4 inch, fashion standard of 1/2 inch, and costumer’s standard 5/8 inch. For something like this I can simply iron 1/4 inch hem, fold, and iron 1/4 inch again and I won’t need to pin the thing before I sew it. This is really handy and if you have spray starch handy you can hem even larger things this way. It is faster and nine times out of ten it means I can whip it through the machine without having to worry about a single pin. That’s always a bonus to me. Since I made such a narrow hem on this my stitching is only 1/8 of a inch.
- Hem the wrist portion. I don’t happen to have a picture of this because as it happens my wrist is on the selvage. I’m not going to make more work for myself than necessary.
But! This is when it should be done if you are using a machine. Hemming wrist openings by had isn’t hard but it’s also not one of the things I tend to want to spend time on. If you wait until the sleeve is closed you won’t be able to do it by machine because the opening will be too narrow.
- **A side note: Gores typically extend to the wrist but since I didn’t want to do any unnecessary stitching I ended the gore early. See Bleow.**
- Attach the sleeve to the torso portions. Find the center of each torso piece and mark it. Next take the widest hemmed edge and (the part that will make the V) and place it right side to right side, just to the opposite edge of the direction the sleeve is going in. If you look at the dress pieces laid out in the picture earlier on: the sleeve going off to the left is placed just to the right of the center mark.
The right sleeve is placed just to the left of the center mark.
- Next add the gores. I tend to add them from the hem to the wrist. I like having a roomy skirt and usually I don’t need any additional room in the sleeve past my elbow so I taper the gores to reflect that. I did this with my daughter’s as well. You can see this in the picture below.
- Hem it. Now because this particular dress stretched from selvage to selvage I didn’t have to hem it. This is a simple added bonus in this case. It means I will have extra length and I may end up having to add another tuck. It’s not the end of the world though since I will likely get additional life out of the garment.
The dress is complete but I haven’t had a chance to pop it over my daughter’s head and see how the length is. There will be another post I suppose with the finished product. I do have more pictures of smaller details below.