I can’t believe how fast the past year has flown… I keep telling myself I need to make more time for this blog which in return would mean more sewing time, which I desperately need and want… however the months seem to pass by faster than I realize and the weeks even faster!
With that being said it is time to reveal a piece I finished in August of this year, the results had me so thrilled I can’t even put words to it.
Back on August 4 I had a wedding to attend, which meant I had a dress to make. While knowing this a couple months in advance I still only left myself the week before to actually make something.
I spent some time searching through patterns online and the design I chose to use was Simplicity 1876.
Before running to the store to pick up what I needed, I shuffled through the small stockpile of fabric I had to see if anything would be of use. I ended up finding 3 meters of a gold satin I originally bought to make a dress for New Years 2012 that was never used and knew it would work perfectly.
There was more than enough fabric to make the dress but when I draped the material around me to see how the colour looked I felt it needed something more… My initial thought was to make a few of the pedals on the skirt in a bold graphic fabric while the others were made from the gold in attempt to create texture, but once I started my hunt for something that matched I ended up finding a beautiful black lace instead. I had no idea how this would work or how I would piece it together but I could picture the finished product and that was more than enough to make my decision to purchase it.
The above picture shows you what the lace looks like overlapping the gold. Excited yet??
For a small dress it seemed like I had a small mountain of fabric once I cut out all the pieces! Between the gold satin, black lace, interfacing and lining I had a large number of pieces to try and keep organized!
Now the real fun begins – Let’s Sew!
My plan: Add lace to the bodice, top right pedal and bottom left pedal.
Starting with the bodice I wanted to sew the satin and the lace at the same time so the raw edges of both would be sewn in the same seam; to make this easier since the satin is slippery I machine stitched with a large stitch length (baste stitched) the wrong side of the lace to the right side of the gold satin all the way around the edges so this would technically create a single piece with one right side and one wrong side.
In the above picture you can see the baste stitching I did to combine the satin and lace as one piece. I did that with all the bodice pieces and then sewed the bodice together as instructed.
Create the skirt: I wasn’t changing this at all so I simply followed the instructions and constructed the skirt.
The dress was moving along smoothly and my excitement was growing quickly!
Pedals – the skirt bottom: each pedal had 3 components to it, a front and back made of the gold satin and interfacing. The pedals that I chose to do with lace had 4 pieces to them. Once you have these all sewn together they do add quite a bit of bulk to the dress with the layers.
To make the lace pedals: Place the wrong side of the lace to the right side of the front of the pedal (gold satin), stitch together using a long stitch length and stitch within your seam allowance (same as I did for the bodice). You need to really pay attention to what you are during in these steps as the pedal pieces all look very similar and if you end up sewing the lace to the back of the pedal piece you won’t see it. This took me a little pre-laying out and using my dress form to see where the pedals would fall so I made sure not to do the same two pedals with lace. I wanted them staggered.
Here is how it was turning out:
I did the same thing as I did for the first to pedals to the last two pedals, only opposite and pinned them in place.
Tip: be sure to clip your seam allowances on all the pedals before turning so once you press your pedals they should lay flat and you will have much smoother curves!
This next part was a little tricky for me as now I actually had to sew the pedals into place. To do this you need to sew the rows of pedals together making sure to match your markings properly so your overlap is in the right place. This may sound difficult since you have to sew onto the skirt that is already constructed but remember we haven’t put in the zipper yet so your back is completely open:
The above image shows what the back of the dress looks like prior to the zipper. You need to keep this open so you can easily sew the pedals onto the skirt.
This is what your bottom row will look like once the left and right pedals are sewn together:
Once you have those together for both rows you have to sew them onto your skirt. Your markings that you transferred from your pattern pieces should show you exactly where to place the bottom row of pedals. Make sure you add the bottom row first so the top row covers the top of the bottom row.
Once your bottom row in sewn in place you can attach the top row of pedals to the waistline.
As you can see I used a ton of pins here. With the amount of layers the dress was getting a little heavy so I was trying to avoid any movement from the material while sewing.
Once the pedals are sewn on you are ready to sew the top of the skirt (with pedals attached) to the bottom of the bodice matching the raw edges, right sides together.
Only day two into the project and I have made great progress with little error or confusion. At this point most of the dress was constructed and all that was left was the lining and zipper. If you have made it this far the rest is easy!
Put your lining together in the same manner as the dress, minus the lace. Sew that to your dress and put your zipper in as instructed. Be sure not to skip top sewing along the top of the bodice when you are finished. It will really help the heart shaped neckline lay nicely.
There you have it, make the matching belt and find the perfect shoes and you will feel like you belong on the red carpet!