Simple Sews English Tea Dress Sewing Tutorial

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Welcome my lovelies, to this impromptu, bonus Sew-Along!! Yes, as well as the Dimpsy T Sew-Along for my own newest Sewing Pattern I just couldn’t resist when asked by Simple Sew to create this Tutorial!

Have you spied the glorious English Tea Dress by Simple Sews free with Love Sewing Magazine recently? If you would like a lovely, easy breezy Summer Dress to make up look no further, I stitched one up in a couple hours the other day and I hope this Tutorial has some handy tips to help you stitch up your own!

Firstly, measure yourself and cut out the size Pattern which best suits. Alternatively you can trace your Pattern size off, using Pattern Paper or even Swedish Tracing Paper if you’re feeling fancy, and want to check the fit first! Tracing a Pattern will will allow you to change the Pattern (lengthen or shorten etc), but still preserve the original.

Once cut or traced, and using the Cutting Layplans’ on the Instruction Sheet, pin the Pattern to your Fabric then cut the Pattern out. You will need to pay close attention to the Grain Lines as they need to run exactly parallel to the Selvedge or folded edge of the fabric.

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At this point it’s a great idea to make a cuppa and have a read of the Pattern Instructions, just so you know what’s coming and can google any unknown terms.

Once cut out, cut any notches- the Triangular shapes along the edge of the Pattern pieces- and mark all of the Tailor’s Tacks on the Circle markers across the Pattern pieces.

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Once you have made marked the Notches and made all of the Tailor’s Tacks, pull the Pattern off carefully holding on to the Tailor’s Tack threads so they don’t come out. Separate the Fabric pieces and snip the Tailor’s Tack in between so each piece has little thread markers. .

Remove every pin that is keeping the rest of the Pattern pieces on the Fabric, and then pin the Pattern pieces back on with just one pin. This means that you’ll still know what each piece is, but as you are sewing you won’t have to stop to un-pin every time you start to work on a new piece of the Pattern.

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The first pieces to be sewn are the Front Bodice and Back Bodice. Un-pin them and, with right sides together, on each Dart match the Notch on the Seam then fold the Fabric so that the fold goes through the centre of the Tailor’s Tack. Pin.

I like to pin everything I can, then start sewing. I find it’s a quick way to make the sewing process quicker.

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To sew the Dart first pull the Top Thread on the Sewing Machine very long, next- and whilst holding the Threads in place so they don’t tangle- put the Machines Needle down next to the Notch, lower the Presser Foot and then reverse stitch back and forth to start yourself off. Take hold of the Top Thread again and pull round and under the Presser Foot until it is lying in line with the Tailor’s Tack. Start Sewing along the line made by the Top Thread. When you reach the end sew ‘off’ the fabric then pull out of the Sewing Machine. Do not reverse stitch but cut the Threads long, then hand tie and snip close. Hand tying the end threads of a Dart will ensure a neat finish.

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Sew all Darts in this fashion, and then Iron into the top of the Dart before ironing the bottom as illustrated. Iron all Darts towards the Side Seams. You cannot iron over a Dart in it’s entirety as it’s not flat anymore!

To beautifully Hand Finish your Darts see this handy Tutorial.

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With right sides together, join the Front Bodice and Back Bodice at the Shoulder Seam with 1.5cm Seam Allowance. Zig-Zag neaten the edges as illustrated then iron. Repeat for the Front and Back Facings pieces.

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Lay the Bodice out with right side up on your sewing table. With right sides together lay the Facing on top. Match the Shoulder seams- push one seam one way and the other seam the other way to reduce the bulk as illustrated.

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With 1cm Seam Allowance, sew the Bodice and Facing together. When you reach the ‘V’ leave the sewing machines needle in the fabric, lift the Presser Foot, and then turn the fabric for a clean sewing line.Once sewn, Zig-Zag neaten the Facing outside edge.

Once sewn, snip into the ‘V’ as illustrated, then continue to snip all the way around the Neckline Seam Allowance, each time as close as you can to the stitching. This is super important as the Neckline will not turn out neatly unless the seam is clipped.

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 You will next need to Understitch the Neckline for a neat finish. On the Facing side of the Seam, sew through the Facing and the clipped Seam Allowance as illustrated. This needs to be sewn as closely as possible to the original Seam, as you can see.

Understitching is magical and helps the Facing ‘roll’ to the back so you won’t see it as you’re wearing the Dress!

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After Understitching, iron the Facing in position. This is sometimes easier if you pin into the ironing board to keep everything where you need it to be.

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Attach the Front Bodice to the Front Skirt. Pin and sew the left side, but stop sewing when you reach the Centre Front point as shown. Reverse stitch to secure, then snip into the Skirt seam allowance until you almost touch the stitching. This will allow the seam allowance to ‘relax’ so that you are able to pin, and then sew the right hand side of the Front Skirt to the Front Bodice.

Trying to sew this in one go will result in bunching at the Centre Front.

Attach the Back Skirts to the Back Bodices. Zig-Zag neaten all seams then iron.

Sew the Side Seams with right sides together, Zig-Zag neaten and iron flat.

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To sew the Sleeves, you will need to double check that you have the Notches cut as shown.

With 1cm Seam Allowance, and using the longest straight stitch on your Sewing Machine, sew from one notch to the other. Reverse stitch to secure beginning and end. Sew a second line of stitches at 2cm Seam Allowance so you have two channels of stitching as illustrated. Reverse stitch beginning and end as before.

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With 1.5cm Seam Allowance, and with right sides together, sew the Side Seams of the Sleeves. Zig-Zag neaten the Seam and iron as before.

Turn the Dress inside out, and the Sleeves right side out.

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 Ensuring the Single Notched side of the Sleeve faces the Front, pop a sleeve in an Armhole and match the Sides Seams. Pin.

Continue pinning the Bodice to the Sleeve on each side until you reach the beginning of the Gathering.

With a large pin, ‘pick up’ a stitch from each line of gather stitches and pull to gather up. Continue gathering until the Sleeve fits the Armhole. Tie the two stitch loops together to secure then ‘shuffle’ the gathers along until even. Once you are happy, continue pinning the rest of the sleeve in then stitch in place, Zig-Zag neaten and iron.

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Carefully unpick any gathering stitches you can see on the right side of the Sleeve.

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To insert the Zip, iron the 1.5cm Seam Allowance in place as shown. Unfold and lay the Seam flat, place the top of the Zip high up and close to the edge of the Neckline, then pin one side of the Zip with right side down against the right side of the fabric.

Attach the Zipper Foot to your Sewing Machine, and then sew down the Zip, ‘rolling’ the teeth away so sew underneath and following the line made by the iron. It is in this action that the Zip becomes ‘invisible’.

Stitch right to the end of the Zip, and reverse stitch at the end to secure. You can also draw in the Seam allowance line with some Tailor’s Chalk if you wish. There is a more in-depth Invisible, sometimes called a Concealed, Zipper Tutorial here.

For the other side, do up the Zip (and admire your handiwork so far!) and pop a Pin in the un-sewn side of the Zip at the Waistline.

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Undo the Zip, and match the top with the other side of the Bodice as before but ensure you match the Waistline with the Waistline marker pin. It is very easy to mismatch the waistline unless you do this. Pin along the Zip and then stitch in as before.

When the newly inserted Zip is done up the Waistline and Center Back line should for a cross as illustrated.

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Turn the Dress inside out and with right sides together, next to the Zipper stitching as illustrated, start sewing about 2cm above and next to where you stopped sewing the Zip in. Continue sewing to the Hem, reverse stitching to secure beginning and end.

The Zip, once done up, should be invisible with the edges of the Fabric rolling to cover it.

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On the inside of the Back Seam fold the Facing back, and at an angle. Pin in place, then Slip Stitch down to the Zipper Edge. Try not to go through to the fabric on the other side.

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Zig-Zag neaten the edge of the Skirt Hem, and both Sleeve Hems. Iron, then turn up .5cm and pin in place. Stitch the Hem and both Sleeve Hems in place.

Alternatively, for a beautiful Hand Finished Hem you can use a Herringbone Stitch which is wonderfully invisible!

 

Iron your lovely new Dress to finish, and wear it immediately… not forgetting to share a pic with us first!

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Thank you for joining me, I can’t wait to see what you make!

If you are in the Bristol area and are having issues with fit, why not join me for my Fitting Evening? Bring along something you have made to fit properly, discuss fit and what you can do yourself to create better fitting garments and measure yourself professionally. You’ll go away with a full Measurement Chart to use in future Dressmaking adventures, as well as notes on fitting.

If you want to delve deeper into creating that perfectly made garment you may wish to join the Measuring and Pattern Evening where we will be discussing how to measure yourself then adapt a Pattern to fit before any fabric is cut!

Both are just £10 and include refreshements. You can book here, or click on the links above the links above to find out more.

x Laura x

 

 

 

The Dimpsy T Sew-Along: Week 2

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At last, it’s time to start Sewing our Dimpsy T’s up! We’re going to start right at the beginning… with Cutting Out, Marking the Fabric with Tailors Tacks and sewing up the Dart…

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Choose which size you would like to make up by measuring yourself, and looking at the Chart on the back of the Pattern Envelope. Cut that size out of the Pattern then, following the Cutting Diagram in your Instruction Book lay the pieces out on your Fabric and pin remembering to check the Grain Lines are straight- especially important when it comes to the Collar.

Cut out around the Pattern as close as you can- adding extra fabric at this point will only make the final garment bigger. Remember to cut the Dart out at the Center Front, cut the angle of the Shoulder Seam (it’s slightly angled towards the edge as you can see in the third picture above), and the teeny tiny corners at the underarm (above, far right).

how to make tailors tacksMake the Tailors Tacks on each and every circle you can see across the Pattern as above.

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Once you have made each and every Tailors Tack (remember how I spoke about ‘batching’ things to make Sewing quicker? I start as I mean to go on!), pull the Pattern off carefully, then separate the Fabric and snip so each side is marked as illustrated.

I next like to remove every pin that is keeping the Pattern on the Fabric except one. This means that I still know what each piece is, but as I am sewing I don’t have to stop to un-pin every time I start to work on a new piece of the Pattern.

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Sew up the Centre Front Seam with .5cm Seam Allowance. If you use any more the Dart will be too big! Pin, right sides together, then Sew and neaten with a Zig-Zag as illustrated. Iron flat and to one side before attempting to pin the Dart. This will make it easier to handle the fabric and make the Dart neatly.

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With right sides together, pin the Dart along the Seam as illustrated. You may need to Ease it slightly- as I have done. Distribute any excess along the opening and pin. As you can see it looks a little ‘lumpy’. This is the excess distributed, I’ll then pull or stretch the fabric slightly as I sew to sew it flat, then iron flat. This is also a great technique for setting in sleeves!

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To sew the Dart first pull the Top Thread on the Sewing Machine very long (1), next- and whilst holding the Threads in place put the Machines Needle down next to the starting Tailors Tack, but not through the Fabric (3). Take hold of the Top Thread again and pull round and under the Presser Foot until it is laying in line with the middle and end Tailors Tacks (4). Start Sewing- with 1cm Seam Allowance- along the line made by the Top Thread (5), ensuring it passes through the middle Tailors Tacks (6).

Do not reverse at the end, but pull the threads long again and hand tie for a beautiful finish. A more detailed Tutorial upon this can be found here.

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Once you have sewn the Dart, Zig-Zag along the edge as before the Iron. It will naturally want to Iron ‘up’ towards the Neckline.

And that’s it!  I think a well deserved Cuppa is in order, I know I’m going to make one! Watch this space for further Sewing musings from myself later this week!

Don’t forget to share your Dimpsy T’s with me on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter or Instagram!

Happy stitching!

5 Sewing Tips from The Midnight Atelier!

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As we prepare to start sewing our Dimpsy Ts’ on Monday I though we could discuss some hints, tips and tools of the trade to make Sewing easier so you can concentrate on the good bit… Sewing up the perfect Dimpsy T!

1. The right equipment.

I cannot stress enough how having the best pair of scissors you can afford, good thread and everything you need close at hand and ready to use make the whole process of garment construction easier, neater and more professional. I like to use these Scissors, they’re not very expensive and they’re re-sharpenable so they will last you a good long while! I actually have a couple pairs because darn of they don’t get lost under fabric and I hate to get held up! Take scissors to your local Cobblers to have them re-sharpened for around £5.

Good thread is a must, don’t cut corners here! I like to use Moon Thread as again it’s relatively inexpensive, there’s 1000 meters on a spool (woop!) and it is excellent quality. Using cheap, Vintage or old thread is dangerous for your Sewing Machine. If you hold a line of the thread up to the light you will be able to see if it is ‘furry’ or not… if it looks like there is a dusty haze around the line don’t use it! The dust will come off in your Sewing Machine, get stuck to the oil in there and dry it out which causes the machine parts to rub against each other and seize up. Not good!

A few other things I can recommend, and which will make sewing up a project a little easier so you can concentrate on the details are having enough Bobbins, pre-loaded and ready to go (I thread up two or three for any projects so- you guessed it- I don’t have to stop!), a heavy Pin Cushion with lots and lots of lovely Pins- I’m a bit of a Pin Geek it would appear and I like long, thin Glass Head Pins. They’re fine enough to use on a variety of Fabrics and you can do things like sew and iron over them! Merchant & Mills have some amazing Pins, well worth checking out. The heaviness of the Pin Cushion is important to me as well, I hate it when you pop a Pin back and the Pin Cushion skitters away from you! I have several made from Vintage Glass, an added advantage being I can use them as Pattern Weights too!

2. Great Prep

how to make tailors tacks

I’m sure you’ve all gotten as fed up with Cutting Out as I have- I like to get to the Sewing as quick as possible! however; I seriously believe that if you get the Prep right everything else will run smoothly. Pin each and every corner of your Pattern to the fabric- within the Seam Allowances if it’s delicate- then at about 5 or 6cm intervals. Rest your Scissors on the table as you cut, they are ‘flat’ along the bottom for a reason, this will increase your accuracy and allow your arm to rest as you cut. If you hold the fabric in the air and cut you run the risk of the Pattern shifting despite how carefully you have pinned.

Pin all pieces first, cut everything out, then snip your Notches and make your Tailors Tacks. Pinning all pattern pieces means that you will know if you don’t have enough fabric before you cut. As you’re pinning check all of your Grain Lines are parallel to the Selvedge or the fold of the fabric. If your Grain Lines are even off a little it can really effect the hang and wearability of the final garment.

Another fantastic tip is to make sure you have everything you will need to sew to hand. Getting up and down to grab pins or a tape measure is annoying, slows you down and breaks concentration… I also have a bit of an old fashioned ritual in that I make sure I have a cuppa and give the Pattern a good read from start to finish then make a list of what I want to do… if it’s a Pattern I have self drafted, or a Pattern I have adapted, or need to adapt this really helps. If you are a new sewer this will give you a chance to flag the bits you may think you will have issues with, google them or ask your question on social media so that when you get to sew them you have some tricks up your sleeve to get through it!

3. Pattern Ponderings

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 Unfortunately many of the Sewing Patterns we see and fall in love with, thinking they’ll look perfect on us, need some love and adjusting before they get sewn up. One way to manage this is to make up a Toile however; whilst relatively inexpensive this can get tedious, Toiling every single piece of clothing you want to make!

Another way to manage this is to adjust the Pattern before you make it up. The best piece of information I can impart is this: every Pattern company has their own set of standard Measurements and often they are up to two sizes smaller than clothes you would buy on the high street. I am often telling students that if they buy a 16 on the high street, they’ll need to cut an 18-20 from the Pattern. Which can be exceptionally demoralizing! I came to terms with this years ago, and also tell everyone that a beautifully fitting piece of clothing looks better than cutting the wrong, or smaller size ever can! Another thing to remember about Pattern Sizing is this: most Pattern Companies cut to a B Cup. I’ll repeat that (because I’m still stunned!)… a B Cup, Ladies. If you are anything like me- and the many, many people I have taught to sew, you started to make your own clothes because of high street fit issues so this isn’t all that helpful. To manage this you may need to do a Front Bust Adjustment, and I discovered this great Tutorial from Colette a while back. Whilst you’re over there, check their Patterns out as they cut to a C Cup and, being American, their sizing is generous.

To adjust the Pattern the best thing to do is make up a Toile, fit then transfer your adjustments to the Pattern. Invariable the adjustments you make will need to be managed on the majority of Patterns you make up and you will get used to making them on the Sewing Pattern before cutting your Fabric. I have a few notes on this subject here

If you’re feeling adventurous you can even learn how to create your own Sewing Patterns here, in Pattern Month!

4. Swift Sewing

When you’re working do things like pin all of the pieces together that you can, then sew them all, then neaten and iron them all in batches. This will enable you to work faster and, I have found, neater. It also helps first time or new Sewers to become used to and familiar with the various techniques without stopping to pin the next bit, and breaking concentration. I find this helpful as I can make things up for myself in my spare, in-between hours which is brilliant if you work full time. It stops me from getting annoyed that it might take me too long to create myself a new garment and demoralized when I can’t finish what I want very desperately to wear! 

Having said all of that the Dimpsy T makes up in a couple hours so you’ll be able to make up several!

 5. It’s all in the details

MCCALLS Herringbone Stitch

Ensuring you stick to the Seam Allowances, neatening Seams as you go, Understitching, Ironing and unpicking if you go a little wrong are all things you should get used to as you sew up a handmade wardrobe. As you sew more, they almost become second nature! One of the things I am obsessed with is finishing, and I’ll do some of the finishing details by hand if I think this will look better. Hand stitching down Facings, hand Hemming and making small details like the Dimpsy T’s Handmade Loop Buttonhole make your finished garment so much better, and infinitely more unique.

The instruction book that comes with the Dimpsy T has information on every aspect of this!

I hope you have found my musings useful,

Happy stitching!

Pairing Fabric to Pattern

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Isn’t it the most difficult decision, choosing which fabric to make a pattern up in? If you’re anything like me you will invariably find beautiful fabric yet no Sewing Pattern for it, or worse! The Pattern yet no Fabric!

As the Dimpsy T Sew-Along get into it’s stride I’d like to share some fabrics choices for your own Dimpsy T, and indeed what properties different fabrics have for any and all sewing projects you may be contemplating.

My first tip is to evaluate what you already have… the Dimpsy T doesn’t need all that much fabric, benefits from a contrast Collar and can be a great ‘stash buster’ so why not delve into the carefully hoarded fabrics we all know you have hidden about the house and see if you already have anything you’d like to use.

These are the fabrics best suited to a Dimpsy T, and indeed any light weight Shirt, Blouse, Top or Dress. I have listed them as Fabric, Description and the Use so there is a handy reference guide for future Sewing projects!

Cotton

Cotton is the most versatile and easy to use Fabric there is. Not least because it is available in a variety of cheerful, fun and sometimes beautiful prints and colours! You will find it in many different weights from Lawn to Quilting Weight Cotton and even Denim and Corduroy. All are suitable for a variety of projects. Cotton irons crisply, stays where you put it, washes and wears well and is the first thing I suggest people learn to sew with.

Cotton suggestions for The Dimpsy T include Cotton Lawn, Poplin, Voile, Batiste, Dotted Swiss, Broderie Anglaise and lighter weight Cottons which are perfect for Summer days! These should be used for lighter clothing like the Dimpsy T and may need to be lined or interlined because they’re so thin. They work beautifully for clothing which needs a ‘floaty’ non-structured feel and, because they are very light, clothing which isn’t too fitted as the fabric will pull away from the stitching however; they will turn out a beautifully crisp Collar! 

Linen

Slightly heavier than Cotton, Linen has a natural sheen and creases easily however; it sews beautifully, comes in many, many different colours and is even available ‘shot’- the Warp is one colour, Weft another so the fabric ‘shimmers’ as you turn it, and even ‘double faced- the back is an entirely different colour from the front! You can also find Linen mix fabrics and it is often mixed with Cotton, which produces a less mobile fabric. A great source of interesting Linens is The Cloth House in London.

Use for non-structured, comfortable garments. Ideal for the Dimpsy T, the collar will look crisp but comfortable all day, and the Tunic Hack divine! Linen irons wonderfully, washes and wear well however; remember to neaten those seams as Linen can fray alarmingly! 

Silk

Le sigh, I do love silk! It comes in such a variety of textures, and holds colour so beautifully who wouldn’t want a Silken Dimpsy T? Lighter weight Silks- the ones recommended for the Dimpsy T- can be very difficult to handle so I would suggest these are not for the faint of heart and maybe samples need to be accomplished to get used to handling the fabric. French Seams must be employed for the more delicate, sheer Silks and hand finishing details like hemming are a must however; you are more than paid back for the effort with the final product.

Silk suggestions for the Dimpsy T include Charmeuse which has a shimmery, satin shine to the front and is Crepe backed. Both sides may be used as the front and Charmeuse is often used in evening wear because of it’s beautiful drape (but I think a Dimpsy in Silk Charmeuse would look simply stunning with a pair of jeans!). Chiffon, which is almost completely sheer, hates to be pinned but is relatively easy to sew because of its texture but will need the dreaded French Seaming… everywhere!. Finally Noil, a fabric I adore! It can sometimes smell a little funny as it’s often untreated and known as ‘raw silk’. This has many of the sewing properties of Cotton however; it drapes softly, resists wrinkling and can be home dyed with extreme ease. It has a slightly rough texture but feels soft. I think it is much underrated!

What a gorgeous list of scrummy natural fabrics!

I do hope you find this useful, and I can’t wait to see what you all choose to make your Dimpsy T out of… or indeed what this list inspires you to stitch up! Remember that you can buy your very own Dimpsy T Pattern here, to join in with this Sew-Along. Use Coupon Code DIMPSYOFFER for 15% off of your order!

The much anticipated Hack Book will be released at the end of this Sew-Along and will include details on how to change your original Dimpsy T Pattern into a Tunic, Dress and Button Back Shirt.

Happy stitching!

 

Notions: Easy Breezy Vintage Summer Skirt

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From Vintage Chic, this gorgeous Summer Skirt- and Top!- Pattern is so easy and would look gorgeous on a beech, sipping a Pimms or wafting about Paris as we so often do *ahem*.  Click to enlarge the image and take a read.

The cutting is clever, and uses every scrap of fabric, the instructions clear and I think this could be stitched up in a flash. If you want clearer sewing up  instructions, follow my A-Line Skirt Tutorial to create the Waistband, Zip and Buttons. Measure your Waist and divide in 6 to discover the top measurement but don’t forget to add Seam Allowance! As instructed for the A-Line Skirt, you could also draw this out on Pattern Paper to double check your measurements, length of Skirt and Size/Seam Allowances.

I am sorely tempted to sew one up this weekend, the shape just looks to pretty!

Happy stitching!

What’s on the board this week?

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Well, boys and girls, this week on the Midnight Atelier Chalkboard is information about our up-coming Vintage Lingerie Classes, Vintage Bra Making Classes, the Eventide Corsetry Course and Sewing Club dates!

As you can see, all courses include Pattern (with the Eventide Corsetry Course you receive the Pattern and Instruction book), and they are all booking now!

Check out the Class Schedule Page for more information, and to book. If you would like to pay a deposit, and the balance later please email me on laura@lauraaftermidnight.com

Happy stitching!

 

 

Notes from the Atelier

Well, I have completed the move from Midnight Heights to Midnight Atelier, and a very happy Seamstress I am too!

I have already taught my first one-to-one Class in the space (more on that soon), which seems to work very well, and today was my first day of work… and boy did I work!

Orders were stitched, packed up and shipped. New designs patterned and sewn up, including the below- quite frankly- stunning Waspy Bustle Skirt and tidying and sorting continued apace!

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This Bustle Skirt will be on sale next week and is one of two Bustle Skirt Designs I have been working on. Adapted from a Vintage Pattern, I am quite literally in love with it! I may have to make a Mini Tricorn Hat to match… I am also loving my new Labels… printed Purple Satin Ribbon, with a flourish of Vintage Taffeta behind. So much fun!!

Corset Month will continue Monday, which will also be the day I release my Course List for the Midnight Atelier and Workshop. Courses will include Vintage Lingerie, Corsetry and Bullet Bra making! Places are limited to just three lucky Sewers so booking early will be encouraged.

Happy stitching!

Week 2: Inserting the Busk Pt II

So, having perfectly inserted the Right side of our Busks in to our Eventide Corsets, today I shall be showing you how to insert the Left.

I think this is a little simpler than the Right, but should still be sewn with care. You will need your Awl for this bit.

Place the Left hand side of the Front Corset panels Right Sides Together and draw a line 2.5cm from the Front as illustrated. Again, using a Patternmaster will make this easier.

Sew along the line, remembering to reverse stitch at the beginning and end of the seam. Iron, with the Seams out and then roll the Front Fabric  around to the Back as you did for the Right hand side so that no Coutil can be seen from the Front. Pin.

Stitch a 5mm (or half a centimetre) seam along this Front edge- shown below right- this line is now our Centre Front Line of the Corset. You may need to attach the Zipper Foot to your Sewing Machine to see where you are sewing a little more clearly.

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Place the Right side, over the Left side, and in line with the Seam you have just stitched (below left). Using a Fabric Pencil mark through the holes of the Busk Hooks… if your fabric is highly patterned you may need to use pins. Mark- or pin- at the far edge of the Busk Hook as illustrated.

Take away the Right hand side of the Corset.

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Next, you will need your Awl. On the mark, push the Awl through the two Fabric layers- NOT the Coutil layers- until a hole has formed.

The aim is to gently push a hole and not snap any of the threads of the Fabric, as this will keep the structural integrity of the Fabric. If a hole is punched, or many threads snapped, when the Corset is worn and the Fabric put under stress the hole will rip larger and look incredibly messy.

When you have made a hole, from the back push the correct Busk Post through (the two together should be at the bottom as for the Right side of the Busk). This needs to be done gently so as to not damage the Fabric.

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When all of the Busk Posts have been pushed through (below left), pin the Busk hard in as you did for the Right hand side of the Busk.

Attach the Zipper Foot to your Sewing Machine, measure the Seam Allowance and make a mark on your Sewing Machine as you did before.

Stitch along the edge of the Busk from top to bottom of the Corset panel (below right).

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Easy as pie, right? And look… it’s a Corset Front! So pretty… …

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So, it’s not all that difficult. Just remember to stitch nice and close to the Busk so it is held in nice and tight- not baggy! Remember also that it can be unpicked at any moment if you are unhappy.

At this point you may find your Fabric has ‘stepped’ or mis-aligned. Do not worry about this too much. It can be trimmed at the end of the sewing up process and is quite common as the Corset is sewn up. In fact, the Eventide Pattern has been made a little longer than necessary for this very reason.

Join me again tomorrow next week as we start to stitch the Corset up, and fit it to your figure. Also watch this space for a cheeky little Book Review of one of my favourite Corset Books and more Sewing Tips.

Don’t forget, the Eventide Corset Pattern is available in a number of options including Instant Download here, and you can join in with Corset Month on FacebookTwitter (#corsetsessions) and Pinterest!

Happy stitching!

Week 2: Inserting the Busk

So, today we’ll be seeing how to insert a Busk in to our Eventide Corsets! I love this bit of Corsetry, it’s when the Corset starts to look, well… like a Corset! It is also the first time we will be sewing with metal, which whilst not difficult, has it’s own set of rules.

The most important thing to remember is that your Sewing Machine is perfectly capable of sewing over the metal however; the Needle is not! I have clipped the edge of the Busk or Boning many times and the Needle not only breaks, it can fracture into small pieces which is not fun! It with damage the Fabric and invariable flies towards your face…

Firstly, you will need to select the Right hand Fabric and Coutil sections AS YOU WOULD WEAR THEM. To do this, lay the Fabric out, upside down as illustrated. With Right Sides Together, lay the Coutil on top then put the Left hand side to one side.

busk1 busk2

On the Coutil side, draw a line 3cm away from the edge. As you can see from the Pattern, this is the Centre Front Line. If you have a Patternmaster this will be super easy as you can line up the 3cm line and simply draw down as illustrated.

busk3 busk4 busk5

Place the Busk against this line, equidistant from the top and bottom, then draw either side of the Hooks. The two Hooks together go at the Bottom of the Busk, and the Busk should be laying as illustrated- with the Hooks against the Centre Front line.

 busk6 busk6a

After you have marked either side of the Hooks, Pin the layers together. On the Sewing Machine, sew in between the gaps (as shown below, far left with a pink dotted line) remembering to reverse stitch at the beginning and end of each little seam. Try not to stitch too far in to the gaps or the Busk Hooks will not fit through.

busk7 busk8 busk9

Don’t also forget that you can unpick at any moment if you are unhappy with the stitching.

Once happy, iron the Seam as follows… Iron the Seam out on the wrong side (below left), then wrap the Front around to the back so that on the Coutil side you can see a little of the Front fabric (below right) but none of the Coutil on the Right side.

busk10 busk11

Push the Busks Hooks through the holes, then push the Busk up against the Seam and hold firmly in place whilst pinning. The Busk needs to be hard up against the edge so that, when sewn, it is not baggy. A baggy Busk simply wont do!

Push the Pin in, then scrape the Pin along the back of the Coutil until you can feel the edge of the Busk, then pin through. Pinning like this will make sure the Pins hold the Busk in place nice and tightly.

busk12 busk13

When pinned, measure in from the edge of the Busk as as illustrated then, on the Sewing Machine, raise the Presser Foot and roll the Needle into the Machine. Place the measuring tape against the Needle, and use a Pencil to mark the Seam Allowance needed to stitch alongside the Busk.

Doing this makes sure that, above and below the Busk, you are able to sew in a neat line that is the same distance from the edge for the whole length. Marking with a Pencil means that you will be able to rub it off, alternatively you can use Washi Tape.

busk14 busk15

When you have you Seam Allowance marked, stitch along the side of the Busk from top to bottom. You will need to attach your Zipper Foot to do this. Because the Busk starts and finishes 5 or 6cm after the start or before the end your Seam Allowance mark will come in handy to guide you in a straight line to sew next to the Busk.

busk16 busk17

Voila! One beautifully inserted Busk!!

How easy was that? Join me tomorrow as I continue Corset Month with how to insert the Left side of the Busk.

Don’t forget, the Eventide Corset Pattern is available in a number of options including Instant Download here, and you can join in with Corset Month on FacebookTwitter (#corsetsessions) and Pinterest!

Happy stitching!

Week 2: Cutting the Eventide Corset out

Now, after a week of taking it easy it’s time to get stitching your Eventide Corset!

After having made any adaptations to fit on the Pattern, you’ll need to cut out the Fabric. Diagrams and more information can be found in the Eventide Instruction Book however; here are a couple of hints… … and dire warnings!

cut1 cut2

After having traced off, adapted and cut out the Pattern, pin to the Fabric remembering to measure the Grain Line. Fold the Coutil in half, Selvedge to Selvedge and Right Sides Together (so you are pinning to the back of your Fabric), and lay it on a flat surface.

It is incredibly important that each piece of the Pattern is cut out ON GRAIN. The Grain runs parallel to the Selvedge, which is the woven, finished edge of the Fabric. Cross Grain, or Bias, runs at a 45 degree angle to the straight Grain. Corsets must be cut out DIRECTLY ON THE STRAIGHT GRAIN to ensure the Waist Line in particular maintains the strength provided by the Straight Grain. Cutting the pieces of the Corset even slightly ‘off grain’ will mean it will twist uncomfortably as you wear it.

cut3 cut4

Now, dire warnings aside!, after you have pinned each Pattern piece you will need to draw on your Seam Allowance… which is 1.5cm.

To do this, use a Tape Measure to measure out 1.5cm from the Pattern piece, and mark with some Tailors Chalk or a Fabric Pencil in a contrast colour. As you can see, Tailors Chalk is available in a variety of colours and it is useful to have a selection. Continue around each Pattern piece, measuring out and making a mark every few centimetres or so. Use a ruler or Patternmaster to connect the dots.

cut5 cut6 cut7

Cut each piece out, and before you un-pin it, make a little snip no more then 1cm deep at the Waist Line. This is called a notch and will assist you in sewing the Corset up. It is another important little detail!

Repeat for the Coutil.

cutting diagram

You may have noticed that each piece looks similar to the next, and you can choose to cut out some paper markers to Pin on to each piece. To do this simply write what the piece is on a little scrap of paper and pin to the piece BUT pin to the piece as you would WEAR it. To do this, lay the pieces out upside down so the top is closest to you.

And that’s it!

Don’t forget, the Eventide Corset Pattern is available in a number of options including Instant Download here, and you can join in with Corset Month on FacebookTwitter (#corsetsessions) and Pinterest!

Happy stitching!