Mar 10, 2015

Elise Dress, Sewing Pattern, Sew-A-Long, Day 2

If you’re on track, you’ve got your fabric all cut out and ready to sew. If you haven't cut it all out yet, I'll let you in on a little secret... neither have I! Life happens and kids are crazy or don't nap, or color themselves with marker while you made lunch today. I get it, for real. So if you are just getting started, don’t worry, it’s not too late.

Today is a super easy day: Sashes and halter straps (with optional flutters!) are on the to-do list. Sashes will be sewn as directed in the pattern, but you may wish to add a little something extra to your halter straps.

 Flutter straps are all the rage right now, and it isn’t surprising because they are absolutely adorable. This is an easy modification to make, and I’m going to show you how.

My favorite flutter for this kind of strap is a single-sided ruffle because a single layer of fabric adds less bulk to the halter strap. A tapered curve at the start and finish yields a beautiful result. Because of the curve, I find it easiest to do as a narrow rolled hem on a serger.

If you are skilled at hemming on a curve, feel free to do this by hemming the edges the traditional way of folding the edge under twice 1/4 inch and sewing to secure. If you aren’t familiar with hemming on a curve, simply skip cutting the tapered edge, hem the long outer edge and then tuck and sew the unfinished ends when sewing the flutter into your straps.

Other options and ideas for hemming the ruffle:

  • hem the edges with bias tape 
  • serge or zig-zag over the edge to prevent fraying
  • then sew ric rac or piping on the right side of the fabric, turn under and topstitch. 
  • Skip hemming entirely by using gathered lace for your flutters instead!

Keep in mind that this dress is designed as a halter, meaning that the straps tie behind the neck. Because of this, the flutter/ruffles will be shorter than they would be if they were to go over the shoulder and to the back of the bodice. You don’t want them interfering with the straps tied behind the neck.

Please note: I do know that some of you are very excited about the back bodice loops we are going to show you. If you are doing back loops, you may wish to add a couple extra inches of ruffle to your straps.

Now that you’ve considered all the options, it’s time to start those flutters (if you have chosen to add them). Cut and iron the straps as directed in the pattern, but do NOT sew them closed. Set aside. For serged rolled hems or ric-rac trimmed flutters, cut strips as follows, according to garment size. For traditional hemming, add ¼” to the length (smaller number).

For bias tape hemming, subtract ¼”:
3-6m: 2.25 x 6.5”
6-12m: 2.25 x 7.5”
12-18m: 2.5 x 8”
18-24m: 2.5 x 8.5”
2: 2.5 x 8.5”
3: 2.75 x 9”
4: 2.75 x 9.5”
5: 3 x 10.5”
6: 3 x 11”
8: 3.25 x 12”
10: 3.25 x 12.5”
12: 3.5 x 13”

Once cut, taper 3-4 inches along both short ends of the flutter piece.

Hem in the method you have selected for your design.

Once hemmed, use your preferred gathering method to ruffle one long raw edge of the fabric. Gather to half the original length. Repeat with the other flutter. At this stage, I like to press the gathered edges flat for easier pinning and basting.

Unfold the straps you have already cut and pressed. ¾” from the raw short end, pin the flutter right sides together with the straps. With strap fabric facing up, flutter should be face down.

Repeat for the other strap, making a mirror image. I find it helpful to position and pin on both straps at the same time since they flutter in opposite directions. Otherwise, you could end up with two right or two left straps. This would totally happen to me. I've sewn skirt on dresses inside out... more than once... Sew a basting stitch to attach flutter approximately 3/8” from the raw edge.
Now refold the straps and sew closed in the same manner as plain straps.
See how easy that was? Have other creative strap/flutter ideas to share? Post in our facebook sewing group and inspire others!

If you haven't done so, get your bodice pieces cut out. You will need them for tomorrow.

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