Thursday, December 8, 2011

Sewing Lesson - Part 1

I finally started my New Years dress!  The beginning of the process has been slightly more complicated than I expected (enter Mother – whew!).  I apologize for the crappy pictures ahead of time...I'm attempting to be patient while saving up for a nice camera!  So, first things first.  I laid out the pattern on my dining room table (since I printed out my pattern, I had to trim the margins off of each page to make sure they lined up the way they were supposed to). 

Once we had the pattern laid out, we taped the pages together.  Make sure to tape within the pattern if you are doing it this way because once you cut away the excess paper, you want the pages to still stay together!  Then came time to lay the pattern out on the material.  Now here’s where it got tricky before I even realized it!  There are markings on the pattern that should say “Grain Line”.  It should be an arrow on the pattern that looks like this:

See that big arrow going diagonally?  That’s what you have to line up with the edge of your material.  So this line on the pattern, needs to be perpendicular to the edge of your material (the edge with the little dots on it, not the edge that the ladies at Joann cut for you).  I used a piece of string to measure the top of the arrow to the edge and the bottom of the arrow to the edge. The reason for this is to make sure that the fabric is sewn together in the right direction.  Since mine is stretchy, it needs to stretch in a certain direction.(** If you have a fabric like velvet or something of that nature, check the directions that deal with the “nap”.**)   See the picture below if you’re confused. 

Once you have your pattern lined up on the material with the grain and all that (your pattern should have instructions on where to place each piece of the pattern on your fabric to make sure they all fit), then you pin it down to the material.  Make sure to pin all the way around. 

Finally, find the dotted line around the edge of the pattern that corresponds to the size you are making and cut. (**If you need to lengthen or shorten the pattern, there should be a line on the pattern indicating where to do that.  Follow the instructions that come with the pattern on how to lengthen/shorten.**) - you can see the 4, 6, 8, 10 indicators in the picture above.  Cut the pattern and the fabric right on that line meant for your size.   While you are cutting, when you get to a little mark that looks like this :

That’s when you need to make a little outward notch in the fabric - can you see my little black notch?  This is what you will use when you are trying to put the front and back pieces together and line them up.  Once you are done cutting, it should look something like this:

And don’t worry, cutting on your size line already has a 5/8” seam allowance built in.  This is as far as I’ve gotten right now.  My mom is coming over again tonight to continue the learning process!  Tonight I’ll be cutting out the band of shiny material for the bottom, as well as the sleeve of the dress, and hopefully pinning some  material together to start sewing!  Wish me luck!  And check back tomorrow for more progress.  

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