Jan 14, 2015

Blue Ribbon Dress, Sew-a-long, Day 3

Blue Ribbon Sew-A-Long, Day 3

Welcome back everyone!!!  Today is the day to up that concentration and put that pedal to the metal (or carpet, or wood). It is Day 3 of the LLK Blue Ribbon Sew Along!!  Are you ready?? I know I am!
Don't stress it if you missed Day 1 (here) or Day 2 (here), just click on the "here" links and you can catch back up.  

Yesterday we embellished our bodice and added the sash. The next step is to sew that bad boy (or girl??) together. Don't forget to use your ball point needles if you are using a standard machine. Set your machine to the knit stitch; the one that looks like a lightening bolt. One thing that really helps me when I use my standard machine while working with knit, is to strap on my trusty ole walking foot. That just helps the fabric from slipping. For this project, I used my serger to complete the entire knit portion of the bodice (sans the topstiching). And just because I am one of those crazy, scatterbrained, can't remember my name, SAHM of 2 toddlers, let's go back and check on our seam allowances. 1/2" - Check!!  

Go ahead and follow the instructions on page 14 to attach the back bodice to the front bodice at the shoulders. At this point in the pattern there are instructions for other optional embellishments, such as a neck ruffle. Do that part now. I didn't do a ruffle so we will skip on along to the neck binding. 

For the picture below you really need to put your tunnel vision glasses on so you do not see that I cheated and put my sleeves in before my neck binding. 

Oops - I get a Needs Improvement on "follows directions" for my sewing report card. In just a little bit I will show you what I did with those adorable sleeves!! 

 I hear that neck binding has been known to give people all sorts of fits, hives, nail biting episodes and headaches. I think I put in about 12 of them until I finally figured out how to hold my fingers and tongue just right to have it lay flat and look pretty. Make sure your iron is handy, hot and full of water!!!  You need steam!!  

Ok - so you have your binding cut out - sewn into a circle - short ends together and then folded in half (per instructions). I find that it is easier to use pins in this step verses marking pens, chalk, etc. You want to quarter your binding. You also want to quarter your neck line on your bodice. Please don't skip this step. 

You want to make sure that your neck binding is stretched evenly all the way across the neck line. ALSO - the shoulder seams are NOT at half way. When you mark your center front and back - put those pins up against each other and flatten out the bodice to find the center over the shoulders. Once you have it marked you can then pin your binding to the neck line using those pinned marks you made. 

Now comes the tricky part. Are you ready????
Ok - here is what I do - take a deep breath. Blow it out, take another. Chant - "I can do this!" about 5 times. Done?? Ok. Take the bodice with pinned binding to your machine. (I used my serger). 

The easiest way I have found to do this would be to have your actual bodice flat on the machine and the binding on top (raw edges together - you should have 3 edges - 2 of the folded binding and 1 of the neckline). Keep those pins in there. (If you are using a serger, serge slowly so you don't chop a pin and lose an eye from flying pin pieces.  

Just take the pins out as you serge). Start at the back neck. Go ahead and lower your needles into the binding/neck layers. Sew a few stitches just to get started. When you stop after a few stitches make sure that the needle(s) is down in your garment. 

Now with one hand pick up your bodice at next pin down. You want to slightly stretch your binding ONLY until it is straight and flush with the neckline. Once it is flush you can continue sewing. (btw - this is dress #2, hehe - soooo addicting!!!)

This is a two hand job, because with one hand you are stretching the binding to match the neckline (without stretching the bodice!!!! soooo important!!!!) and the other hand you may need to assist behind the needle, feeding the sewn on binding/neckline through. 

Take it slowly, we aren't in a race. Once you have it sewn all the way around, head on over to your hot, steam iron. I use a ham to get my necklines ironed/steamed really well on that curve. Now just steam the heck out of it, ironing the seam down to the bodice. 

Once you have done your steamy steam magic, you can topstitch. I normally topstitch, but since there is eyelet I decided to skip it. TaDa!!  What a beauty!!!   

 Did you happen to see those cute sleeves?? Want to know how to make them?? I can't take credit for this, a friend of mine asked me to make one for her with sleeves like this and I just loved it. So - the how to?  

I wanted my sleeves to be right at the elbow and then flare into a ruffle. I measured my little model and cut the sleeves to that length. I then cut my bubble strips. The length is 2 times the sleeve opening. So if the sleeve opening is 10 inches then the length would be 20" (not actual numbers). Next, I knew I wanted my ruffle to be approximately 2.5 inches wide. 

So I cut the width of my bubble piece to 6" (had to include that 1/2" seam allowance). Once you have the bubble ruffle piece cut out (20"x6" - fictitious example!!) fold it in half so it is now 20" x 3". Take the folded piece over to your machine and sew a basing stitch all the way across the open end. 

Once you have your basting stitch in there we are going to ruffle the piece to the length of our sleeve opening and pin. Remember right sides together and folded end of the bubble up! Match raw edges.  

Then sew the ruffle to the sleeve, repeat with the other side, steam, iron seams up toward the sleeves and topstitch!! Holy Cow this is looking cute!!! 

Now take those adorable sleeves over to your bodice. You need to pin them to your bodice and ease them in! You shouldn't need to stretch or gather, these sleeve pieces are a perfect fit and are a nice flat sleeve seam. Once you have them sewn in, head on over to the iron and give them a little steam lovin. Now you have sleeves in!!!  

The last step for today is to sew those side seams together.  When you pin your side seams, take special care to make sure that your sleeve ends, top stitched seams, underarm seams, and sash pieces all line up. Take your time with pinning - you will be glad you did later on! 

And last but not least, make sure those sash ties are out of the way. You do not want to sew up your loose ends in the side seam!!  If you did the ruffle like I did, you will want to thread in your serger tails once you have finished sewing up your side seams. If you didn't do the ruffle, then you need to finish your sleeves. You can finish them with binding, using the same techniques we did with the neckline. Or you can do a traditional hem. 

If you do the traditional hem, I highly suggest using knit interfacing so you don't get a stretched out, wavy hem with the knit. And be sure the stretch of the interfacing is going in the correct direction. 

Now you can relax - you have just completed the knit portion of our project. Give yourself a pat on the back. You did it!! Now you can go make a million of them right???? I will confess I am now completely knit addicted!! 
I will see you for Day 4 tomorrow!! We are 1/2 way done! YAY!

P.S. Don't forget to  post your photos of the Blue Ribbon in process in the LLK Cafe! Tag all photos with #brsal to be eligible for prizes.

P.P.S. The  FABRIC/PRIZE sponsor for the Blue Ribbon Dress sew-a-long is the Purple Seamstress!! If you have not already discovered her amazing knits go check them out!!! 

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